April 22nd is Earth Day. Earth Day highlights the importance of clean air, water and land, and ultimately the protection of our planet. As we know, air pollution and climate change have numerous links to health problems, but climate change will also cause significant social problems.
The UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) states that there could be between 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050. This is people fleeing their countries away from environmental devastation.
As organisations are now increasingly being held accountable for the impact they have on their community and overall society, we begin to see more businesses accounting for the effects they have on the environment.
For example, within the construction sector, we are seeing more business tackling issues around reducing waste and using sustainable materials. In turn, more tenders are placing expectations on suppliers to state how they will meet environmental and sustainability goals. This increasing trend of sustainability is a promising step in the right direction.
It is true that individual efforts are not as impactful as the effect massive corporations can have on climate change, but, we can still incorporate small changes to our day to day lives that make a subtle difference:
How can we measure this?
When it comes to measurement, there are a number of ways we could measure the changes involved in the above examples. For example, we can measure money saved through renewable energy installations or we could measure CO2 reduced through choosing to walk instead of drive. There exists a variety of different frameworks you can use to go into greater detail as well depending on what your stakeholders want to know. We’ve compiled a list of them here.
What this means for social value
Social value is about more than just measuring wellbeing or the social return on investment of a project. It’s about looking at how organisations can best utilise their resources to deliver real changes within communities that cover Environmental, Social and Governance factors instead of just profits.
When organisations place a focus on the environment, we begin to see positive changes in society. There is no financial value or proxy that is worthy of damage to the planet we live on and that is why we advocate for a shift in reporting without relying solely on monetary values.
For any business looking at making a difference, taking even the smallest of steps toward considering social and environmental impacts this Earth Day brings us closer to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) set out by the United Nations to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030.