Planetary Boundary

A Planetary Boundary is a limit which defines the safe operating space for humanity with respect to the Earth system and its associated biophysical subsystems and  processes.

Program Related Investing

Investments made by foundations that meet the philanthropic goals of their programs. To be counted in the grant-making portion of a foundation’s assets, program related investments must also abide by tax laws regarding charitable intent and the relationship to a foundation’s program.

Patient Capital

Investment strategies that provide social and environmental returns in addition to financial returns with an emphasis on returns over the long-term. While a longer investment horizon and/or a smaller financial return may be inherent in individual patient capital investments, neither of these conditions are required of patient capital investments.

Payback Period

An accounting term indicating the time required to recoup an investment. It is expressed as a ratio of investment cost to savings or income (usually annually). For example, if a new high-efficiency boiler costs $10,000 to install and saves $2500 per year in fuel, the payback period is four years. Payback periods are critical to […]

Present Value (PV)

An assessment of the “real” value of a future investment or financial transaction in terms of present economic value (as opposed to the actual value of the investment or transaction when it occurs).


The positive residual value (if there is one) or the benefit or advantage that can be achieved by a particular action or activity. Profit is calculated by adding all revenues associated with that product, service, or activity, and subtracting all expenses associated with it. Often, traditional accounting, finance, and economic calculations of profits don’t include […]


Permaculture is an ecological design system that employs an integrated systems approach to developing ecological human habitats, food production systems, and other material and non-material needs.


An unincorporated business that is owned by two or more individuals. These individuals are responsible for all risks and liabilities for the business any share in any proceeds and rewards based on their percentage of ownership. About 7% of all businesses in the USA are sole proprietorships.


The output created (products and services) created by use of energy, work, capital, materials, or resources. Often, traditional productivity does not measure use of external resources (such as natural resources like air or water) or adverse effects of internal resources (such as corporate culture or employee stamina) and does not calculate costs required to correct […]

Privatization (of natural resources)

An approach to conservation that brings the environment into our economic sphere, therefore giving them economic value.