Step 5: Assess severity and value Learn how to assess the analysis you are writing or reading.

The Impaakt Team

10 min Read Time | August 10th 2021

Key Takeaways


In your analysis, you must first select 1 of the 3 impact categories that best defines the impact: Products, Processes or Philanthropy


Based on your IMP analysis, you must then evaluate the value of impact from strongly negative to strongly positive.


The severity is assessed in terms of scale, scope and irremediability of the impact, following an exponential rate.

The first step in evaluating impact should be to define if it is linked to the company's:

🏭  Processes --> HOW the company operates and runs its business ;

📦  Products --> WHAT the company sells (products or services); or

💌  Philanthropy -->CHARITABLE programs carried out by the company or its foundation.

Here are a few examples to help you select the right options.

🏭  Examples of Processes

  • Pollution or resource depletion related to the manufacturing or distributing the goods and services (e.g. oil spill, GHG emissions at plant level).
  • Social or environmental impacts on the companies' employees or suppliers or local communities where production takes place (e.g. diversity and inclusion, labour practices, etc.).
  • Job creation or payment of taxes.
  • Impacts related to corruption, fraud or ethical breaches.

You can also check this analysis, which is typically about Processes.

📦  Examples of Products

  • Essential needs being covered by the products & services offered by the company (e.g. access to water and nutrition, provision of healthcare or education, mobility, etc.).
  • Pollution or environmental impacts generated while using the company's products & services (e.g. driving a car).
  • Health impacts related to the consumption of the company's products and services (e.g. screen addiction, obesity, nutrition, etc.).

You can also check this analysis, which is typically about Products.

💌  Examples of Philanthropy

  • Distribution of the company's products and services for free, or at cost.
  • Provision of grants to charitable organizations.
  • Pro-bono work done by the company's staff.
  • Manufacturing plants used to produce emergency supplies for free or at cost outside the core activities of the company (e.g. textile company manufacturing masks during the pandemics).
  • Support to local communities or people in distress.

You can also check this analysis, which is typically about Philanthropy.

Assessing value and severity

Once you have selected a Category of impact to your analysis, you must attribute a value and severity to the impact described.

For this, you should base yourself on the Logic Model and IMP evaluation you undertook, and then think about two questions:

1. How positive or negative is this impact?

2. What is the severity of this impact?
👉 Before reading this article, we recommend that you first go through Step 1: Understand Impact.

1. How to rate the value

Is the impact that you described negative or very positive for the environment or society? And to what extent?

The scale goes from strongly negative to strongly positive.

How can a company impact the planet and/or society?

  • Through its processes and practices

Examples: industrial pollution or decent job creation

  • Through its products and services

Examples: health issues or increased mobility

  • Through its influence on society

Examples: disruptive technology or market transformation

Can the same issue have a very different impact on distinct groups of people?


  • Some people might benefit while others will not.
  • Some groups are more sensitive to impact than others (i.e., children, refugees, etc.)

2. How to rate the severity

Rate the severity of the company’s impact from very small to very large. Will the impact that you described have an influence on a large group of people? Will it last over generations? Take into consideration both the scale, scope, and irremediability of the impact when rating the severity of the impact.

You will have to rate the severity in three parts:

1/ Through the scale of the impact

  • Is the life of people concerned marginally affected, or are they deeply impacted by the issue?
  • Are the changes brought by the issue profoundly changing society or the planet?

2/ Through the scope of the impact

  • Is the impact local, national, or global?
  • How many people are concerned? Thousands? Millions? Billions?

As a rule of thumb, if it affects at least 1 million people it is considered significant. Although, please bear in mind that this is not always the case, as, at times, it could be considered unfair to expect an impact to touch that many lives. Thus, this is flexible.

3/ Through the irremediability of the impact

  • How long would the impact described last? Months? Years? Decades? Is it transitory or permanent?
  • How reversible is the impact described in the Impact Analysis? Can it be easily stopped/extended?

3. How to rate the quality

Impaakt is about grouping like-minded people, who create high-quality and critical content. There are robust processes in place to ensure quality, so as a writer, you should always aim for 5 stars! As a rater, your opinion matters!

Keep these criteria in mind when rating analyses, and writing your own:

1 = Very Poor

This analysis is none of the following criteria: insightful, creative, informative, clever.

2 = Poor

This analysis shows some of the following criteria: insightful, creative, informative, clever.

3 = Average

This analysis shows many of the following criteria: insightful, creative, informative, clever.

4 = Very Good

This analysis includes the majority of the following criteria: insightful, creative, informative, clever

5 = Outstanding

This analysis includes all and more of the following criteria: insightful, creative, informative, clever.

Why is it important to use equivalents and proxies?

Using equivalents and proxies helps readers to effectively gauge the severity and value of the impact analysis. Even more, analyses written within the same genre can more easily be compared.


I want to report British American Tobacco’s impact and human death, but this data is not reported by the company or an independent source. Don’t worry. As a topic like this is relevant to the core business of the company, we allow contributors to use approximations. In this specific example, analysts have previously used the number of deaths linked to tobacco consumption and the market share of the company in this sector to calculate the estimated number of deaths the company is responsible for.

Here are a few resources that could be useful for equivalencies:


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