About our keywords

Thrive Sustainably definitions
Thrive Sustainably definitions

About our keywords


Defining the keywords

Words such as sustainability, local or organic have become ordinary and common words which everyone knows and more or less understands. However, these words or terms have acquired different, sometimes even contradictory, meanings, and have also been misused or abused for different purposes.

Based on their etymological and dictionary definition [1], below you can read about how the keywords used on this platform are defined and understood.

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Ecological and ecological product

The word ecological relates to ecology, that is, to the environments of living organisms or to the relationships between them and their environments/physical surroundings.

Ecological product is a product made with respect for ecology, the environment and organisms. Often, it is a synonym for organic product because ecological products too are ‘products that are produced without using any chemical inputs, additives and methods harmful to ecosystem and human health.’[3]

Fair trade and fair trade product

Fair trade is a trade carried on under a fair trade agreement (normally between companies in “developed countries” and producers in “developing countries”) in which fair prices are paid to the producers/farmers as to reduce poverty, provide for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promote environmentally sustainable practices. There are different fair trade organisations and certifications.

Fair trade product is then a product that is produced and sold in compliance with a concrete fair trade agreement and has an official fair trade label given by an independent, third-party verification.

Food system and sustainable food system

Food system includes ‘the sum of actors and interactions along the food value chain—from input supply and production of crops, livestock, fish, and other agricultural commodities to transportation, processing, retailing, wholesaling, and preparation of foods to consumption and disposal.’[5] Or in other words, a food system is ‘a complex web of activities involving the production, processing, transport, and consumption Issues concerning the food system include the governance and economics of food production, its sustainability, the degree to which we waste food, how food production affects the natural environment and the impact of food on individual and population health.’[6]

Sustainable food system is then ‘a food system that ensures food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition of future generations are not compromised.’[7]

Local, local food

Local means pertaining to, belonging to, relating to or being characteristic of a particular place or area. Something is local, if it originates or comes from a particular place and can be found only there. Synonyms of local are then not only provincial, regional but also authentic, unique and original.

Local food is food that comes from and is unique to a particular place or region.

Natural and natural product

Natural suggests existing in, formed/made by or caused by nature, not by man.

Natural product is, in its original and broadest sense, a product made by a living organism.[4]

Organic, organic product and organic label

Organic refers to farming methods of raising livestock, cultivating land and growing food without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents such as growth stimulants or antibiotics.

Organic product is a product that is made according to specific methods and rules of organic farming and has an organic label depending on where it is produced.

Organic label is the guarantee that a product is officially organic. Normally, every country has its own organic label. There is also European organic label which is mandatory on all organic packaged products made in the European Union.[2]

Sustainability and daily, practical sustainability

Generally speaking, the word sustainability means: the ability to be maintained, sustained, supported at a certain rate or level in the long-term and this not at the expense of people, organic and inorganic life and the environment.

Daily, practical sustainability is then sustainability from the perspective of practice – different ways people engage with, integrate and experience sustainability in their daily lives.


[4] For more information see, for instance, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_product

[7] Cited from HLPE (2014) Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome, 2014, p.31.

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