Ultra Vires

‘Beyond the powers’ in Latin. A doctrine in the law of corporations which states that if a corporation enters into a contract that is beyond the scope of its corporate powers, the contract is illegal.

Ultraviolet Radiation (UV)

The energy range just beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum.


A state of incomplete knowledge that can result from a lack of information or from disagreement about what is known or even knowable.

Unconscious Bias

Attitudes or stereotypes that unconsciously affect a person’s understanding, actions or decisions.

Underrepresented Group

In a D&I context, a subset of a population with a smaller percentage than the general population.

United Kingdom Corporate Governance Code

A UK code that emphasises relationships between companies, shareholders and stakeholders.

United Kingdom Emissions Trading System (UK ETS)

A UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) replaced the UK’s participation in the EU ETS on 1 January 2021. The UK was instrumental in developing the EU ETS and the introduction of a UK scheme provides continuity of emissions trading for UK businesses.

United Kingdom Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF)

Membership network for sustainable and responsible financial services in the UK.

United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)

Formerly a body within the United Nations that was tasked with overseeing and developing the global Sustainable Development agenda following the Rio Declaration, replaced in 2013 by the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)

Also known as the ‘Earth Summit’, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 3-14 June 1992.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Established in 1964 as an intergovernmental organisation intended to promote the interests of developing states in world trade, UNCTAD is the part of the United Nations Secretariat dealing with trade, investment and development issues.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

An international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

A convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

A policy framework espoused by the United Nations that aims to establish minimum standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

The UN’s global development network partnering with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves quality of life for everyone.

United Nations Division on Sustainable Development (DSDG)

A division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs that acts as the Secretariat for the Sustainable Development Goals.

United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP)

A program of the United Nations that focuses on achieving a global environmental agenda by spearheading various initiatives.

United Nations Environmental Program Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI)

A partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector to mobilise private sector finance for sustainable development.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

An environmental treaty created with the goal of stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)

A voluntary initiative within the United Nations to promote sustainability in businesses across the globe.

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