What

The Protocol concludes with a call to companies and stakeholders to help mainstream social capital measurement and valuation both within their organizations and in the broader business community, by acting as advocates and continuing to share lessons, methods, and data to advance this important practice. 

Why

Appropriate interpretation and communication of results will ensure that the effort of measurement and valuation drives tangible, meaningful improvements in the way social capital is managed. Embedding the assessment into companies’ processes and systems will promote more integrated thinking, thereby aligning the consideration of social, environmental and financial issues to drive better decision-making and improve social capital performance management. Through the process of applying the Protocol it is certain that each company will encounter and overcome challenges related to classifying definitions, identifying fit-for-purpose indicators and metrics, and sourcing appropriate data. Sharing both challenges encountered and solutions found will help to advance, further standardize and build the credibility of the field of social capital measurement and valuation for business. 

How

Step 10. Apply results to key business decisions

Step 10 puts the results of social capital measurement and valuation into the context of business decision-making. 

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Step 11. Integrate social capital into business processes

In Step 11, companies should debrief on the strengths and weaknesses of their current approach. With this, companies can identify opportunities for improvement and consider how they can integrate the process and results of measurement and valuation within the organization.  

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Step 12. Contribute to mainstreaming

In this final step of the Protocol, companies should revisit the outputs of Stage 1 to confirm the next priority area they will tackle to further expand and mainstream the measurement and valuation of social capital across the organization.

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Outputs

At the end of Stage 4, companies should have:

  • Communicated the results to the target internal and external audiences; 
  • Used the results to inform the business decisions as set out in the objectives;
  • Clearly outlined the assumptions and limitations of the assessment and have an understanding of the sensitivity of the results to key assumptions;
  • Identified opportunities for improvements that could be made to the assessment process in the future;
  • Considered how the results of this, and future, assessment could be integrated into business strategy, decision-making and communications processes; and
  • Considered sharing the results, challenges, tools, and data sources of the assessment with other organizations to contribute to advancing the capability of social capital measurement and valuation.

Practical considerations

This final stage of the Protocol is critical to consolidate and capitalize on the work done over the last three stages. Its application will vary greatly among companies but, as it lays the foundations for future action, it is important to allocate sufficient time and attention to this stage. 

  • Skills/expertise: Companies may want to consider additional support from change management professionals, communications professionals, and stakeholder engagement teams. Companies should also ensure they have recorded the skills, expertise and support that was needed to apply the previous three stages. Finally, they should consider additional skills that might be needed within the organization on an ongoing basis. 
  • Timing: The time required for this stage can vary. The key consideration is to ensure enough time is allocated to record progress and lessons learnt to-date, and to gain an appropriate level of awareness and engagement, while still keeping up momentum on the broader journey. 
  • Stakeholder engagement: Look back at the full range of stakeholders that were engaged throughout Stages 1, 2 and 3. Define which stakeholders can be called upon to record their experience and expertise, and to act as advocates going forward. This is an appropriate point to re-engage internal stakeholders at more senior levels and to kick off communications with a wider range of external stakeholders. 

Recommended Resources

Step 10. Apply results to key business decisions

1. Accounting for Sustainability, (2014), Natural and Social Capital Accounting: An Introduction for Finance Teams.

Step 11. Integrate Social Capital Protocol process into business 

2. Accounting for Sustainability, (2012), Future Proofed Decision-Making.