At the recent SVUK conference, there was a lot of discussion about the relationship between the SDGs and social value and further some other approaches such as using the Five Capitals model and further the overall relationship with well being.

All are very worth of debate and add value to complex concepts that surround this area.  Social value has an Act of Parliament that requires certain public contracts to consider the impact of social value in procurement, further there is likely to be a British Standard guide to published later in the New Year .  The Government has committed the Country to the UNSDG targets and there are the wider sustainability targets set out re carbon reduction etc.

While there is well meaning in all these initiatives there is a danger, we confuse our audiences in particular businesses who are seeking to do the right thing but are looking for clarity and leadership.

The UNSDGs are a really important model, but are quite high level and cover a wide range of subjects within their 17 themes.  A useful concept here is materiality – how important is the particular area to your business and how much can you influence it?  This will depend on the nature, geography and priorities of your business.  Through a review you can then determine both areas of importance and priority that you can direct energy and resources to address.

Clearly initially resources need to be prioritised on that have clear regulatory targets associated with them, so allocation of resources for example to carbon reduction as part of a longer-term strategy are important.  So are investments in good practice that are both ethical and can support your external image.

By capturing through measurement and impact the additional social value that your business generates you can future your impact and differentiate your business more effectively as a value driven business.  In times where we need new solutions to pressing social economic and environmental issues this can help develop your businesses competitive edge