What are the net impacts of companies and how can they be measured?
Net impacts refer to the sum of the negative and positive impacts caused by a company’s operations. Measuring impacts is extremely challenging. The key element is to clearly define which questions we’re trying to answer. For example, we can use data to look for imperfect values regarding the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that company X causes or how much it pays taxes or creates new knowledge. At Upright, we rely on scientific knowledge to answer these questions. We standardise the answers obtained so that we can compare them with each other and understand the total impacts.
How did you calculate Fingrid’s net impact and what was the result?
We tried to determine the most significant resources that Fingrid uses and what it achieves with them. We looked for answers to these questions: How important is the main grid? What would happen if it didn’t exist? How much environmental and human capital resources does its construction and maintenance use? We assessed the total impacts on the basis of Upright’s model and Fingrid’s own data.
Fingrid’s biggest positive impact comes from the main grid’s central role in distributing energy to our society, thus enabling many core activities. Implementation of an energy-efficient main grid also involves a lot of potential for information sharing, which appears as a positive element in the results. Fingrid also stands out positively when main grids are compared internationally. On the other hand, greenhouse gas emissions and harm resulting from land use have negative impacts. According to the calculation, Fingrid’s overall impacts are clearly positive.
Are energy industry operators aware of their net impacts?
A surprising number of them are! Impact issues are no longer just a marginal “nice to know” function, and they have moved closer to the management group and upper management level. Nearly every internationally competitive company – also in the energy industry – has recognised that it’s a good idea to be at least somewhat aware of its impacts. Once the impacts are known, they can be taken into account during risk management and when outlining opportunities.