(REPORT) Moving Beyond Environment…how can business improve its social footprint?

social-value-businessHaving tackled their environmental footprint, more and more businesses are looking at how they can improve their social footprint. Progressive business are pursuing innovative approaches to enhance societal well-being. And there’s no time like the present given the scale of the social challenges ahead, challenges that will also have a bottom-line impact – rising income inequality, high unemployment, aging populations, food poverty and obesity. (The juxtaposition of food poverty and obesity is no mistake but that’s another story.)

These companies are pursuing initiatives that create business value while generating social value. However, they lack a roadmap to guide them on their journey. This was the inspiration for a new report: “Social Value Business Guide”.

It builds upon my “CSR as a Poverty Reduction Strategy” checklist tool by focusing on four social sustainability opportunities that are likely to have the most impact for a company’s first steps.

The guide provides an overview of the social context for business and describes opportunities to create social value through community hiring, living wages, and social buying. It introduces a step-wise framework to help businesses become social innovators. It describes how they can re-engineer their business models by using the emerging tools of social innovation: design thinking, rapid prototyping, innovation labs, open innovation platforms and big data.

Please check out the guide and share your thoughts on how businesses can raise their social sustainability game.
Coro Strandberg is principal of Strandberg Consulting, a firm that helps companies and industry associations integrate sustainability into business models and strategy.