As the world becomes more aware of the need for sustainability, we are hearing more about social value, social impact, and Just Transition. Whichever the angle, this is a topic and initiative which is expanding as companies act to have a positive impact in their communities.

What is social value?

It’s more than just donating to a charity. Or litter picking. Social value is about setting the right initiatives with a well thought out and considered focus, that expresses the values of the organisation for positive benefit to its focus area, local communities, and wider society. Beyond reducing consumption, these include a healthy environment and clean air as well as justice, potential for renewal, equality, and freedoms and security.

Why is social value important to business?

While there is legislation requiring social value considerations in some contracts, some companies act on these for their positive impact on communities and people, on the planet and environment. These bring other benefits to a company, including reduced risk, improved recruitment results, and even easier moves into new markets has been reported. A stronger brand and better engagement with customers also accompany social impact moves. One study reports 87% of customers are more likely to favour a company that is seen to support an issue that they care about.

87% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a company that advocates for an issue they care about.”

A study conducted by Cone Communications

Challenges of social value & just transition

Social value and Just Transition concerns present a number of challenges:

  • Defining and identifying what your entity wants and can do: this may involve articulating your values,  assessing your stakeholders and business areas, and looking at long-term goals.
  • Planning programmes that address these: this includes defining the scope, resourcing the right skills, getting the community communications right, and funding the costs/ benefits.
  • Measurement: how do you measure something that was considered an intangible? While not specifically based on financial definitions, social impact and Just Transition can now be monitored with a few different techniques and criteria, allowing progress to be measured, guided, and celebrated. 
  • Communicating your progress: giving recognition where it is due and taking your position as a leader in your arena are responsible actions for encouraging social value and its positive benefits to spread.

Need some guidance?

Acclaro has experience across industries and across these topics. We can guide you in social value strategy, measuring, verification, and stakeholder engagement.

A guide to social value strategy

There’s no doubt about it: the general public want businesses to prove that they value people, the society in which they operate, and the planet as much as profit. Our comprehensive guide to social value covers:

  • The common questions and challenges
  • What is social value?
  • What opportunities does social value present?
  • How can my organisation deliver social value with a clear social value strategy?
  • How should we measure social value?
  • The Acclaro Approach

A guide to: Implementing a Successful Social Value Strategy