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  • 5 minutes
  • 10/07/2020

What is the value of social value to corporates?

Learn how businesses can benefit from a focus on improving social value

The pressure is also on business leaders to state social purpose and prove it. The UN Sustainable Development Goals provided added incentive to tell the world what you are fixing in the world to support humankind. The Edelman Research Barometer reports that 71 percent of employees believe it’s critically important for “my CEO” to respond to challenging times. More than three-quarters (76 percent) of the general population concur—they say they want CEOs to take the lead on change instead of waiting for government to impose it.

Most recently COVID has meant that corporates have deployed resources in different ways, whether people, products, services or finance to serve society. This will need justifying to those who provide the finance your business at some point. Economic values will be lower and social value will be one of the most important proof points and numbers for any business in the coming months. How will this be quantified? So as a corporate how do you prove you are positively impacting real peoples lives as a business. Financial results and simple economics simply does not do the job anymore.


Money is simply energy for a business

If money is simply the source of energy and for permission to do the good stuff they do, then moving to a more equal financial system that measures economic environmental and social value in a common currency has to be the way forward. At its heart, the measurement of social value looks to quantify the burden shift between individuals, government and the private sector in society for any given business decision. In a world where business is being held to account on delivering a social purpose, providing this purpose requires a new approach. Any product or service or investment provided by a company has a human being eventually at the end of the chain of action. Applying a social value approach to these situations provides a way of working out the net impact upon their lives.


Leading companies are “doing”

So how have leading companies deployed social value as part of their decision-making. Here are some examples from some of the clients at the Social Value Portal.

For service businesses – Social value can help intangible service based businesses to become visible and tangible.

Quantifying how the businesses customers life is better because it has alleviated a responsibility that the customer that ordinarily they would have to shoulder or even the state provides as a financial safety net. Our work with lifetime mortgage providers has shown the benefits of keeping customers in their homes and communities for longer has a great deal of social and economic value.

For Asset Managers – it’s getting harder to deliver economic returns. So why not add social returns to what you report back to your investors?

If you are in the business of managing assets such as shopping centres, social value can help you to serve the customer and community better around the shopping centre which ultimately encourages them to shop more at your shopping centre and makes void rates on your rents lower.

Showing the end investor the total value of an asset, annual economic return and annual social return is a reality now on fund fact sheets. We can now help clients to report their impact in line with their selected UNSDG impact areas.

Placemakingbusinesses impact places whether it’s through employment or through physical development. Social Value creates a common language between local communities and stakeholders to work with your business. Some businesses will invest in new communities, some will withdraw from communities. Understanding the transfer of social value will be essential to decision making and action taken in both these situations.

If you are a housing developer you will already have to factor in social value as part of the planning and tendering process.  Clients are now moving way beyond that through a very visible Social Value Charter between your business and the community to commit long term to placemaking and to move away from a short term approach to communities.

And if you are planning to move your business from one part of a region to another or one country, social value methodologies enable you to quantify the impact on the community that you are leaving behind or the impact you have on a new place of operation. This enables sensible and realistic conversations with impacted communities and local authorities.

Whatever your business is up to Social Value helps make better decisions.

The Panacea for Social Value

Measuring Social value as part of decision-making in a modern company. It provides a common currency, a common language and enhances the economic impact of a business. But what’s next? Imagine the annual company results meeting to its owners. Your CEO and team stands up and delivers the economic impact, financial return and their social impact all in one simple results statement for the previous year of trading. The future is close and would certainly impact the trust in business expected from society and employees of businesses. To get there, social value needs embedding into the products, services and investments made by the business bottom up. You need to know your numbers.

So why not start your social value journey with the Social Value Portal today?

Graham Precey – Advisory Board Member, The Social Value Portal