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Social Value, Operational Performance, Community and Social Investment

For various reasons, Canada’s social value movement has developed apart from the community investment movement. Companies may engage in one or both, but rarely do they connect the two.  

However, as corporate disclosure and reporting on sustainability, ESG and social performance evolves, companies are discovering the need for greater integration of social value concepts and tools across their wider operations.  This is a great opportunity for community investment professionals as the skills to understand, strategize and report on impact become more in demand and essential. Increasing emphasis on valuing impact in corporate disclosures is elevating the role of social impact leaders — intertwining social value tools, concepts and skills, and the community investment profession, elevating the profession. 

Kevin Robbie of Think Impact in Australia recently explored this evolving landscape in his article Social Value: Moving Forward. He highlights how Australian companies are now examining social value and impact across various facets of their operations, including their suppliers, employees, customers, and the broader community. Robbie identifies critical areas of impact assessment and valuation including well-being, diversity, equity & inclusion, human rights, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and community needs. 

This comprehensive approach means that initiatives related to community investment, volunteering, charitable giving, and practices like social procurement can be recognized for their potential to generate value for the volunteer, the giver, for the community and for the company that is enabling this giving to occur. While only one part of a corporation’s social footprint, approach to value impact enables these activities to be acknowledged for their integral role in creating social value alongside operational activities. 

As companies strive to integrate social value into their reporting frameworks, the skills needed to anticipate, assess, maximize, and value impact are becoming crucial. These competencies, once predominantly found within the nonprofit sector, are now increasingly sought after by businesses globally. The momentum generated by community investment activities, which have long created substantial societal value, presents an opportunity to highlight and expand this value within corporate strategies. 

Social impact leaders within the community investment realm will play a pivotal role in this transition. Their expertise in identifying and measuring social value will be essential as businesses navigate the complexities of modern corporate responsibility. This evolution underscores the necessity for companies to invest in developing these social value, impact management and impact reporting skills within their teams. 

The intertwining of social value and community investment represents an exciting development in the corporate world. By recognizing and valuing the impact of community-focused initiatives, companies can not only enhance their societal contributions but also align more closely with stakeholder expectations and regulatory requirements. 

As the field continues to evolve, staying informed and engaged with these developments will be crucial for businesses aiming to lead in social responsibility and impact.  

More information about social value and social value skill development, visit the Social Value Canada website and reach out to chat with Stephanie Robertson directly.