Artificial Intelligence helps companies move towards a sustainable market
The Upright Project has created an AI-based quantification model that measures the real impact of companies on society, using scientific data, and which gives the public access to reliable information to allow them to make responsible purchasing decisions
Two years ago the Finnish systems engineer Annu Nieminen got tired of companies only seeing sustainability as a marketing matter. Convinced that the planet’s future will not just be about giving products little green labels, Nieminen created a quantification model aided by artificial intelligence to measure the real impact of companies using scientific data.
With The Upright Project, Nieminen wants to empower consumers, providing them with reliable information so that “they can assess the affect of companies on today’s environment”. Her tool allows them to know with greater precision and reliability who they are hiring and what is the impact of these companies’ goods and products on the environment, on society, on health and on knowledge creation.
The model promoted by Nieminen, who is company CEO, works thanks to three drivers: first a classification of products and services, subsequently an evaluation system for net impacts (positive and negative) and a database of more than 80 million scientific articles. The combination of these three aspects allows them to obtain more rigorous analyses and shows people the added value that each company brings (or fails to bring) to society.
At the same time, the initiative also wants to encourage the transparency of corporate social responsibility – to ensure that companies understand that what they perceive as an advertising strategy today, could be “the factor that differentiates them from their competition” tomorrow. Users are increasingly aware of climate change, of the importance of corporate ethics and of how their purchasing decisions will have a long-term impact on the planet, explains Nieminen.
For this reason, and as with consumers, Nieminen has no doubt that the “the rules of business are changing.” Together with her team of eight people, she aspires to transform the current paradigm: “It is not enough to know how well companies are measuring what we are doing today, we have to analyse the impact that we are already having and that we will have in the future”.
Thanks to her visionary approach and for encouraging companies to optimize their net impact on society, Annu Nieminen has become one of the winners of the Innovators under 35 Europe 2018 awards from MIT Technology Review in Spanish.
The Upright Project seeks to establish itself as a transparency and scientific supervision tool to ensure that companies’ sustainability and corporate responsibility plans move from marketing into action. In this way, citizens will become the real protagonists of what they consume.