While many organisations talk about their social value commitments and corporate social responsibility, they often underestimate its true potential. Social value initiatives are often seen as add-ons or nice-to-haves, such as ad-hoc volunteering or community donations, rather than being integrated into comprehensive programs linked to projects and broader initiatives.
"From inception to present day, firms have undoubtedly improved their social value efforts - viewing them less of an add on and more of a great way of engaging communities. What is taking longer to establish, is strategic thinking behind social value and the mutually beneficial ways it can support projects and lend itself to addressing broader societal challenges such as fighting climate change."
Chrissy highlights the need for strategic thinking behind social value and its role in addressing societal challenges, particularly in decarbonisation efforts. For instance, she mentions the shortage of skills in the industry and the requirement for new skills to achieve decarbonisation and sustainability goals. She emphasises that companies should leverage information like this to go beyond contractual social value requirements and instead seek mutually beneficial opportunities. By promoting roles, offering training and apprenticeships, and engaging with communities, it is possible to address the skills crisis whilst also contributing to decarbonisation efforts.
Chrissy also emphasises the private sector’s role in influencing and shaping communities by considering social value as an integral part of projects and operations, working in partnership with the public sector and local communities.
“The private sector has the power to influence and shape the communities in which we operate through who we hire, where we invest and how we engage… we can work together in partnership with the public sector and local communities in addressing these broader societal challenges.”
Positioning social value as a core element of project planning is key to driving the best results: “It will enhance your business, support to enhance communities and can play a pivotal part in the net zero agenda.”
You can read the full article on the Business Green website.