Golden Rule #2: Impact ≠ Intentions or future goals

The Impaakt Team

7 min Read Time | August 10th 2021

Key Takeaways


The second golden rule aims to differentiate between impact and intentions when covering a particular topic.


Analyse the tangible impact, as opposed to intentions, commitments, promises, or future goals.


The analysis must be about the output or the tangible impact of the company.

“The second golden rule aims to differentiate between impact and intentions when covering a particular topic.”

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What’s the problem?

  • Companies often have good intentions, such as going climate neutral, pledging donations, and committing to shift to renewable energy. However, even though these are positive goals, the company’s impact has not changed yet.

  • Impaakt is about measuring the current impact companies have on society and the environment, as many intentions, commitments, promises or future goals can fall through. This also allows Impaakt to overcome the flaws and limitations associated with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Environment Social Governance (ESG), greenwashing, etc.

  • Be wary of positive intentions with negative impacts.

What you must do

  • Ensure that your analysis is about the output or the tangible impact of the company you are analysing, as opposed to intentions, commitments, promises, or future goals. Learn more about this difference in Step 1: Understand Impact.

  • Assessing a company often takes form through quantitative data such as facts and figures.


  • Intentions: The company announced the discovery of a new oil and gas field, which will be explored. The exploration of these fields is part of their ambitious project, including 50 technical fleets, constructing a natural gas liquefaction plant, and revitalising their gas field.

  • Promises/Commitments: Energy transition has been the company’s main focus. They committed to raising more than €120 billion by 2030 to put towards their initiatives and green projects, requiring €100 billion for green bonds and €20 billion for renewable energy.

  • Future goals: Through the partnership with an NGO, the company agreed to develop processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and up the production of renewable energy. This development is an indicator of the zero net emissions goal for 2050.

  • Positive intentions with a negative impact: A company was giving away a pair of shoes to a community in need for every pair bought. This was a major success and a lot of people bought these shoes. Here the intention was very good, the input also, and the output as well since a lot of people bought the shoes, but the distribution of the shoes was badly managed and the additional pair of shoes did not end up correctly to communities in need so the actual outcomes and impact of the initiative were negative.

All these examples do not qualify as impact, as opposed to the following:

  • Output: A company has produced 53 million tonnes of products in 2019.

  • Outcome: The wastage for disposal stood at 0.3 kg per tonne of the product, which accounts for 15,900,000 kg of wastage.

  • Impact: This waste emits GHG emissions of 30 million tonnes of CO2e. This contributes to perpetuating this systemic issue. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest polluter.


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