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Social Value International Announce New Principle 8: Be Responsive

In a world facing serious challenges of inequality, climate change and wellbeing, organisations have a responsibility to act upon, and be responsive to, these challenges by purposefully making decisions that optimise the positive impact their activities have. Making decisions based on optimising the social value or impact that an organization can make increases an organisation’s accountability and its potential to create as much social value as possible. 

That is why we are excited that Social Value International have announced the launch of the latest Principle 8: Be Responsive. This eighth Principle of Social Value is a management principle and represents the need for organisations to respond to impact measurement or ‘Social Value accounts’ with actions. 

Be Responsive: Optimise the impacts on wellbeing of all materially affected stakeholders through decision making that is timely and supported by appropriate accounting and reporting. 

The use of this standard will help organisations and practitioners use social value or impact data to make decisions in a way that will help achieve impact goals, contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world, and optimise impacts on wellbeing for all materially affected stakeholder groups.  This standard will also help organizations to create a structured ‘impact management approach’ that can guide decision making at strategic, tactical and operational levels to optimise impacts on wellbeing for all materially affected stakeholder groups. 

By adopting this approach organizations will be able to implement more of the activities that are designed to maximise positive changes in wellbeing, and also identify and eliminate activities that result in negative changes in wellbeing as fast as possible. 

Message from Ben Carpenter, CEO of Social Value International 

The publication of this document marks an important milestone for Social Value International (SVI) as it officially introduces “Be Responsive” as the eighth Principle of Social Value. The essence of this Principle is to take action; to make decisions about social value in response to data and measurement.  

The decision to add this new Principle was not taken lightly, it involved many months of discussions between the SVI board, Methodology Sub-Committee, and wider consultation with the SVI membership. Ultimately, it was agreed that this new Principle is necessary to accelerate progress towards our vision: “A world where decision making, ways of working and resource allocation are based on the principles of accounting for value leading to increased equality and well-being and reduced environmental degradation.”  

Furthermore, Principle 8: Be Responsive can be seen as a natural addition to the Principles in light of the recently published (March 2022) document titled The Purpose of the Principles of Social Value and SVI Standards. This document states how the Principles and SVI Standards are designed to be a decision-making framework for optimising impacts on wellbeing for all materially affected stakeholders.  

The Standard for Principle 8: Be Responsive explicitly adds ‘decision making’ and ‘impact management’ to SVI’s well-established framework for ‘accounting for value’. Whilst much of this Standard is making implicit practices more explicit, it is worth acknowledging that, through the co-creation process, it has provided an excellent opportunity to incorporate some new thinking around setting impact thresholds, targets and exploring impact risks. These concepts have all risen up the agenda as the discipline of impact measurement continues to evolve into impact management.  

This Standard also provides an opportunity to build on and align with other important developments within our field such as the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Impact Practice Standards, the British Standards Institute 8950: Understanding and Enhancing Social Value Guide, International Standards Organisation 32210: Sustainable Finance: principles and guidance, the Impact Management Project’s work on Risk (led by SVI) the Social, Human and Natural Capital Protocols and many other management approaches to sustainability. 

Posted 14th July 2022

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