Hugo Narrillos Roux

RED SROI ESPAÑA – The SROI Network, Spain

 

Red SROI España is a very young organisation. We were awarded the go-ahead by the State just three months ago, but we have already run one seminar on SROI, with more in the pipeline. Our members are very independently active on promoting the measurement of social value. Our first aim is to spread this compelling and important idea.

I can think of a couple of reasons why organisations are not taking enough account of social value:

a) Investors are happy with the information given to them by financial accounting, and don’t want to spend their time on measurement methods that do not give an “exact” figure. I think this is especially true in countries such as Spain where our academic education tends to be focused too much on accuracy and precision.

b) At a time when inequality is commonplace, an organisation may prefer to remain in its comfort zone and do nothing, rather than measuring social issues that might unearth their own social “mistakes”.

What could the solution be? One of the most useful instruments is regulation, and the UK´s Social Value Act is a good example: every company that wants to deliver a public service, in addition to giving detail of its price and quality of service, has to explain its social impact. We can also take a comparison with environmental issues; every single company in the world now thinks in environmental terms, and there are regulations in every country. Why don’t we have the same level of governance for social value? It could be started at a supranational level (think European law), and then implemented in each separate country. This regulation would not just be for the so-called “social action” or on purely social matters, but on the companies’ main activities as well.

Another interesting point is the choice of methodology that companies use to measure social value. In Spain, companies looking to measure their social impact find a whole range of methods (you are probably aware TRASI has a catalog of some 200 …). As Jed Emerson says, we are all working in our own silos – CSR specialists, SROI, IRIS, GIIRS, LBG, Social Accounting, B Lab… and each one is trying to justify their activities. Unavoidably, people outside our world keep asking: which one is the best? And the obvious answer is that it depends on two things: what level of detail you require, and who you are writing your social impact report for.

At Red SROI España we think SROI is a very comprehensive framework that allows us to explain how social value is created. And we hope to be able to demonstrate to Spanish entrepreneurs the importance to society, and our collective future, of doing this.

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