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The Upright net impact framework

Description of impact categories in the Upright net impact model

Introduction

Upright's net impact metrics are organised into 4 dimensions split into 19 impact categories. The framework is designed to be:
⤷ Balanced: Consider both costs and benefits.
⤷ Comprehensive: Capture all types of costs and benefits that companies create.
⤷ Mutually exclusive: No double-counting of benefits or costs.
Upright’s framework is different from common sustainability and impact frameworks (such as UN SDGs, SASB, and the GRI reporting standard) in that it aims to capture all value created by companies on the surrounding world whereas traditional sustainability and impact frameworks only consider a limited selection of "impact topics".

Society dimension

Positive impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
Jobs
Employing people and thus enabling them to gain financial actorship and identity in society. In this impact, we take into account people employed both directly by the company, as well as indirectly by its suppliers and customers.
A company employs 700 people.
Taxes
Contributing to joint resources via taxes paid directly by the company or indirectly by its suppliers and customers.
A company pays its corporate taxes.
Societal infrastructure
Contributing to or forming basic societal infrastructure, such as roads, sewage systems, electricity networks, hospitals, schools, and pension systems. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company builds sewer systems.
Societal stability & understanding among people
Increasing understanding among people or inciting or enabling peace. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company offers translation services that help people with no common language understand each other.
Equality & human rights
Increasing racial, economic or gender equality, or enforcing human rights. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company provides microloans to women in developing countries, enabling them to start a business.

About equality & human rights

Forms of equality considered include:
  • Ethnicity & gender
  • Language
  • Gender
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • Wealth
Human rights topics considered include:
  • Freedom of speech and expression
  • Voting rights, democracy
  • Forced labour, child labour
  • Accessibility
  • Access to education
  • Access to healthcare
  • Minority rights (disability, language, indigenous, etc)
  • Child rights

About societal infrastructure

Societal infrastructure is defined based on guidelines from U.S. and E.U. governments on sectors critical to the functioning of society, including the U.S. National Infrastructure Protection Plan.
Some types of critical infrastructure are, however, considered within other impact categories as follows:
  • Considered within knowledge infrastructure:
    • Telecommunications services
    • Provision of state, municipal and inter-municipal ICT services related to securing the vital functions of society, including commercial ICT subcontractors that support the provision of these services
    • National broadcasting channels and main commercial media
    • Rating and assessment bodies
    • Registration duties of the patent and registration offices
    • Environmental permit supervision
    • Permit supervision of sites that pose a risk of major accidents (e.g. chemical plants, mines)
  • Considered within health dimension:
    • Primary food production and processing
    • Healthcare, including research
    • Communicable disease expertise and support functions, including laboratory operations
    • State mental hospitals
    • Pharmaceutical supply
  • Considered within environment dimension:
    • Environmental healthcare services

About taxes

Considered taxes are not limited to corporate tax, but also include other taxes, such as payroll tax, value-added tax and sales taxes. For this reason, even companies that pay zero corporate tax will get some positive scores for paying taxes. Corporate tax is often only a fraction of a company's total tax footprint.

Negative impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
Jobs
No negative impacts are currently considered in this impact category.
​
Taxes
No negative impacts are currently considered in this impact category.
​
Societal infrastructure
No negative impacts are currently considered in this impact category.
​
Societal stability & understanding among people
Decreasing understanding among people or inciting or enabling armed conflict. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces firearms that are used in armed conflicts.
Equality & human rights
Decreasing racial, economic or gender equality, or violating human rights. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company uses conflict minerals to produce consumer electronics.

Knowledge dimension

Positive impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
Knowledge infrastructure
Contributing to knowledge infrastructure and thus enabling the effective and safe creation, distribution, and maintenance of knowledge, information, and data. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces base stations for mobile networks.
Creating knowledge
Enabling, encouraging or practicing the creation of data, information or knowledge. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company provides preclinical research services.
Distributing knowledge
Distributing already existing data, information or knowledge. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company broadcasts television programs.
Scarce human capital
No positive impacts are considered for this impact category.
​

Negative impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
Knowledge infrastructure
No negative impacts are considered for this impact category.
​
Creating knowledge
No negative impacts are considered for this impact category.
​
Distributing knowledge
Distributing untrue or misleading information, or spreading spam content that takes up space from trustworthy information and burdens human cognitive capacity. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company runs fake news websites.
Scarce human capital
The opportunity cost of employing people with scarce skills and capabilities. In this impact, we take into account people employed both directly by the company, as well as indirectly by its suppliers and customers.
A company occupies 140 highly skilled programmers

About scarce human capital

The Upright net impact model treats highly a skilled workforce as a resource, similar to any other resources a company may use to create its products and services. The "negative" impact in the impact category of scarce human capital relates to the opportunity cost of using highly skilled workforce. Companies using this resource must product sufficient positive impacts to make up for its use and end up net positive.
​

Health dimension

Positive impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
Physical diseases
Treating, preventing or contributing towards the treatment or prevention of physical diseases, injuries or fatalities. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company develops and produces vaccines.
Mental diseases
Treating, preventing or contributing towards the treatment and prevention of mental health problems. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company offers psychotherapy services for the treatment of depression.
Nutrition
Encouraging, enabling or providing healthy nutrition or contributing to food security. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company sells legumes, which have been proven to be a healthy source of protein and various other nutrients.
Relationships
Improving the quality of human relationships and connection. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company offers couple therapy services that help individuals establish and maintain healthy relationships.
Meaning & joy
Creating joyful experiences and/or creating or enhancing people's sense of meaning. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces chocolate, which makes some people feel enjoyment.

Negative impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
Physical diseases
Causing or contributing towards the development or occurrence of physical diseases, injuries or fatalities. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces cigarettes that have been proven to cause lung cancer.
Mental diseases
Causing or contributing towards the development of mental health problems. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces slot machines that cause addiction.
Nutrition
No negative impacts are considered for this impact category.
​
Relationships
Worsening the quality of human relationships and connection. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces alcohol that causes aggression and violence.
Meaning & joy
Decreasing experiences of joy and sense of meaning. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces fashion advertisements that enforce beauty standards causing anxiety and loss of self-esteem.

Note on physical diseases

Please note that the physical diseases category also includes injuries. This means that products such as motorcycles, which cause many road accidents and injuries, score negatively within the category.

Environment dimension

Positive impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
GHG emissions
Removing or contributing towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, or producing or enabling products and services that create fewer GHG emissions compared to their most common alternatives. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company creates carbon-capture technology, or produces wind power.
Non-GHG emissions
Removing or contributing towards the reduction of non-GHG emissions, such as land, water and air pollution, or producing or enabling products and services that create less non-GHG emissions compared to their most common alternatives. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces oil spill clean-up technology.
Scarce natural resources
Saving or increasing the amount of highly scarce natural resources, such as freshwater, and scarce minerals and metals. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces water desalination systems, which increase the amount of fresh drinking water available.
Biodiversity
Protecting or increasing biodiversity or animal welfare. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company breeds bees which help pollinate surrounding flora.
Waste
Treating waste and encouraging, enabling or practicing recycling or the re-use of materials. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company treats hazardous waste, or runs a platform on which customers can sell used goods.

Negative impacts

Impact category
Description
Example
GHG emissions
Creating greenhouse gas emissions. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company runs a factory that produces GHG emissions.
Non-GHG emissions
Creating non-GHG emissions, such as land, water and air pollution. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company produces fertilizers that contain ammonia which can seep into lakes, or diesel-powered passenger cars that create particulate emissions.
Scarce natural resources
The use of highly scarce natural resources, such as freshwater, or scarce minerals and metals. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company runs an industrial process that uses large amounts of fresh water, or produces solar panels with rare earth metal components.
Biodiversity
Destroying biodiversity or harming animal welfare. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company cuts down forests to produce palm oil, or utilises intensive animal farming to produce dairy products.
Waste
Creating all types of waste. This can occur either directly through the company’s core products and services, indirectly through its suppliers' operations or when its products and services are used by customers.
A company manufactures disposable plastic cups.

Coverage of EU taxonomy objectives

While going beyond the environmental objectives of the EU taxonomy, the Upright net impact framework fully covers the six environmental objectives of the EU taxonomy. They are captured as positive impacts within the following Upright impact categories:
  • Climate change mitigation: GHG emissions
  • Climate change adaptation: GHG emissions
  • The sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources: Biodiversity, Scarce natural resources
  • The transition to a circular economy: Waste, GHG emissions, Non-GHG emissions
  • Pollution prevention and control: Non-GHG emissions
  • The protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems: Biodiversity