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  • Becca Harvey

A Busy Year Around the Globe

Social Value Ireland and its members are part of a growing international community. As one of the 27 networks affiliated to Social Value International (SVI), Social Value Ireland is uniquely placed to connect its members to the forefront of social value thinking, which, at the latest Social Value Matters conference, was defined as “an idea whose time has come”. In this blog, SVI’s Head of Community and Engagement shares some key 2022 developments and discusses the important role that networks and members have in driving these forward.

A growing international community In 2022, the SVI community grew to over 3,000 members in more than 60 countries. As a membership body, SVI supports and represents its members to embed core principles for social value measurement and analysis, refine and share practice, and build a powerful movement of like-minded people and organisations. SVI also welcomed two new networks this year: Social Value Thailand and Social Value Malaysia. Like Social Value Ireland, these networks are building and supporting a growing community of members, who are all working towards a shared vision of a world where decision-making, ways of working and resource allocation are based on the principles of accounting for value, which leads to greater equality, increased wellbeing and reduced environmental degradation.

The Professional Pathway Supporting members to achieve their professional goals is a key part of SVI’s mission and the reason why the internationally recognised Professional Pathway was developed. This is a three-tiered pathway that supports individual practitioners who are developing their skills, knowledge and practice in social value/impact management. An important milestone was reached this year, with more than 200 individuals worldwide now with formal accreditation status, including five people in Ireland. Members from Ireland can apply to SVI directly to become a Level 1, 2 or 3 Practitioner – and the Accredited Practitioner training delivered through Social Value Ireland is helpful element of this process.

Introducing Principle 8 Earlier this year, SVI introduced a brand-new Principle, namely “Be Responsive”. There is an imperative for organisations to respond to impact measurement/social value accounting with action. The newly published Standard for applying Principle 8: Be Responsive helps users to develop a structured approach that can guide decision-making at strategic, tactical and operational levels. At its launch, SVI’s CEO Ben Carpenter, pointed out that whilst much of the Standard is making implicit practices more explicit, the co-creation process that led to the Standard coming into being also provided an excellent opportunity to incorporate new thinking around impact thresholds, impact targets and impact risks. In this way, the discipline of impact measurement continues to evolve into impact management.

Emphasis on optimising wellbeing

In March, SVI published a document entitled The Purpose of the Principles of Social Value and SVI Standards. This explains how the Principles and SVI Standards are designed to be a decision-making framework for optimising impacts on wellbeing for all materially affected stakeholders. This explicit focus on wellbeing is an important step for the international movement. Next year SVI will be hosting many online discussions on the meaning of wellbeing and how to measure it, which Social Value Ireland members are invited and encouraged to participate in.

Working in partnership Partnership and collaboration are central to SVI’s mission achievement. SVI has entered into a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme to support the global roll-out and adoption of the SDG Impact Standards. SVI is co-delivering train-the-trainer courses and co-managing the accreditation and licensing of these individuals. Through our ongoing collaboration with The Capitals Coalition, SVI has also supported the formation of the Value Accounting Network and the Value Commission.

Important global updates Internationally, there have also been several other developments that have influenced the work of SVI and its members. At COP26, the IRFS created the International Sustainability Standards Board. This was a landmark moment and SVI issued a response on foot of this announcement. As the Board became established, SVI and The Capitals Coalition led on a collective response to important draft documents, that were also contributed to by Social Value Ireland members. At the G7 Level, the Impact Taskforce report Financing a better world requires impact transparency, integrity and harmonisation urgently called for mandatory accounting for impact. It was noted in this report that SVI has a critical role to play in providing guidance on the most appropriate way to engage stakeholders. At European level, the EU progressed with mandatory corporate sustainability reporting disclosures. In June, a provisional political agreement was reached on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive meaning that large companies are required to report on issues such as environmental rights, social rights, human rights and governance factors.

With so much activity and progress, it is more important than ever that the social value community collaborates and shares knowledge, ideas and challenges so that it can collectively stay abreast of these developments. Social Value Ireland plays a key role in this important work, and enables members from across Ireland to connect with and shape the social value movement.

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