Sustainability glossary

This glossary explains social and environmental terms and phrases used in our 2030 sustainability strategy.

For additional terms and phrases used across our website, visit Glossary.

Social sustainability


An internationally recognised standard for measuring and managing a company’s social impact.


The total number of individuals directly benefiting from our social impact investment. We measure the reach of our social impact programme by recording the number of unique individuals who directly benefit from our support during the reporting period.

Bright Lights

Our skills and employment programme. Working with customers, suppliers and local partners, we develop skills and empower local people to access opportunities at our places and in our supply chain. Initiatives include pre-employment training, virtual programmes, mentoring, work placements, graduate schemes, internships, apprenticeships and job fairs. More here.


A non-profit organisation with specific purposes defined in law to be charitable and exclusively for public benefit. In the UK, all charities must be registered with the Charity Commission and have a board of trustees.

Community initiatives

Activities that support our social impact programme. They tend to be ongoing, scalable and/or repeatable, and include pilots. If an initiative is run across multiple sites, it is counted per site.

Community investment spend

Supports delivery of our social impact programme. All spend is guided by our Local Charter, working with local partners to make a long-lasting, positive social impact.

Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Committee

Assists our Board in overseeing engagement with employees and other stakeholders and monitors British Land’s wider contribution to society and the environment.

Direct community investment

British Land’s financial contributions, employee time (during working hours) and in-kind donations (mainly space) to benefit communities around our places, making a long-lasting, positive social impact.


An umbrella term for environmental, social and governance issues.

Expert volunteering

Also known as skills-based volunteering. Using professional or specialist skills, personal talents and experience to support non-profit organisations or small, local businesses. This includes charity trustees, school governors, mentoring for non-profits and expert support on strategic issues or specific projects. It excludes support of industry bodies or Chambers of Commerce.

In-kind contributions

The financial value of donations of employee time, space and equipment owned by British Land, through our social impact programme.

Local Charter

Our Local Charter outlines three key focus areas where we are active in local communities: impactful education partnerships, impactful employment partnerships and affordable space. Download our Local Charter: Policies


The way we implement our social impact commitments is always place-based – tailored around local needs and opportunities for the communities at each place. Find out more about our social impact commitments here.

Social enterprise

A business driven by a social or environmental mission that reinvests or donates profits to create positive social change.

Social Impact Fund

Provides funding for charities and community partnerships in and around our places. It is managed by our Social Impact Committee, which comprises representatives from across our business. All investment is guided by our Local Charter commitments. We report spend in accordance with the B4SI international standard. A small proportion of spend supports employee fundraising and payroll giving. More here.

Social value

To better understand the impact of our social impact strategy, we have implemented a framework to measure the social value we create. We use the Impact Evaluation Standard (IES) framework to support our reporting. This is a collection of 113 metrics and supporting guidance developed by industry experts, in accordance with the UK Government’s Green Book Guidance. It includes a range of custom ‘Proxy Values’ which allow organisations to convert the social impact they create into an indicative financial value.

Thriving Places

The Thriving Places pillar of our sustainability strategy reflects our commitment to making a long-lasting, positive social impact in our communities by collaboratively addressing local priorities. We focus on three key areas where we can have the greatest impact, that matter in all our communities: education, employment and affordable space.


Environmental sustainability

Better Buildings Partnership (BBP)

A collaboration of the UK’s leading commercial property owners who are working together to improve the sustainability of existing commercial building stock. British Land is a founding member.


Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) certification assesses the sustainability of buildings against a range of social and environmental criteria.

Carbon intensity

For British Land, this refers to total emissions per square metre of floor area in carbon dioxide equivalent.

Circular economy

An approach to design and manufacturing which minimises waste and raw material demand through reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling. In construction, a circular approach can include reuse of an existing asset in redevelopment, designing a new building for eventual disassembly and recoverability of materials, and designing out waste.

CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent)

Each greenhouse gas has its own global warming potential. CO2e allows the impact of any greenhouse gas (e.g. methane, HFCs) to be conveyed in terms of the carbon dioxide emissions with an equivalent impact.

Embodied carbon

Emissions resulting from the production and transportation of materials for a building and all elements of its construction and deconstruction. We offset embodied carbon for RICS stages A1 to A5 on our developments. A1-A3 refers to the product stage: sourcing materials, transport to manufacturing plant and fabrication processes. A4-A5 refers to the construction stage: transport from plant to site and on-site construction and installation including waste disposal. For further information, see RICS Whole Life Carbon Assessment for the Built Environment (2017).

ESG-linked Revolving Credit Facility

Linked to our performance on agreed sustainability targets. If we outperform these targets, we pay a lower margin; if we miss the targets, then the cost increases.

GHG (greenhouse gases)

Gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons.

Greener Spaces

Our Greener Spaces sustainability pillar includes our ambitious 2030 net zero carbon targets across both our developments and our standing portfolio. We make choices which minimise our carbon emissions as well as our impact on nature and the wider environment.


Formerly the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. An internationally recognised benchmark assessing the environment, social and governance (ESG) performance of property.


Formerly Design for Performance. A system for rating the energy efficiency of office buildings. Developers can target a NABERS UK rating at the design stage and verify performance when the building is occupied. Designed to address the performance gap between design and in-use energy performance, NABERS UK provides a rating from one to six stars for offices.

Net zero carbon

In construction, when emissions associated with a building’s production and construction to practical completion are zero or negative – through embodied carbon reductions, export of on-site renewable energy and the use of offsets. In operation, when emissions associated with a building’s operational energy on an annual basis are zero or negative – through energy efficiency and on- or off-site renewable energy sources, with any remaining carbon balance offset.

Net zero portfolio

For British Land, this means embodied carbon reduced to below 500kg CO2e per sqm; operational carbon intensity reduced by 75% compared to 2019; and any remaining, unavoidable emissions offset through certified schemes. We aim to transition our portfolio to net zero by 2030. More here.


Emission reduction/removal credits – a transferable instrument certified by governments or independent certification bodies to represent an emission reduction of one metric tonne of CO2 or CO2e. Any carbon offset credits bought must be ‘retired’ in a registry for the purchaser to claim the related reduction/removal towards their GHG accounting. View our offsetting policy.

Operational emissions

Total greenhouse gas emissions generated in running a building. This includes emissions from electricity and gas used to heat, cool and light the building, both in common areas and customer spaces.

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

Renewable power from new renewable sources installed by or on behalf of British Land.

Renewable energy

On- or off-site solar, wind or geothermal power sources.

Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO)

Certification that power comes from an eligible renewable source.

Renewable Gas Guarantee of Origin (RGGO)

Issued when a kWh of green gas is injected into the grid.

Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi)

Drives ambitious climate action in the private sector by enabling organisations to set science-based emissions reduction targets. A partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and World Wide Fund for Nature. SBTi validated our landlord target as 1.5°C-aligned and our value chain target as ambitious.

Scope 1 emissions

Direct greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the organisation’s combustion of fuels and from fugitive emissions.

Scope 2 emissions

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions which result from the organisation’s procurement of electricity, steam, heating or cooling from a third-party.

Scope 3 emissions

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions which occur in an organisation’s value chain, including emissions from its supply chain (‘upstream’) or its customers (‘downstream’).

Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

An industry-led group which helps investors understand their financial exposure to climate risk and works with companies to disclose this information in a clear and consistent way. Climate-related financial disclosures in line with TCFD recommendations have been mandatory for large companies since April 2022.

Transition Vehicle

Finances the retrofitting of our standing portfolio, funded by an internal carbon levy of £60 per tonne of embodied carbon on new developments, as well as a £5m annual float. More here.

UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)

A membership organisation which aims to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated. British Land is a founding member.

Whole life carbon

Total embodied and operational emissions over the lifetime of a building. RICS guidance structures this into stages A1-A5 (product and construction), B1-B7 (use) and C1-C4 (end of life).
View our corporate glossary

Sustainability Progress Report 2023

Sustainability Report 2023

Sustainability Strategy 2030

Sustainability Strategy 2030

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