Norms | five Dimensions of ImpactA shared logic for managing impacts on people and the planet

What is impact?

Impact is a change in an outcome caused by an organization. An impact can be positive or negative, intended or unintended.

An outcome is the level of well-being experienced by a group of people, or the condition of the natural environment, as a result of an event or action.

Impact management is the process of identifying the positive and negative impacts that an enterprise has on people and the planet, and then reducing the negative and increasing the positive.

Five dimensions of impact

Impacts of enterprises on people and the planet can be understood across five dimensions.


What tells us what outcome the enterprise is contributing to, whether it is positive or negative, and how important the outcome is to stakeholders.


Who tells us which stakeholders are experiencing the outcome and how underserved they are in relation to the outcome.


How Much tells us how many stakeholders experienced the outcome, what degree of change they experienced, and how long they experienced the outcome.


Contribution tells us whether an enterprise’s and/or investor’s efforts resulted in outcomes that were likely better than what would have occurred otherwise.


Risk tells us the likelihood that impact will be different than expected.

Investor contribution

Investors consider whether their efforts resulted in outcomes that were likely better than what would have occurred otherwise, which is related to but distinct from the contribution of the enterprises in which they invest. Investor contribution becomes a ‘sixth dimension’ of impact for investors.

Data categories

The IMP consensus identified more granular data categories that enterprises and investors can use to understand their impacts on people and planet across the five dimensions.

Learn Impact Management Norms