Ekobai.com Terms Explained
The following defines the many closely related (and often interlinked) terms and expressions as they are used throughout our site.
An agent is an individual or company who, in exchange for a commission or transaction fee, buys or sells a product/service offered by another company. Ekobai.com requires a Seller to declare whether they are an agent or the direct manufacturer/provider of the product/service.
A Buyer is a Member who has listed in their Profile items they are interested in seeking suppliers for. Sellers or other interested parties may contact the Buyer, using Ekobai.com's Internal Messaging, with regards to the items they are interested in.
A Certification Body can be a Non-Profit Organisation or a Company and provides a third-party auditing service to companies hoping to obtain a Certification to a certain standard. Certification Bodies can be food testing laboratories, auditing companies (e.g. KPMG), inspection companies (e.g. SGS, DNV) or often they may be NGOs or government departments who provide the service on a cost-only basis.
A Certification Scheme relates to a standard or level of achievement by a company on a particular topic, such as achievement of a energy efficiency standard in a television. The Certification Scheme describes the standard and how the company must demonstrate it has achieved the standard (e.g. via documentation or third party auditing/testing). In general, only Certification Schemes with third-party auditing requirements are considered credible by buyers.
Under Ekobai.com's system a Company is classified as an commercial, profit making organisation owned by private individuals or shareholders, including companies whose shareholders are governments.
A Competent Body is (usually) a Non-Profit Organisation which adminsters a Certfication Scheme. It edits the standard/certification requirements as time goes on, awards the actual Certificate to companies, and decides which Certification Bodies are allowed to act as third party auditors with regards to the Standard. An example is the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which manages the FSC Certification Scheme for wood products.
Sustainability issues cover environmental, worker safety, social and ethical issues which increasingly companies are taking voluntary initiatives on, over and above what is required by law. There are numerous third-party audited standards and certificates which reward companies for their efforts and allow buyers and business partners to recognise them. Some examples are: energy labels for products, ISO 14001 certification for a factory, achievement of a social audit, membership or participation in a EHS or social related industry association (e.g. Carbon Disclosure Project). Ekobai.com has collated over 500 such EHS Credentials commonly used in the world's major economies. We encourage Users to add to this by letting us know about ones not in our database.
To assist Members in describing their Buying/Selling preferences and their Product/Service postings, we have created a detailed classification system with over 30,000 products/services organized into a 4 level hierarchy. Our system is based on UN and global business standards as used by companies such as Walmart in procurement. Within this, we have greatly enhanced the classification for the environmental technology and new energy related products/services sectors. While Members do not have to use our Classification system it will greatly enhance their chances of being found by Users or Ekobai.com who search our site using Ekobai.com Classification.
Sustainability issues cover environmental, worker safety, social and ethical issues which increasingly companies are taking voluntary initiatives on, over and above what is required by law. Environmental issues consist of: industrial pollution, climate change, energy efficiency and the impact of a companys' products and operations on the natural environment. Health and safety issues consist of the well being and fair treatment of the company's workforce; and any risks posed to human health as a result of the company's products/operations (e.g. toxic chemicals in food products).
As sustainability issues are key to being selected as a supplier, Members have the chance to promote their performance (whether it be describing their products, their factory or their company as a whole) in these areas. This can be done via the Sustainbility Merits tool within our site and can apply to Profiles, Products or Projects. Sustainbility Merits has two sections, one for descriptive free text (e.g. general environmental policy of company) and the other is the Sustainbility Certifications section, where Members can list specfiic certifications or memberships.
Ekobai.com does not display e-mail addresses of Users or Members to avoid spam and mass-marketing mails originating from the site. Rather we offer an Internal Messaging system on our platform whereby recipients of messages can read and respond to messages of their choosing and subsequently engage in "off-line" communication.
A Member organisation of Ekobai.com has its details listed in a Profile, created by a Registered User. This Registered User has read and agreed to Ekobai.com's Terms and Conditions and has the authority to represent the Organisation with repsect to provison of the details required to create a Profile. Additional Users with editing authority may be added to the Member Profile.
You may customise your Ekobai.com homepage using My Ekobai.com. You may select which types of information appear (products, projects, news, analysis, companies, events) and also let us know about communications you wish to recieve from Ekobai.com (e.g. notification when you receive an internal message, News updates).
Non Profit Organisations include academic institutions, government and multilateral organizations, NGOs and other organisations whose legal status is not-for-profit or charitable. Ekobai.com encourages Non-Profit Organizations to list on our site as they play an integral role in the development of EHS/socially related market places (e.g. creation of standards, government subsidization, university research).
To promote or highlight a product or service, a Member may add Product/Service postings to their Member Profile. In this, Members can describe the Product/Service in detail using our Ekobai.com Classification system, their own keywords or text. They may add Sustainability Merits via free text and Sustainability Certifications. Members can also upload a photo image of their Product/Service.
An Ekobai.com Profile contains the basic details of an Member organisation (classified either as a Company or Non-Profit Organisation). Once a Registered User creates a Profile for an Organisation, that Profile's organisation becomes a Member of Ekobai.com.
To promote or highlight a particular Project, a Member may add Projects to their Profile. Typically a Project is posted by a Non-Profit Organisation (e.g. government body, NGO) who wishes to seek investors/partners in an environmental or social project (e.g. a greenhouse gas abatement project). But Companies may also post Projects they wish to promote and seek a partner for (e.g. development of a new product or facility).
Registered User (or User)
A Registered User of Ekobai.com has provided us with a valid e-mail address and password to access the contents of the site and has agreed to the Terms and Conditions.
A User may browse our site in three ways. Using Search, the User types in chosen key words into the Search bar. Results will appear according to our internal Search algorithm which matches the User-chosen key words with words within items on our site (e.g. Profiles, Products, News etc). The results are ranked and displayed. If a User is in the Product page of the site, results will focus on Products with other types of information (e.g. Events) in peripheral view. Or, the User can use Advanced or Tag Cloud Search.
Search - Advanced
If the standard Search brings up too many results, the User will be encouraged to employ Advanced Search which will allow the user to apply filters to the results relating to Ekobai.com Classification, date of entry, geographic region etc.