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Salinity refers to the presence of salts such as magnesium, calcium, sulphate, sodium chloride, and bicarbonates in waterways and soil.  Across Australia, salinity is a major environmental issue affecting millions of hectares of land and is primarily caused by the use of European farming methods, which have replaced native vegetation and increased groundwater levels.  The harmful effects of salinity include lost agricultural production, loss of biodiversity and vegetation, and damage to infrastructure and urban households.

Salvage Self Certified - Sustainability Credential

Salvage is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim.

Traders claiming this credential are either selling salvaged items or products made from salvaged items or salvaged by-product.

Salvaged and Repurposed - Sustainability Standard

Salvaged and repurposed is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

Salvage or repurpose traders work specifically with products that have been giving a second lease on life and transformed into another use or upgraded to become better.

Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise refers to increasing levels of sea water that lead to coastal areas losing land to encroaching water levels.  This sea level rise occurs in response to increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the consequent impacts to the global climate.  Environmental impacts associated with sea level rise include coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion into aquifers, deltas and estuaries.  Coastal ecosystems, water resources and human settlements are also at risk of flooding and polluted floodwaters.

Seasonal Produce - Self Certified

Seasonal produce is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

Produce is described as seasonal when it is picked and sold when it is at its peak. Seasonal refers to the fact that the produce is in season right now. Generally seasonal produce is cheaper, fresher and sold closer to home.

Second-Generation Biofuels

Second-generation biofuels are fuels that are made from various types of biomass comprised of the residual, non-food parts of agricultural crops including stems, leaves and husks, as well as industry waste such as wood chips, fruit skins and pulp, and organic waste from landfill.  Second-generation biofuels avoid the need to surrender agricultural land for biofuel production and can provide a large amount of fuel sustainably, affordably, and with environmental benefits.


Sediment refers topsoil, sand, and minerals that are washed from the land into water, following rain or snow melt.  Sediment can collect in reservoirs, rivers and harbours, harming fish and wildlife habitat, and clouding the water so that aquatic plants cannot receive sunlight. 

Septic System

A septic system refers to an underground storage tank for on-site treatment and disposal of domestic sewage.  Instead of being connected to a sewer line, septic systems utilise bacteria in the tank to decompose the organic waste and sludge that settles to the bottom of the tank.  It is advised that no chemical products be placed into a septic system to assist with the breakdown of sludge, but instead the tank should be pumped out by a septic system cleaner regularly to ensure it remains healthy.

Shale Gas

Shale gas is a natural gas that is produced from shale.  Shale gas has become an increasingly important source of natural gas, and there is an expectation that shale gas production will greatly expand global energy supplies.  There is some debate as to whether or not shale gas development will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or if the extraction and use of shale gas will result in the release of more greenhouse gases.

Shale Oil

Shale oil is oil produced naturally within rock formations such as shale, which contains oil.  It requires modern drilling and recovery technologies to produce and is primarily used as heating oil, marine fuel, and in the production of various chemicals.

Shared Resource Self Certified - Sustainability Standard

Shared Resource is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim.

Traders claiming this standard typically offer a product or service that facilitates easy use by several parties, when it would generally have more limited use. 

Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome refers to a building whose human occupants experience health ailments, but where there is no identified illness or cause.  Complaints may be connected to the time spent in a building, or in a particular room or zone, where there is a possible or known presence of environmental toxins.

Slow Food

Slow Food refers to a where people aim to avoid fast food and fast life, and to instead embrace locally grown and organic food production, farmers markets, food appreciation, traditional recipes, local food and seasonal produce, and regional cultures.  Slow food enthusiasts may also lobby against the use of pesticides and genetically engineered food.

Smart Grid

A smart grid is a term used to describe new electricity grid technologies that use computers to monitor energy demand and supply, and to communicate feedback to consumers and power stations.  Smart grids can provide real time information on power use, automatically manage energy supply and demand, and may help consumers to reduce their power use.

Smart Meter

A smart meter is a computer based, electricity consumption meter that is able to record and measure electricity usage in multiple time bands (hourly or less) and communicates these readings back to the power company for monitoring and billing purposes.  Smart meters support 'feed in' measurement of locally generated electricity, such as solar power, back into the electrical supply grid.


Smog is a type of air pollution that occurs when large quantities of soot, ash, vehicle emissions, and industrial pollutants have a chemical reaction with sunlight.  Smog pollution may be associated with human health problems in senior citizens, children, and people with heart and respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is a chemical compound that is widely used in the cosmetic industry as a major ingredient in make-up, skin care products, toothpaste, hair treatments, and soaps.  Industrial applications of SLS include detergents, floor cleaning products, engine degreasers and car wash soaps.  According to some scientific studies, use of SLS has been linked with skin and eye irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, biochemical or cellular changes, and possible mutations and cancer.

Soil Association Certification - UK

Soil Association Certification is an accreditation company based in the UK who inspect and award organic certification to farms and businesses that meet their organic standards.

Soil Association Certification certify organic food and farming, organic textiles, health and organic beauty products.

Soil Conditioning

Soil conditioning refers to the process of adding organic material such as compost or humus to soil to improve its ability to absorb water, grow and sustain plant life, build a bacterial community and absorb mineral nutrients.

Soil Contamination

Soil contamination or soil pollution refers to the presence of human-made chemicals, contaminants and pollutants in natural soil environment.  Contaminated soil is a result of industrial activity, agricultural pesticides and fertilisers, mining, fuel dumping, and leaching from underground storage tanks or landfills.  Soil contamination can have significant impacts on the environment including the loss of microorganisms and organisms from the primary food chain, which in turn may affect predator or consumer species.

Soil Erosion

Soil erosion refers to the blowing or washing away of topsoil as a result of erosive processes such as rainfall, flooding, runoff and deforestation.  Vegetation plays an important role in holding soil in place, and reducing the force of the wind to help limit soil erosion.

Solar Hot Water

Solar hot water refers to using solar energy to heat water, generally by circulating water through a rooftop solar panel, which is then fed to an insulated water storage tank for later use.  Solar hot water systems are commonly used for heating building interiors, swimming pools and maintaining temperature in aquatic environments such as commercial fish ponds. 

Solar Panel

A solar panel is made up of arrays of photovoltaic cells that use sunlight to create electricity. Environmental factors such as shading, heat and sun strength will dramatically affect the level of solar energy produced by a solar panel.

Solar Power

Solar power refers to the harnessing of sunlight to generate electricity.  Common technologies used to harness solar power include solar panels, solar thermal energy, and solar hot water.  Solar power benefits the environment by producing no harmful emissions, although some greenhouse gas emissions are produced in the manufacture of solar technologies.

Solid Waste

Solid waste refers to any garbage or discarded materials from households, organisations, industries, treatment plants, agricultural operations, construction works, mining residue, and all other commercial and community activities.  Solid waste materials can be in a solid, liquid, or semi-solid state, or as gases in containers.

Source Reduction

Source reduction refers to the process of reducing the volume or toxicity of materials entering the waste stream during the design and manufacturing process, and at the end of the products life, by redesigning products to have minimum toxic content, low volume of material, and/or a longer lifespan. 

Stern Review (The)

The Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change was released by economist Nicholas Stern for the British government in 2006.  This report is a comprehensive, well-known study into the effects of global warming and its impacts on the world economy. The key findings of the report conclude that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the environmental and economic costs of prolonging action.

Strip Mining

Strip mining refers to a mining technique in which machinery is used to remove vegetation, scrape soil or rock away, and cut deep trenches within a designated land area so that the mineral deposits underneath the soil surface can be removed.

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) is a chemical compound and a toxic, colourless gas with an irritating smell.  It is commonly emitted into the atmosphere through natural means such as volcanos, and is also generated via industrial processes.  Sulphur dioxide is considered to be a major air pollutant that impacts plant communities, animal life and aquatic species.  Furthermore, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides in acid rain have been linked with health problems such as eye irritations, asthma and bronchitis. 


In ecology, sustainability refers to the ability to conduct activities whilst maintaining the health of the earth and ensuring that natural resources are not used beyond their regenerative capacity.  One of the best known definitions of sustainability is by the World Commission on Environment and Development which implies sustainability is ‘to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.

Sustainability Education & Awareness - Sustanability Standard

Sustainability Education & Awareness is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

This trader offers either a service or product which serves to educate or increase public awareness of sustainability. It might also provide a platform to build the
capacity of the people to address development and environment issues. 

Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture refers to the process of growing food crops and products while maintaining a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social equity. Sustainable farming practices include recycling crop and livestock waste, growing organic produce, efficient water use, no-till farming, protecting soil from water runoff, and protecting or improving existing vegetation. 

Sustainable Components Self Certified - Sustainability Standard

Sustainable Components is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

A trader claiming this standard would claim that the components of the product he sells are sustainable. ie: Products components which maintain the health of the earth, ensuring that natural resources are not used beyond their regenerative capacity.  

Sustainable Development

Sustainable development refers to development that meets current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  This presents a challenge for industries such as construction, agriculture, manufacturing, mining and commerce, to reevaluate the way their business operates and to consider implementing practices that improves the standard of the environment while maintaining economic health.

Sustainable Energy

Sustainable energy refers to renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind, biomass, geothermal, and tidal power.  When considering utilising renewable energy it is important to consider the total environmental costs of the technology being used to determine if the energy system is sustainable, this includes natural resource use, manufacturing processes, ongoing maintenance, lifespan, and disposal.  

Sustainably Sourced - Sustainability Credential

Sustainably sourced  is a sustainability standard that an trader might claim. 

Sustainably sourced products or components have been sourced and re-created with minimal impact on the environment.

Sustainable product components have been created from renewable resources, recycled materials, salvaged or repurposed materials.


Sweatshops are characterised by manual workers in a factory setting where they work in violation of labour rights with long work hours and very low wages.
Sweatshops are prominent in developing countries. Ethical Clothing Australia have set regulations and standards to ensure Australian workers are not subject to sweatshops.

Systemic sustainability - Sustainability Credential

Systemic sustainability is a sustainability credential that an Across the Fence trader might claim. A systemic sustainability solutions trader would typically be a builder, architect or materials producer. Anyone who uses a number of interconnecting elements to offer a more sustainable solution than the alternatives.