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What is Social Value?

Earlier this month, we ran an event, in collaboration with Danielle Haskings, Senior Social Value Manager at Willmott Dixon, that explored what social value is and the importance of implementing social value in your business or organisation.

We are running a series of blogs on implementing social value in your organisation, but first, we think it's important to get a grasp on answering the question of what social value actually is.

What constitutes social value depends on the best interests or needs of a group of people.

It can look very different in different contexts. That is why there are numerous definitions of social value for different scenarios.

What outcomes improve quality of life, and how to deliver them, will look very different depending on the context. The most important contextual factor is who will be affected and what their needs are. Often, deciding who those people are is done by drawing a line around a particular “relevant area” or location. Social value is therefore holistic in scope but focused on people, highly dependent on context and inherently local to a particular area.

Environmental, Economic and Social Wellbeing

Exactly which environmental, economic and social outcomes create social value will depend on the best interests of the people most impacted by the project. Those outcomes must be defined for each project.

However, it is important to note that social value is subjective.

Identifying Stakeholders

Local Community - The local community should be defined as the people who are most impacted by a building, infrastructure asset or place. In most instances this will be the people who most frequently interact with that building or place.

Supply Chain - The supply chain stakeholders include the people working in the supply chains associated with a building or place and the communities impacted by the operations of those supply chains.

Town/City/Global - The agreed outcomes should also reflect the best interests of wider stakeholder groups. These wider groups include the town, city or wider area stakeholders and global society as a whole.

Think about our own mindset and cultures – listen to stakeholders and be willing to change our mindset to suit them.

The next blog post will cover the importance of social value and why it should be part of your business model.


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