Ecological Economics

An interdisciplinary framework that seeks to merge the two historically separate fields of economics and ecology. It assumes that: 1) there is an inherent link between the health of the Earth’s ecosystem and the economic system created by human beings; 2) the economy is a subsystem of the earth’s ecological system; and 3) by understanding how each system flows into and out of the other, each can thrive and prosper. Ecological Economics differs... Read More

ROR (Rate of Return)

The return on an investment, usually in present value, after adjustment for inflation. Like ROI, rates of return are usually measured in purely economic terms but can also include the costs and benefits associated with human and natural capital to give an organization a broader and more sustainable understanding of an investment. An evolved definition might be “Rate of Sustained Return” to indicate that the income generated by the investment... Read More

ROI (Return on Investment)

The profit or loss expected or resulting from an investment. Returns on investment are usually measured only in economic terms but can also include the costs and benefits associated with human and natural capital to give an organization a broader and more sustainable understanding of an investment. ROI = final value (projected) / initial value  Read More

Vision (Corporate)

The state or world in which an organization seeks to create or participate within. Whereas a mission defines an organization’s direction and priorities, its vision is the description of the destination this direction is heading. A vision is often a description of an organization, market, or world that is different than current and embodies its values and objectives.  Read More

Mission (Corporate)

An organization’s ultimate purpose or reason for being. A company’s mission should define the opportunities or needs which the company seeks to address, what the company is doing to address those needs, and the principles or beliefs which guide the company’s work.  Read More

Venture Philanthropy

Philanthropy that draws upon the traditional venture capital model to invest in nonprofits and socially entrepreneurial organizations to build their capacity, rather than to support discrete programs. Venture philanthropists typically assess progress and track the outcomes of their investments in terms of the social value produced. They often maintain a close and active relationship with fundees, providing ongoing strategic guidance in addition to... Read More

Venture Capital

Financing of startup and early stage businesses through high-risk, high reward deals in return for large equity stakes in the organization. Venture Capital (VC) firms serve as the intermediary between institutional investors – such as pension funds, university endowments, and high net worth individuals – and startup or early stage businesses. VC firms invest the third-party investor’s capital into businesses with high growth potential,... Read More

UN Global Compact

First proposed in an address to The World Economic Forum in Davos in 1999 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization encouraging businesses to support ten fundamental principles in the area of human rights, labor standards, the environment and anti-corruption: Human Rights Principle 1: Businesses should support... Read More


The total revenues an organization reports on their income statement. While many activities within an organization are focused on reducing costs, initiatives such as innovative product and service development focus on creating more valuable and desirable offerings that increase revenues. Attention to human and natural capital (as well as financial capital) can often increase revenue by differentiating a company and its offerings in a beneficial way... Read More


Derived from the Greek words for “cooperation” and “working together,” synergy is the result of two or more people or companies working together to produce an effect that is greater than the sum of their individual efforts. In business, synergy is often a stated benefit of a merger or acquisition. Unfortunately, this effect is often elusive.  Read More