Key Definitions

List of Key Definitions for Sustainability

An institution-wide effort co-lead by the Institute for a Sustainable Earth (ISE) and the Office of Sustainability (OoS) to integrate Mason’s research and academic strengths in sustainability with campus operations to mitigate the university’s impact on the global climate, enable the institution’s campuses to become learning laboratories, and further establish Mason as a leader in higher-education sustainability.

Launched in October 2021, the Carbon Neutrality Task Force is working closely with Dumont Janks on the development of the Climate Action Plan, which will be delivered to President Gregory Washington prior to Mason’s 50th Anniversary in April 2022.

A detailed framework to measure, plan, and eliminate the university’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) along with other climatic impacts. The updated CAP will be delivered in April 2022 and serves as an update to the original 2010 Climate Action Plan.

Developed by the Mason Sustainability Council, the Sustainability Action Plan outlines the university's strategic goals and commitments – and the actions that will be taken to achieve them. Its primary focus is to instill sustainability in campus culture, policy, practice, and operations. Although it makes suggestions for the academic exercises of teaching and research in sustainability, it does not attempt to drive curricular changes nor research outcomes.

Human actions or interventions to reduce emissions or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.

A report, usually conducted on a yearly basis, that identifies, quantifies, and analyzes the greenhouse gas emissions from a business, organization, institution, or country. Emissions are typically grouped into Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3.

  • Scope 1 emissions are from sources owned or directly controlled by the organization.
    • For example, the emissions from an organization’s company vehicles and the energy used to power its facilities and infrastructure.
  • Scope 2 emissions are indirect and associated with purchased energy for electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.
    • For example, the emissions from an organization’s business travel, employee commuting, and energy use are all included in Scope 2 emissions, among many other factors.
  • Scope 3 emissions are indirect and the result of all other activities from assets not owned or controlled by the organization, but that are impacted by the organization’s actions.
    • For example, the transportation and distribution of goods as well as investments are included in Scope 3 emissions, among many other factors.
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report
  • Annual Report of Greenhouse Gas Emissions