Stepping up your Social Value game!

Social Value is becoming increasingly important in responses to bids and tenders, but it’s by far more than just a tick in the box exercise! Contracts are being won on a daily basis in favour of a company or supplier that can make tangible commitments towards promoting positive Social Value in the community, local economic growth and reducing environmental impact.

But how can you integrate this within your current business strategy for real, embedding it not just in your company’s culture, but in its very core? Let’s learn more about Social Value, what this means and why it’s more important than ever.

What is Social Value?

In a landscape where ethics and social responsibility are a pressing concern for consumers, social value refers to the selfless acts you’re taking as a business to improve real lives, communities, and combat urgent environmental issues.

From engaging with local charities and community projects to facing inward to review your processes and practices to reduce your business’ carbon footprint, all the way through to tackling BIG ISSUES like unemployment, homelessness, crime and poverty, social value manifests in a multitude of different ways. Providing a serious amount of scope to get involved, and a HUGE opportunity to be creative and put your own spin on changing the social, economic, environmental and general wellbeing of a local area for the better.

77% of consumers are more likely to use companies committed to making the world a better place. While 73% of funders state efforts to improve the environment and society play into their investment decision-making.

Why Social Value is essential for Funding

Social Value became a key part of the tendering process when the Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force in 2012. This clearly outlined how businesses had to engage with, and include Social Value commitments in their tender documents and contract proposals in order to secure funding.

Since then, a new social value model was launched, ramping up the emphasis on social value and its mandatory position in tenders and PQQs. These new measures came into effect on the 1st of January 2021 with the aim of;

  • Creating new jobs and promoting skills;
  • Encouraging economic growth;
  • Supporting COVID-19 recovery;
  • Tackling climate change, and;
  • Levelling up the UK.

The vast majority of investors throughout the globe have a single goal: to earn the highest financial return. However, an increasing number of socially-motivated funders have a different agenda besides maximising profits. Socially motivated funders who seek value alignment would prefer to own stocks only in companies that act in accordance with their moral or Social Values. Independent of having any effect on the company’s behaviour, these funders may wish to affirmatively express their identities by owning stock in what they deem to be a good company.

In procurement terms, the NEED for Social Value marks a considerable shift away from awarding funding contracts based on the lowest cost. Whereas evaluation criteria in the past may have been weighed 60% price and 40% quality, today we frequently see weightings of up to 20% for Social Value alone, so it’s a fundamental component of any successful bid.

Don’t be a Green-washer!

With the increase for Social Value practices, comes the intent to make it legit! Greenwashing, also known as the “green sheen”, is a growing form of marketing spin that we’re faced with today where companies claim that they operate ethically without actually acting on this.

Whilst some greenwashing is unintentional and stems from a lack of knowledge about what sustainability truly is, the common denominator among all greenwashing is that it is not only misleading, but it sucks up significant airtime that could be better spent in the community.

At Geon, we are community champions! Here to celebrate the efforts made ‘every day’, but not willing to work with ‘everyone’. We seek to collaborate with likeminded employers who share our passion for making a real difference – and that starts with their Social Value strategy.

Social Value may be key for funding bids, but it shouldn’t stop there. As a champion for our local communities, we encourage any business reading this to consider your Social Value efforts – is it REALLY adding value? Is it part of your company’s day to day? If the answers are no, then don’t be afraid to make a change today and switch it up! We have a range of community initiatives about to drop that your business can get involved with – taking you from quick switch up to all-out GLOW UP!

Transforming your business’s attitude to Social Value won’t be an over-night process. It’s OK to start small and work your way to scaling up! The importance is on doing it with integrity and respect for the people and the communities you serve. If that’s not the great achievement of all, then we don’t really know what is!

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