Four Examples of Social Value

Posted on the 10th January 2019

What is Social Value?

First of all, it is important to clarify what ‘Social Value’ is. ‘Social Value’ is an all-encompassing term to describe the process of doing and creating good, and can commonly be referred to as ‘Social Impact’ and ‘Social Responsibility.

Our Social Value definition considers four primary types of Social Value including community, sustainability, well-being, and diversity. However, deciding what to prioritise is up to the organisation, as their sector may have specific issues that need addressing. 

This article outlines the four pillars of our definition to give you some ideas when looking to have a Social Impact. Also, check out these real-world examples of Social Value –  by seeing our case studies page. 

Community Investment

By definition, to be socially valuable an organisation needs to engage in activities that transform the social space. This can be achieved by directly engaging within society, as exemplified by Places for People and the Golden Centre of Opportunities project, or indirectly by working in partnership with charities like Regenda’s partnership with mental health charity ‘Chasing the Stigma.

Community-facing projects are arguably the easiest to commit to given the flexibility of the types of projects that can be undertaken. These activities can range from donating food boxes to charities such as Mustard Tree, or more long-term achievements as highlighted below.

Sustainability/ Abundance

You couldn’t have got this far in your social value journey without hearing about sustainability.

When a business considers their Social Value, understanding their influence on the environment is key. This is sustainable thinking’. 

The idea of sustainability continues to evolve. For example, Afdhel Aziz is an innovative writer who promotes the concept of abundance. Abundance is a way of thinking about cleaner, smarter technologies to mitigate the risk of climate change to create a fairer society. This is a point of a view that champions value-driven technology. 


It is estimated that 1 in 6 individuals experience some kind of common mental health problem every week.

There is currently no consensus on a well-being definition, but one that we feel is most applicable is coined by the What Works Well Centre for Wellbeing:

“We define wellbeing as having 10 broad dimensions which have been shown to matter most to people in the UK as identified through a national debate. The dimensions are: the natural environment, personal well-being, our relationships, health, what we do, where we live, personal finance, the economy, education and skills and governance.”

As articulated in the definition, well-being transcends mental health, and applies to all aspects of human life including an individual’s education, skills and personal finance.

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion is something that we think and talk about heavily at Impact Reporting. We had Social Value Strategist Ian Jukes write a thought-provoking piece on Diversity and Discrimination: How Not To Be Part of the Problem, alongside this article on what to think about when you think about CSR.

We anticipate that the topic of diversity will continue to dominate the social value space, and rightly so, given its profound impact on the success of businesses, and in challenging some of the major inequalities that plague our society. 

About the author:

Lee Smorthit

Marketing and Social Value Executive

Following the completion of his MSc in Digital Marketing Communications, Lee joined the Impact team in 2018 to set a marketing direction for the company, and to apply his research capabilities to further develop the Impact tool, ensuring that our software as a service (SaaS) is client-friendly and accessible.

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