Some green definitions – Volume 1

During PLANETE DURABLE (Sustainable Planet) we met some visitors et by their remarks and questions, we got the impression that they were a little bit lost, and there is some confusion and amalgams who where done by these visitors on the initiatives of Sustainable Development. By this note we will try to this vast topic in giving you simple definition on

Sustainable Development, the “BIO”, Fair Trade, Ethical Fashion, Greenwashing, Recycling, Green Construction and Green Habitat

To do this we navigate on the net or we ask some specialist from Eco Informants. Other sources comes from Wikipédia

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come (sometimes taught as ELF-Environment, Local people, Future). The term was used by the Brundtland Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future

To illustrate the “BIO’ we asked Laurence from Aboneobio : concept of subscription for French Bio products, to give the definition

The « BIO » (organic) non-food – Translation of French Source ABONEOBIO

What conditions are required pour a non agricultural product should be considered as organic ?

  • Only the agriculture component of the product should qualified as organic / by example it is the T-shirt which is organic but the cotton
  • The product should be made of a significant part of agricultural ingredients organic certified
  • The product should not contain ou very few chemical substance of synthesis
  • The company should not minimize the risk for health or environment of a product which could be classified among dangerous substances or preparations

Click there to see the full article in French

Here is another interesting article (in French) on organic agriculture

GREENWASHING (a portmanteau of “green” and “whitewash“) is a term describing the deceptive use of green PR or green marketing in order to promote a misleading perception that a company’s policies or products (such as goods or services) are environmentally friendly. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations that attempt to show that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment

The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green (that is, operating with consideration for the environment), rather than spending resources on environmentally sound practices. This is often portrayed by changing the name or label of a product to evoke the natural environment or nature—for example, putting an image of a forest on a bottle containing harmful chemicals. Environmentalists often use greenwashing to describe the actions of energy companies, which are traditionally the largest polluters.



Although no universally accepted definition of fair trade exists, fair trade labeling organizations most commonly refer to a definition developed by FINE. an informal association of four international fair trade networks (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, World Fair Trade Organization, Network of European Worldshops and European Fair Trade Association): fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair trade organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.

ETHICAL FASHION is inspired of Trade Fair model and principles f ethic, with two types of concerns : environment and social. In environment domain Ethical Fashion associates designers who lookk for minimizing the ecologic footprint of their production, in using eco friendly materials, organic or recycled and manufacturing processes with less water consumption, energy of transport, always in the view to reduce environment impact along its life cycle. Social aspects are treated by the respect of trade fair with a decent salary, respect of workers and the prohibition of child labour, the respect of international conventions of OIT and the application of a minimum chart of social rights.


RECYCLING is processing used materials (waste) into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production.[1][2] Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” waste hierarchy.


Esra from Terra Cités who make the conception  and realise green building constructions and eco friendly renovation as a corporate promoter for collective habitat and conceiver for personal home, write us the two following definitions :

The GREEN BUILDING (also known as green construction or sustainable building)is the construction or the renovation of a building to respect the natural environment. / 1)in process building (use of materials with poor impact environmental, renewable energy, controlled usage of water, waste treatment…). In this view a house “ low consumption” is not obligatory green build, as soon as it is concentrated on the look for low energy consumption (this target could be achieved with non ecologic materials!)



The green habitat is an habitat realized in a green building approach. This word design or a new construction or a renewed construction. The green habitat is a bioclimatic habitat, i.e. integrated in a soft way to the natural environment in taking benefits to naturals inflows (sun by example), and in getting protection of it (wind for example). The type of habitat should also be low energy and realized with eco friendly materials which support a healthy indoor. Note this is the ideal definition : today most of construction focus only on energy consumption, without thinking to the type of materials and to the health of workers and habitants.

Abi from Vertissimmo just wrote an article about habitat (in French) : Un habitat sain, vert, durable, écologique, bioclimatique ou éco-énergétique ???

A second note will be published about the above topics and will be more my inputs


8 commentaires sur “Some green definitions – Volume 1”

  1. […] Retrouvez d’autres définitions vertes (  sur le blog de, au programme : le développement durable, le greenwashing, le bio, le commerce éthique ainsi que la définition « idéaliste » des termes éco-habitat & éco-construction par l’entreprise Terra Cités […]

  2. Bonjour Jean-Marc,
    Tu parles de “confusions et d’amalgames”, c’est encore aujourd’hui “notre pain quotidien”. Sur notre métier, l’éco-habitat, nous pensions que le Grenelle de l’Environnement et la communication qu’il l’entourait, favoriseraient une meilleure compréhension de l’éco-construction. Et pourtant, après quelques années, nous réalisons à quel point le travail pédagogique est essentiel, auprès des particuliers, des décideurs… C’est d’ailleurs pour cette raison que nous avons un axe “Sensibilisation et Formation” chez Terra Cités !

  3. Jean-Marc says:


    Oui c’est en effet notre pain quotidien, mais merci encore pour tes lumières et le deuxième volet de ces définitions vertes nous emmènera dans un univers plus personnel et plus humain. Merci pour votre excellent travail chez Terra Cités.

  4. Bonjour Jean Marc, voilà des précisions qui seront très utiles à bon nombre de consommateurs ! Après le dire c’est bien mais le faire c’est mieux…et là on les attend les clients ^^

  5. Rebecca says:

    C’est vrai que nous qui sommes au quotidien dans ces sujets, les choses nous paraissent limpides mais il est important de temps en temps de revenir aux fondamentaux…

  6. Comme pour tout secteur relativement récent, on fait souvent l’amalgame entre plusieurs notions. On va ainsi mélanger éthique, responsable et équitable, ou encore produit bio et produit naturel.

    L’article est donc vraiment le bienvenue pour revenir aux fondamentaux (comme le dit Rebecca).

  7. Jean-Marc says:

    @Abi – Bel article que tu nous a fait là sur
    @Laurence : C’est clair que le faire c’est mieux, mais on garde espoir
    @Rebecca : C’est pour ça que de temps à autre, il faut se remettre en question et expliquer et ré expliquer pourquoi on a choisi cette orientation
    @Daniel : Le mélange et l’amalgame que nous ressentons tous les jours, m’a un peu forcé la main pour écrire cet article, mais je ne regrette rien . Le volume 2 arrive surement semaine prochaine

  8. […] Tout est dans la manière de communiquer. Ce qui nous amène au prochain sujet qu’est le GREENWASHING.(voir définitions vertes Volume 1) […]

Laisser une réponse