’s green glossary is an ever-growing list of constantly updated key sustainable business terms for sustainability professionals (so don’t mind the date and time stamp above).

If you feel that we’re missing something, we appreciate you letting us know by adding it as a comment at the bottom.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | OP-Q | R | S | T | U-V-W-X-Y-Z


Fair Trade – a term used to describe products that provide a living wage to workers. Jewelry and agricultural products are the most prevalent Fair Trade items in the world.

Feed-in Tariff – a program that allows people and companies that produce more electricity than they need (typically with solar installations) to sell that power back to the grid so that their neighbors can use it. The utility benefits in that it gets to purchase power at one house and sell it, effectively, at the next door neighbor’s house, and the person/company benefits by being incentivized to be very energy efficient and make extra money when they produce more than they use.

Fossil fuel – a general term to describe fuel such as coal, oil, and natural gas that was once living matter but has been decomposed over millenia and subject to geologic pressures that have fundamentally changed their composition.

Footprint – the area taken up by a building…a useful term for urban planning.

Fuel cell – a clean technology wherein hydrogen produces power. The byproducts of hydrogen combustion in a fuel cell are oxygen and water. Finding a source of hydrogen is the challenge which has kept fuel cells in the background as a technological wonder with little practical application….so far.

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About The Author

Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

One Response to Glossary of Common Sustainability Terms (The F’s)

  1. […] are several strategies for this. Farmers can seek organic, fair trade, or other certifications that help consumers see the value in their products enough to pay a price […]

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