A really interesting article from Building magazine examining how the real estate industry can deliver the S in ESG by adding social value across the lifecycle of developments, from design and construction through to their in-use occupation.
What do we mean by "social value" though? The Social Value Portal describes it as "... organisations [...] considering their activities holistically, taking account of the wider economic, social and environmental effects of their actions. Social Value serves as an umbrella term for these broader effects, and organisations which make a conscious effort to ensure that these effects are positive can be seen as adding social value by contributing to the long-term wellbeing and resilience of individuals, communities and society in general."
So examples might include allowing meanwhile use of sites for community or cultural purposes, local employment and local supply chain spend, the provision of increased training opportunities, focus on staff wellbeing and donations to, or engagement with, local community projects. Interestingly, the data quoted in the article indicates that larger projects, measured by contract size, do not necessarily deliver the generation of a higher percentage of social value than smaller projects. But with the average additional value measured at around 25% of total contract value, it must be worth taking every opportunity to embed the delivery of social value into the built environment.
"Research by the British Council for Offices and Legal & General, in their publication Measuring Social Value in Offices, and work by the UK Green Building Council indicate that the potential contribution that a building can make to society is significantly higher where there is in place a comprehensive social value strategy covering every stage of its lifecycle. For a typical development, the social value delivered over 20 years could be up to four times the upfront construction costs."