Skip to main content



Nanoparticles are chemicals or objects with tiny dimensions of 1-100 nanometers, which is smaller than human cells.

Due to the size of nanoparticles, they have the ability to penetrate through the skin  and enter the body. By doing this, the nanoparticles have potential to get inside living cells and interact directly with biomolecules and alter their properties.

National Parks

National parks are large natural areas of land that are protected from development and environmental degradation by State and Federal Government.  Australia has more than 500 national parks, with their primary purpose being to protect native flora and fauna.  These parks can also be used for recreational activities and to give people an opportunity to learn about the natural environment, heritage and culture.

Native plants

Native plants are plants that have evolved naturally in a given area, as opposed to plants that have been introduced to an area by humans.  Prominent characteristics of native plants in Australia include adaptability to insufficient water availability (drought-tolerant features) and adaptability to fire.  Some native Australian plant species regenerate quickly following a fire, or release seed or flower in response to heat or smoke.

Native Species

The term native species refers to species of plants, animals or organisms that have naturally evolved in a given area, rather than being brought to the area by human intervention.  Australia is home to about one million different native species with more than 80 percent of all flowering plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs found only in Australia.


Natural is difficult to define as there are no set regulations in Australia and is a term used fairly broadly.

Technically, in food or a body product, you would expect that ‘natural’ would mean that the contents being described have no synthetic substances, which would generally contribute as colour, artificial flavours or preservatives. 

The facts however are that almost all foods come, at some point, from a natural product – of a plant or animal. That does not mean that you would always be happy if you understood the so called natural substance used. (eg: cochineal is a natural red colouring made from insects.)

Best to read labels carefully if the product is not organic and don’t fall for large claims of NATURAL without validating. 

Natural 100% Self Certified - Sustainability Standard

Natural 100% Self Certified is a sustainability standard an trader might claim.

Technically a product is 100% natural if all its ingredients and the overall product contains no artificial ingredient or added color and are only minimally processed.

Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product.

While this can be true for food or cleaning products and some toys, it is more complex with clothing and body care products. In these cases, you expect significantly more processing and potentially more components and processing. 

If a product claims to be 100% natural, read the ingredients or question the manufacturing process carefully so that you are fully aware of what 100% natural means in the product you are buying. Not just in the finished product, but also the component of the product.

Natural Capital

Natural capital refers to natural elements such as raw materials, trees, forests, rivers, land and oceans that produce value for humans.  Natural capital is the foundation on which our economy and society is built and maintained now and into the future.  The book Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, argues that businesses must acknowledge that human prosperity depends upon valuing and protecting natural capital (environmental resources).

Natural Dyes - Sustainability Standard

Natural Dyes is a sustainability standard an trader might claim.

Natural dyes are dyes or colorants derived from plants like berries, vegetables and fruits; insects, or minerals.

By far the majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources—roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood. As well as from fungi and lichens.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is a naturally occurring, odourless, combustible mixture of hydrocarbon gases that is found in deep underground rock formations. Described as the cleanest fossil fuel, this non-renewable resource is used for heating, cooking, power generation, and as a fuel for vehicles.

Natural Resource

The term natural resource refers to everything that is derived from the environment including water, air organisms, vegetation, fossil fuels, soil and minerals.  At a fundamental level, natural resources have been used to produce all of the human-made materials and products that exist on Earth.

Nature-Deficit Disorder

Nature-deficit disorder is a term coined by writer Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods.  The disorder specifically refers to the lack of time that children are spending in nature due to the increasing use of modern technologies, restricted access to natural areas and parental fears for children being at ‘risk’ outdoors.


Nitrate is a nitrogen containing compound that can be present in the atmosphere or as a dissolved gas in water, and may cause illness in humans and animals.  Nitrate is commonly found in agricultural fertilisers, septic systems, animal manure, feed lots, industrial waste water, and landfills.

Nitric Oxide (NO)

Nitric oxide (NO), or nitrogen oxide, is a by-product of any internal combustion engine, such as a vehicle engine, and is also produced naturally from the lightning in thunderstorms.  Nitric oxide contributes to acid rain and global warming, and may worsen asthma in humans.

Nitrogen (N)

Nitrogen (N) is the most abundant gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, making up 78 percent by volume.  This chemical element occurs in all organisms, including the human body which contains about three percent by weight of nitrogen.  Nitrogen is commonly used as a fertiliser and energy-store, and has also has many applications in industrial and pharmaceutical sectors.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

About one percent of the Earth’s total nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas amount is produced naturally from sources such as lightning, vegetation, soil and water.  The majority of nitrogen dioxide is produced from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.  Emissions from motor vehicle exhausts, petrol and metal refining, electricity generation from coal-fired power stations, industrial boilers, food processing and other manufacturing industries also contribute to nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere.  In the environment, nitrogen dioxide can have adverse effects on both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. 

Nitrogen Leaching

Nitrogen leaching refers to the process of nitrogen fertilisers being applied to agricultural crops, and the nitrates then leaving the soil in drainage water.  This leaching becomes an environmental pollutant once it reaches groundwater and other fresh water bodies.

Nitrous Oxide (N20)

Nitrous oxide (N2O) gas is commonly known as laughing gas, and is emitted into the atmosphere by bacteria in soils and oceans, and as a result of agricultural and industrial practices.  Nitrous oxide contributes to global warming, accounting for approximately 6 percent of the heating effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

No Exploitation of Other Living Things - Sustainability Standard

No exploitation of other living things is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

There are two facets to the no exploitation of other living things credential - people and animals. And it is typically relevant to the beauty, fashion and food industries, but may also be relevant to others.
Production traders with a no exploitation policy ensure workers in their supply chain are paid fair wages and conditions, including reasonable hours and safe conditions - safe machinery and safe buildings, in which they aren't exposed to toxic substances. 
No animal exploitation traders typically ensure that no animals are exploited in the development, testing or delivery of their product.

No Palm Oil - Sustainability Standard

No Palm Oil is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim.

The Palm Oil industry is linked to major issues such as large scale deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty, animal species extinction and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations.

No Toxic Chemicals - Sustainability Standard

No Toxic Chemicals is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

These products are created without the use of toxic chemicals. Toxic chemicals are any substance which may be harmful to the environment or hazardous to your health if inhaled, eaten or absorbed through the skin and potentially ending up in water systems.

Traders displaying this credential would typically sell products made with natural dyes, preservatives and additives which are kinder on the environment, and safer for you. There is however no guarantee that their products do not contain synthetic chemicals which the trader believes to be non toxic.

No Waste - Sustainability Credential

No Waste is a sustainability credential that an Across the Fence trader might claim. Creating absolutely no waste is very difficult, and almost impossible for traders, however businesses that have a no waste policy make a conscious effort to reduce waste to an absolute minimum by avoiding generating excessive waste, composting, repurposing and recycling.

Noise Pollution

Noise pollution refers to offensive or excessive noise that poses a health threat to human and animal life.  Noise pollution is commonly caused by industrial machinery or transport modes such as motor vehicles, aircraft and trains.  Human health impacts of noise pollution include sleep disorders, hearing loss, high blood pressure and anxiety.

Non GMO - Sustainability Standard

Non GMO is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

While there is significant debate about whether GMO food is dangerous or not, what is clear is that food or products that are not GMO are not GMO.


Non-biodegradable refers to substances or materials that cannot be consumed or broken down by natural elements such as air, climate, soil and water.  Common non-biodegradable items include plastic, aluminum, bottles, and chemicals.

Non-Point Source Pollution

Non-point source pollution is pollution that is detected in a location away from where the pollution originated, and is usually produced as a result of surface runoff. Common non-point sources are agricultural areas, feedlots, forestry, mining, construction, dams, wastewater treatment systems, land disposal, saltwater intrusion, and urban areas.

Non-Potable Water

Non-potable water refers to water this is not safe to drink or is unpalatable because it contains minerals, pollutants, contaminants, or infective agents.

Non-Renewable Resources

Non-renewable resources refer to natural resources that do not regenerate within a sufficient timeframe to make them suitable for sustainable economic use. Common non-renewable resources include coal, oil, copper, aluminium, and natural gas.  These natural resources are being consumed faster by humans than they can be produced naturally.

Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy, or nuclear power, refers to heat and electricity that is produced by nuclear reactions (fusion or fission).  Nuclear power stations provide about 13 percent of the world’s electricity (2012). There is an ongoing debate about nuclear energy, as some environmental organisations claim that nuclear power poses a threat to humans and the environment.

Nuclear Waste

Nuclear waste is a type of radioactive waste that is a by-product of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear technology.  Government agencies are responsible for regulating nuclear waste as is it considered hazardous to humans, animals, and the environment. 


Nutrient refers to any substance used by an organism to live or grow, including the building and repairing of tissues, regulation of body processes, and as an energy source.  Nitrogen and phosphorus in wastewater are generally referred to as nutrients, however this term also applies to other essential and trace elements.

Nutrient Pollution

Nutrient pollution occurs when excessive levels of nutrients, generally nitrogen and phosphorus, are found in bodies of water.  These excess nutrients can act as a fertiliser in the water causing increased levels of algae, which blocks the light that is needed for other water plants.  The water plants die as a result of the excess algae, which in turn can lead to the loss of fish and other aquatic animals.