Plan for standard measure of social return on investment
6 May 2008
Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, speaking at a groundbreaking social investment conference, has today announced a new programme of work to help standardise and improve how social return on investment (SROI) is measured. The Government is to carry out a project that will bring together the public sector, independent investors and social enterprises to agree a standard methodology for SROI measurement that places a financial value on social benefit.
The research aims to be an important driver of the rapidly developing social investment market and is designed to help third sector organisations, including charities and social enterprises, access more sustainable funding and finance. This is an exciting and developing field that may soon see the introduction of a social stock exchange and a social investment wholesaler.
It is estimated that ethical business in the UK is worth around £30bn. Increasingly, investors are looking at the impact of their investments on society and the environment. Consistent measurement of social return has the potential to enable investors to put a financial value on the social and environmental benefits derived from their investment. It could also help commissioners of public services take better account of the social value of a service when tendering for a contract.
Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector said:
“I am pleased to announce that the Office of the Third Sector will undertake fundamental development work on Social Return on Investment. Social enterprises and other third sector organisations play hugely important role in improving peoples' lives as well as the environment. Like any businesses they need access to finance. This will enable them to demonstrate their impact to investors and public services and help them attract funding.”
The Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office, in partnership with NESTA, is presenting Good Deals, the first national social investment conference, sponsored by the RBS Group and organised by Social Enterprise magazine. This reflects the UK Government's position at the forefront of social investment.
Notes to Editors
Social enterprises are defined as “businesses with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners”.
The Ethical Purchasing Index (EPI) valued the ethical sector in the UK in 2005 at £29.3 billion.
The Good Deals conference is presented by the Office of the Third Sector in partnership with NESTA. It is sponsored by the RBS Group and organised by Social Enterprise magazine. This is the first of its kind, reflecting the UK's position at the forefront of innovative policy development and thought leadership in the field of social investment. For further information please see: Good Deals! Social investment conference on May 6th.
A social investment bank was recommended by the Commission on Unclaimed Assets. If resources permit, and subject to clarifying and addressing any state aid implications, the Government would like to see a proportion of unclaimed assets in England used to support social investment in third sector organisations, by strengthening existing finance providers. Legislation is being introduced to enable this to happen. For further information please see:
http://www.unclaimedassets.org.uk/ [External website].
Independently of government, The Rockefeller Foundation is working closely with stakeholders within the social enterprise and financial sectors to explore the feasibility of a social stock exchange.
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Cabinet Office on social investment returns
Here's the release about Phil Hope's speech on Tuesday.