The act of removing more than the sustainable amount of a resource that would insure its renewal for future generations. Typically related to fishing practices, the term can be applied to timber or the harvest of any natural resource.


The act of consuming something in excess of its ability to be renewed.

OCC (Opportunity Cost of Capital)

The expected return from investments missed in favor of other investments. Opportunity Cost of Capital is calculated by comparing various investment alternatives, their capital costs, and the value they may return. Companies usually choose the highest profit per investment ratio (if all other factors, such as risk, are equal). Some components are not, traditionally, calculated […]


The amount that any value exceeds its intended measure. In sustainability terms, overshoot is often the amount a variable (such as a measure of environmental impact) exceeds what is intended or thought to be healthy or acceptable. Overshoots can be positive but are usually used to convey negative impacts of human or business activity. Alternatively, […]

Organizational Change

The ability for an organization, its culture, and its procedures to grow in a positive way that leads to great success and more effective performance (both internally and externally).


In regards to food (both plant and animal) and other agricultural products (such as cotton), a term describing the absence of pesticides, hormones, synthetic fertilizers and other toxic materials in cultivation. In some countries, “organic” has a legal definition. For example, in the USA, it is defined in the Organic Food Production Act of 1990 […]

Opportunity Cost

The benefit that could have been received by taking an alternative course of action. Opportunity Cost is used to determine if a business investment is worthwhile in light of other opportunities. It should be a component in projecting cost flows.

Open-Loop Recycling

The conversion of material from one or more products into a new product, involving a change in the inherent properties of the material itself (often a degradation in quality). For example, recycling plastic bottles into plastic drainage pipes. Often called downcycling or reprocessing.