5 Ways Your Social Impact Strategy Can Improve Employee Engagement

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5 Ways Your Social Impact Strategy Can Improve Employee Engagement

Employee engagement matters. And the companies that have the highest levels of engagement tend to be those that also have well-developed social impact strategies. 

What’s the connection? What’s so important about employee engagement? And how can other businesses emulate the best practice exemplars with their own social impact work? That’s what we’ll explore in this blog. 


Why Does Employee Engagement Matter?

There is an extensive, growing body of evidence to correlate higher levels of employee engagement in their work and their businesses with better results. For example, Gallup has reported that companies with highly engaged workforces have:

  • 24% less staff turnover
  • 10% higher customer ratings
  • 17% higher productivity
  • 21% higher profitability

Engaged employees who are committed to the business they work for go the extra mile – and it pays off. 


What Drives Employee Engagement?

The main drivers of employee engagement are well-known:

  • Pay and benefits
  • Effective, honest communication
  • Commitment to a positive work-life balance
  • Recognition
  • Company transparency
  • Opportunities for training, development, and advancement
  • Opportunities to exert autonomy and confront challenges

But it is increasingly being recognised that a sense of meaning in work and identification with a business’s values play a major role too – particularly with younger workers. A company’s social impact strategy is especially relevant to these two drivers, but it also touches on many of the others listed. That’s why more and more businesses are proactively combining social impact and employee engagement strategies.

> 58% of workers expect their employers to observe higher standards than other businesses (Porter Novelli)

> 88% think it’s not enough for companies simply to make money – they must have a positive social impact as well (Porter Novelli)

> 18% more employees at businesses that were vocal about social causes showed “high levels of discretionary effort” than others (Gartner)

> While only 28% of workers felt connected to their company’s purpose in 2019, 62% felt highly motivated when they were. In companies where purpose is clearly defined, 65% of employees reported being “passionate”about their jobs (PWC)

> While 50% of employees are thinking about leaving their current roles, that drops to just 12% among those who believe that their company is making a positive impact in the world (WeSpire)

OK, that’s enough stats. Hopefully, you’re convinced that it’s possible to improve employee engagement through an effective social impact programme.  

The question we’ll turn to now is “how?”


Source: freepik.com


How To Improve Employee Engagement Through Social Impact


#1 Involve Employees In Deciding Goals

Employees are more likely to get behind goals that speak to their own day-to-day concerns (eg pay and conditions, their local community, sexual harassment) than more distant, political goals. So, it’s important to ensure that employees are involved in setting the objectives of Corporate Social Responsibility, ESG, and social impact strategies.

One of the best ways to do this is to appoint staff delegates to feed into CSR management over time. They will also help you to keep in touch with how effective your work is in improving employee engagement. 


#2 Ensure Social Goals Are Consistent With Business Goals

All too often, businesses fail to align their social objectives with their business goals. Frequently, this results in them being seen as in competition with one another, with CSR activities becoming a nuisance that divert resources away from “real work”. 

For example, consultant Stephen Leo gave this warning to companies working on their social value strategies:

That’s often the step that gets missed out – that the social value strategy needs to understand the requirements around resources and commercial impact as well. A lot of people don’t do that and then they complain that social value is costing them a lot of money to implement.”

The closer the causes you support sit to your company’s day-to-day activities, the less promoting them will “cost” and the greater your organisation’s likely competitive advantage in doing so. That is, the more your business can do for less than others could. That synergy between social and business goals is key to maintaining momentum and staying committed. 


#3 Provide A Portfolio Of Ways To Get Involved

Many companies do a lot of good in society by giving money to their preferred causes. That’s all very well, but it does little to improve employee engagement when the only part they can play is that of donor. So, a good employee engagement programme will include lots of ways for people to take part. These can include:

  • Payroll giving 
  • Opportunities to use their professional skills in support of social goals (skills-based volunteering)
  • Fundraising events
  • Organised volunteer programmes (see Thrive’s Volunteering Module for a best-in-class software solution to the problem of managing these schemes)
  • Advice and opportunities for promoting social objectives through personal behaviour (eg reducing your own carbon footprint through car-sharing, bike loans, etc)


#4 Tie It In With Personal Development 

Skills-based volunteering is just one of the ways in which employees can promote social goals and pursue personal development at the same time. 

Employee involvement in CSR efforts can also help them develop new skills and give them new experiences by extending opportunities to engage in activities they might never have tried otherwise, and to meet people they might never have encountered. 

As we’ve already mentioned, opportunities for development are an important driver of employee engagement:

  • Udemy has found that 80% of employees feel more engaged when such opportunities are made available
  • A LinkedIn study reported that 94% of staff would stay at a company longer if it invests in their career development 

By connecting social impact with development opportunities, the effect on employee engagement is doubled!


#5 Keep Reporting Back 

A lot of businesses talk a lot on CSR, ESG, sustainability, and social impact, but deliver little. In the worst cases, this is deliberate “social washing” or “greenwashing”. But in most, it comes from loss of impetus, confusion, and a lack of review mechanisms. 

Persistence, authenticity, and sustained commitment matter. A Gartner study of the general population found that stakeholders are:

  • 11 times more likely to respond positively when they believe a company is staying true to its values
  • 4.5 times more likely to respond positively when that engagement is seen as consistent with business goals
  • 6 times more likely to respond negatively to messages they believe to be inauthentic

The best way of ensuring that a CSR programme delivers on its promise is for the business to hold itself accountable by reporting its achievements – for better or worse. 

That means:

  • Setting up well-designed metrics at the outset, to measure the impact actually made (not just the pounds spent)
  • Tracking performance over time and collecting all the relevant data
  • Acknowledging staff whose efforts are making a difference
  • Putting this information in front of the people whose opinions matter – employees and the public

It’s not always easy to benchmark performance, design metrics, and capture data across an entire organisation – let alone interpret the impact your activities are having. 


If this is something your business is struggling with, or which you’d like to find out more about, why not book a demo of the Thrive platform to see how our software can help you capture the whole impact of your CSR work, and maximise the employee engagement boost that it generates. 

Virtual Volunteering Opportunities for your Employees in 2022

It’s been more than two years since Covid-19 became a part of our lives and transformed how many of us live and work, and what we think is possible. In early 2020, “virtual volunteering” was something that had barely attracted any public attention. 

At the start of the pandemic, we wrote a virtual volunteering blog suggesting ways that employers could repurpose their volunteer schemes to continue doing good during lockdown and highlighting causes that could use the support of people confined to their homes. 

And we’ve decided to revisit that territory now, because one good thing that came out of the tragedy of Covid is the realisation that there are many, many things that can be done just as well online as in person – and some that can be done even better. 

Plus, in 2022 there are new challenges to be faced which virtual volunteers can help to alleviate, such as the cost of living crisis and the humanitarian disaster in Ukraine. 

So here is our updated list of great causes that CSR and volunteering managers can engage their teams with. 

As always, make sure you do your own due diligence on any of the organisations below before recommending them to your employees.




Volunteering for Ukraine

Source: Freepik.com


The most valuable contribution that people and businesses in the UK can make to help the situation in Ukraine is to raise money to support the major aid NGOs that have a strong presence in the country already. 

To help those already in the UK, the best way to find local refugee support groups is through the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain and Refugee Action

Of course, those with specialised skills may prefer to contribute in other ways:


Cost of Living Crisis


Social Virtual Volunteering

Source: Freepik.com


The number of people using food banks at the end of 2021-2022 was 2,173,158 – an increase of 81% in the previous five years. With the inflation rate for the year ending April 2022 standing at 9%, that number is certain to rise as price increases bite into households’ purchasing power. 

The Trussell Trust organises a national network of food banks, supported by more than 28,000 volunteers. Find your local food bank and how you can help through their website

Energy prices are also approaching crisis point. 

National Energy Action campaigns to eliminate fuel poverty, and they are always on the lookout for potential charity trustees and skilled volunteers to work with their partner organisations. 


Befriending and Fighting Loneliness


Elderly Virtual Volunteering

Source: Ageuk.org.uk


In the aftermath of Covid-19, social isolation is a bigger problem than ever. Older people, people with disabilities, and those with mental health problems are especially vulnerable, and many businesses are choosing to offer their voluntary efforts to those in need in their immediate communities. 

  • Shout is a confidential text service that provides an outlet for people without anyone else to talk to. Their volunteers work to help people in distress to a calmer moment, empowering them to take their next steps towards feeling better and pointing them towards available services
  • Age UK runs volunteer-led telephone befriending services across the country for older people – matching over-60s with local volunteers for weekly chats
  • Sense has found that nearly two-third of disabled people in the UK are chronically lonely. It runs a Virtual Buddying scheme to connect their clients with volunteers who have similar interests for weekly video calls


Conservation and Sustainability 


Environmental Volunteering

Source: Freepik


Last year’s COP26 conference challenged business to do far more to help achieve Net Zero carbon emissions – and many companies are rising to that challenge, through their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes and Employer Supported Volunteering. 

Here are just some of the sustainability initiatives needing virtual volunteers:

  • Wild Nature Institute needs online researchers to analyse photos of giraffes caught on wildlife camera as part of a study into their growth and survival
  • eBird is another large-scale online biodiversity research project, collecting observations from birdwatchers around the world 
  • 1% For The Planet has a network of remote volunteering opportunities across a huge range of environmental and sustainability-related causes


Skills-Based Volunteering


Skills Volunteering

Source: Entrepreneur.com


We’ve already mentioned a few causes that need skilled volunteers, but there are many more. Skills-based volunteering helps provide access to expertise that might otherwise be unavailable to charity groups, while giving your staff opportunities to broaden their experience. 

  • Designers and photographers – F Cancer compiles opportunities for creative types to lend their assistance to cancer charities
  • Consultants and board members – Big Alliance helps pair experienced professionals with community organisations in London in need of support
  • IT and digital professionals – Energise Resources is a network that promotes volunteering opportunities for people with these skills with charitable causes
  • For all these and more – Catchafire is a comprehensive network for bringing skilled volunteers together with organisations who need them


In-person volunteering may be making its way back, but that’s no reason to stop looking at virtual opportunities. Indeed, it’s not an either/or situation: virtual volunteering allows more people to offer their support to more causes, with fewer limitations from geography or time availability. 

If you run an employer supported volunteering programme, or if you’re interested in setting one up, Thrive is your ideal partner. Whether your priority is boosting participation, streamlining the management of an existing program, or uncovering your community impact, our Volunteering Module brings maturity, dynamism and efficiency to your employee volunteering activities. 

Thrive’s software gives you your own-branded volunteering portal bespoke to your company.

Remove the admin hassle for employees by letting them quickly search opportunities and sign-up immediately. Get in touch to find out more!

Social Value in the NHS – What Happens Now?

On April 1 2022, all NHS bodies commissioning goods and services under the supervision of NHS England – plus bodies acting on their behalf – were required to give a mandatory weighting to Social Value considerations in awarding contracts. 

With the NHS accounting for around £130 billion of public spending each year, the scale of the Social Value regime in public procurement introduced by PPN06/20 has expanded enormously. 

NHS England claims to have more than 80,000 suppliers, the vast majority of whom now face a new set of rules and criteria in winning business.  

So what does it all mean? And what can businesses do to keep themselves in consideration? That’s what we’ll explore in this blog. 


What Do The Rules Say?

We’ve written about the rules that PPN06/21 brought into force for central government bodies several times before. Take a look at this earlier blog for more detail, but here’s a very quick recap:

  • In awarding public contracts, “in-scope organisations” must give at least 10% weighting to Social Value considerations in potential suppliers’ bids
  • That 10% can be split between any of five key policy themes: Covid-19 Recovery, Tackling Economic Inequality, Fighting Climate Change, Driving Equal Opportunities, and Wellbeing
  • Social Value benefits have to be (i) additional to the core deliverables of a project, (ii) based on measurable outcomes, and (iii) reported on in quantifiable terms

NHS England has decided to incorporate the Social Value regime into its commitment to achieve Net Zero Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2040, and Scope 3 emissions by 2045.



Source: www.england.nhs.uk

To that end, all NHS tenders now have to include Fighting Climate Change as one of the Social Value themes. 

Procurement is a major focus in this regard: 60% of the NHS’s overall emissions are generated within its supply chain. This is important to bear in mind, because central government bodies (eg departments, executive agencies, NDPBs, etc) aren’t restricted in choosing between the five themes in this way. 


What Does The Guidance Say?

NHS England has released guidance for its own commissioners entitled “Applying net zero and social value in the procurement of NHS goods and services” – but it’s well worth prospective suppliers reading it as well. 


NHS social value guidance

Source: www.england.nhs.uk


The guidance explains:

  1. What top-level goals the NHS is looking to promote through Social Value
  2. Examples of the kinds of outcomes that could contribute to them
  3. Relevant questions to include in tender documents relating to those goals
  4. The sorts of outcomes, activities, and metrics that contractors should be expected to provide 

Let’s take a closer look at just one goal under the “Fighting Climate Change” theme in this format:

The NHS has four priority areas under this theme:

  • a. Reduce emissions
  • b. Reduce air pollution
  • c. Promote circular economy principles
  • d. Reduce consumption and waste

“Reduce single use plastics, packaging and increase recyclability of products” is an opportunity area that could make a contribution to c. and d. 

A sample question for commissioning bodies to include in their tenders might therefore be “Detail how, through the delivery of the contract, you will reduce the amount of single use plastic used for both packaging and products that will be provided.”

Finally, in the bid, the bidder would be expected to include information on:

  1. A forecasted baseline figure on single-use plastic usage for the delivery of the contract over a defined timescale
  2. The activities to be undertaken to reduce plastic and the actual amount that is expected to be reduced


NHS social value examples

Source: www.england.nhs.uk


It’s important to note that those commitments under 4 are something that the supplier will be expected to report on regularly in precise, quantified detail. 

The selection of other themes and areas for improvement will be, in large part, determined by the type of contract:

  • Transport and logistics is naturally geared heavily towards climate change, through reducing road miles
  • Cleaning contracts may give additional weight to wellbeing and tackling economic inequality, as cleaning staff are typically poorly paid, casual workers
  • Catering may focus on local sourcing of produce (tackling economic inequality), regenerative agriculture (fighting climate change), or other goals

Remember, 10% is the minimum. Many commissioning authorities will opt for a higher weighting for Social Value considerations. 


What Can Your Company Do Now?

Adopting Social Value is just the first step for NHS procurement. Over the next decade, even more changes are due to come into effect.

For example, in April 2023 NHS suppliers bidding for contracts worth more than £5 million will be subject to PPN06/21. They will have to have published a Carbon Reduction Plan for Scope 1 and 2 emissions or be ineligible to bid. 

So it’s sensible to get prepared now:

  • Identify Social Value in your existing activities and where you might have competitive advantages. Although Social Value benefits have to be additional to project core deliverables, your business may be well-positioned to deliver desired outcomes through existing work. For example, if a project is due to take place in a deprived area where you already work, you may be better able to create new jobs there than other companies
  • If you don’t already have a Social Value strategy in place, now might be a good time to start developing one. By building aligning your commercial strategy with your Social Value ambitions, you can:
    • Identify and set out the causes you want to promote across multiple bids
    • Highlight the existing sources of value within your organisation and its activities
    • Set out a reusable framework for measurement and reporting of results
  • Plan how you will measure the impact of your activities and how you’ll capture all the data necessary to demonstrate it. 

As well as help in developing your social value strategy, this final point is where Thrive can really help your business. Our Social Value module is a customisable software platform for collecting all your organisation’s data in one place and co-ordinating it with one of the most respected and comprehensive frameworks for Social  Value, The Impact Evaluation Standard.

The IES provides more than 100 metrics and indicators (with carefully-calculated proxy values in pounds), sorted by theme and policy objectives and the IES’s metrics are regularly updated and revised by an independent expert Steering Committee.

When it’s time to show what you’ve achieved, our custom dashboards and reports will allow you to highlight what really matters.


Click here to book a demo today!

10 Reasons Why Volunteering Is Good For Your Business

Is volunteering good for business? Because it is a large part of our cultural psyche. Millions of us give up time on a regular basis to do voluntary work. According to the last government Community Life Survey for 2020-2021, 19 million people in England were volunteering at least once a month. For those who had done some kind of voluntary work in the previous 12 months, that figure rose to 28 million. 

Many of these people do this through schemes run by their employers. This phenomenon is sometimes called Employer Supported Volunteering or ESV. 

Why do these businesses do it? And why should you consider helping your employees to volunteer?

CIPD Volunteering

Source: cipd.co.uk

Here are ten reasons why!


1. Volunteering develops employee skills

Volunteering helps your staff to develop and stretch themselves. It provides opportunities for them to learn and practice soft skills, such as leadership and communication, as well as to apply professional expertise in fresh environments. 

A well-designed ESV programme that exposes employees to activities that are relevant to your business can actually add value to your organisation when it is factored into their learning and development plans. Indeed, this can often be a faster and less expensive way of developing your team than traditional classroom learning. 


2. Volunteering boosts employee health

In 2020, the sickness absence rate among UK workers was 2.7% in the public sector and 1.6% among private companies. It’s been shown in repeated scientific studies that volunteering has a positive effect on health, particularly mental health. 

Volunteering for Health

Source: ncvo.org.ukEmployee mental health and its impact on wellbeing has been in the spotlight in recent years, particularly during Covid-19 when widespread remote working removed much of the social interaction that gives meaning to work. According to a 2016 British Medical Journal study (looking at data from 1998 to 2008):

“When not considering age, those who engaged in volunteering regularly appeared to experience higher levels of mental well-being than those who never volunteered.”

Volunteering supports mental health in a number of ways:

  • Opportunities to meet new people
  • A sense of achievement and having made a difference
  • Feeling part of a community
  • Gaining confidence
  • Discovering new interests


3. Volunteering promotes employee engagement

One survey from Business In The Community found that:

  • 87% of employee volunteers had an improved perception of their employer 
  • 82% felt more committed to their employer as a result

It has been shown time and again that a more engaged workforce:

  • Is more productive
  • Displays less absenteeism
  • Experiences fewer workplace accidents 
  • Deliver better customer service
  • Generates more ideas for improving your business

Not only that…


4. Volunteering improves employee retention

At organisations with the highest levels of employee engagement, staff turnover is significantly lower. A 2017 Gallup study found:

  • In low-turnover businesses, the most-engaged companies saw 24% better staff retention than average
  • In typically high-turnover sectors, that figure was 59%

Better retention leads to a more experienced, capable workforce; lower recruitment and onboarding costs; and better continuity and quality of service for customers. 


5. Volunteering helps you attract talent

Growing numbers of people want the work that they do to have a positive impact on society and the environment. 

Organisations’ commitments to social goals can be a big draw for talented candidates with aligned values. This is particularly relevant in sectors where there are skills shortages – for example, green skills in construction

At the other end of the scale, businesses that develop links with schools and colleges can expect graduates to have higher awareness and a positive impression of them than of their competitors. 


6. ESV boosts your reputation

As well as helping you to attract the best people, a volunteering programme can provide great opportunities for PR and marketing campaigns. 

Annual initiatives like Giving Tuesday allow businesses to showcase the good works that they do, in a whole range of different ways. 

Giving Tuesday

Source: givingtuesday.org.uk

And businesses that build volunteering in support of particular causes into their core corporate values can use it as part of their brand strategy. 


7. Volunteering demonstrates social responsibility

Of course, good press is just a side-effect of good corporate citizenship! Far more important in many businesses’ minds is the actual opportunity to do good in the communities they are a part of. 

ESV programmes regularly feature in big companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reports – for example:

  • Nationwide Building Society – 3 days paid leave per year for voluntary work
  • Experian – 3 days paid leave per year for voluntary work
  • Ricoh UK – 2 days paid leave per year for voluntary work
  • Salesforce – 56 hours per year volunteering 


8. Stronger communities yield more business opportunities

Voluntary work can help get money, skills, and opportunities circulating in disadvantaged communities – just as it can help reinvigorate depressed individuals. 

Renovating community facilities, helping to nurture green spaces, and making the streets more livable can all help stimulate new investment – and that creates opportunities for new business!


9. Volunteering enables third sector organisations to achieve more

Your company’s volunteers can make a massive difference to the impact that community and charity organisations are able to achieve. 

By providing professional expertise on a pro bono basis – whether it’s legal, financial, or technical – businesses can empower these third sector bodies to accomplish far more with their often-limited budgets. Indeed, in many cases, small groups would find it impossible to buy in the skills that business volunteers can provide on a commercial basis. 


10. Volunteering creates Social Value, which can win you contracts

Finally, a volunteering programme can make your business more attractive as a partner to public bodies putting contracts out to tender. 

Since PPN06/20 came into force, central government and now also NHS commissioning authorities are obliged to give at least 10% weighting to considerations of Social Value in awarding contracts. 

And many of the benefits of ESV that we’ve discussed in this blog explicitly support goals stated in the Social Value Model. For example, here are details of the two Policy Outcomes associated with the Wellbeing theme:

  • Improve health and wellbeing:
    • By taking action that supports these goals within the contract workforce
    • By influencing suppliers, staff, customers, and communities to support health and wellbeing through delivery of the contract
  • Improve community integration:
    • By collaborating with users and communities in the co-design and delivery of the contract
    • By influencing suppliers etc through the delivery of the contract to support strong, integrated communities


Did you know that Thrive has a software module for managing employee volunteering?

Whether your priority is boosting participation, streamlining management, or measuring impact our Volunteering Module can add dynamism, efficiency, and maturity. Get in touch today to find out how!

What Can Businesses Do To Help The Situation In Ukraine? Your CSR Policies Can Help

What can businesses do to help Ukraine? Since the Russian military invaded Ukraine on February 24, millions of people have left their homes and the country’s infrastructure has been devastated. And even if Russian troops were to withdraw today, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine – and the border areas of neighbouring countries where refugees have fled to – will remain dire for a long time to come.


People leaving Ukraine


The terrible images and stories that we are seeing from the warzone have driven hundreds of thousands of people around the world to take action to help. And many businesses feel just as strongly.

Corporate social responsibility surely demands a response. But what can companies do? In this blog, we’ll look at what is already being done around the world, and what your business can do.


What are global businesses doing?

There have been many news stories about Western businesses pulling out of Russia and Belarus in response to the invasion. Some, like McDonalds, have ceased activities temporarily but are continuing to pay staff.

Other multinationals have donated large sums of money – notably IKEA, which has donated 40 million euros through its various holdings to the UNHCR, Save the Children, and other NGOs, to help displaced people.

And some businesses have even provided benefits in kind:

But for most businesses – without global reach, local presence, or deep pockets – these kinds of support are not feasible.

So, what can they do instead?


What your business can do to help Ukraine now


#1 Donate money to one of the aid agencies on the ground

Many businesses have given money to one or more of the major aid NGOs that are active in Ukraine, such as:

The DEC is co-ordinating work across a wide range of charities and NGOs. While your business may not be able to match IKEA’s donation, even small sums can make a big difference. The DEC says:

  • £10 can provide essential hygiene supplies for one person for a month
  • £20 can provide emergency food for one person for a month
  • £50 can provide blankets for four families (although the worst of the winter is passed, nighttime April temperatures in Ukraine average no more than 5 degrees Celsius)
  • £100 can provide emergency food for two families for a month


#2 Help employees to raise funds

A lot of businesses are helping their staff to raise money by providing comms assistance, use of facilities, and matched funding.

This is something one of our clients, Kinovo, has done.


Kinovo aid for Ukraine

As a business with a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, Kinovo Group decided to support and assist the work being done by one of their employees, Aneta Chkheidze, in raising funds among her colleagues.

Aneta’s appeal collected hundreds of nappies, duvets, medicine kits, canned food, batteries, and more – plus £575, which Kinovo Group decided to match.

“We were so proud of Aneta’s prompt action and the support that others offered by way of donations, that we felt it was only right for the company to match the contribution that they had raised.”  Lee Venables, COO – Kinovo plc.


#3 Review your supply chain

Businesses can make a contribution by supporting Ukrainian companies.

UN Global Compact, for example, is encouraging businesses that use the free version of Grammarly to switch to the paid version.

From a CSR perspective, it’s also important to undertake due diligence to ensure that you avoid trading with companies that are profiting from the conflict.

Along with human rights and the environment, armed conflicts are covered under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Diversifying your supply chain is also highly beneficial from the point of view of social value, as we’ve discussed in earlier blogs.


#4 Offer jobs to skilled Ukrainian workers

Employers can make it a lot easier for refugees to settle in the UK by sponsoring their applications for work permits.

Businesses can apply for work permits under the Skilled Worker visa scheme – although there are sectoral and minimum salary requirements for eligibility.


#5 Offer accommodation to refugees

It’s not only individuals that can offer to house refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Businesses can register their interest too – if they are able to offer accommodation for at least 6 months.

Homes for Ukraine

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has said that it will soon enable businesses to act as sponsors under the scheme as well. This would enable named people and their families to come to the UK to be housed by the sponsor.


#6 Work with your trade association

Many trade bodies are co-ordinating support efforts from within their sectors. For example:

  • Logistics UK (formerly the Freight Transport Association) is working to make air and road freight capacity available for shipping supplies to Ukraine
  • The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry is working with the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations to co-ordinate donations of medical supplies


#7 Support employee volunteering

As more Ukrainian refugees reach the UK, community groups are sure to spring up to help with their welfare.

Many working people will be keen to join in with these efforts, and businesses that support employee volunteering – through their CSR or social value strategies – should be ready to respond.


#8 Keep Ukraine on the agenda

As the war drags on, it’s very likely that the first flush of enthusiasm for helping the millions of people displaced, injured, and impoverished by the war will wane.

Businesses can help to keep the humanitarian situation on the world’s agenda by advocating for Ukraine and its people, and by writing goals relating to the relief effort into their CSR policies – to enshrine them as long term objectives.

What Can Social Enterprises Achieve? Driving Change: A Success Story

Having a social enterprise within your business can make a big difference when it comes to winning public procurement bids under the terms of the Social Value Model.

In this blog, Thrive takes a look at one social enterprise that’s having a tremendous impact on job creation and employability across the country – targeting groups that traditionally find it difficult to find work – as well as boosting its parent company’s appeal to contracting parties.

Interested to discover how your business could benefit from social enterprise? Then read on!


Something is happening in Greater Manchester. An ambitious social enterprise – spun-off from a locally-headquartered waste management company – is putting its big plans into effect with stunning results.

Kenny Waste Management Social Enterprise Ltd Driving Change (hereafter referred to as Driving Change) is a rare example of a social enterprise that aims to work on a national scale as well as locally.

Its aim? To help people from backgrounds that cause them to struggle to find work gain the skills, experience, motivation, and opportunities they need to succeed.

Driving Change is an initiative launched by one of our clients – Kenny Waste Management – so we decided to dig a little deeper into their success, so as to inspire and guide others businesses that may be thinking of setting up a social enterprise of their own.


What is a Social Enterprise?

“Social enterprise” is not just another word for “charity”. They are commercially-run businesses that aim to make a profit. Where a social enterprise differs from an ordinary business is in its guiding purpose and the use to which profits made are put.

Social Enterprise UK – the membership body for the sector and a leading authority on the subject – puts it like this. A social enterprise must:

  • Have a clear social or environmental mission set out in the governing documents
  • Be a genuinely independent business, earning at least half of its income through trading
  • Be controlled in the interests of the mission
  • Reinvest at least half of any profit made in support of that goal
  • Be transparent about all operations and impact

It’s a part of the economy that’s growing fast and thereby increasing its capacity to do good. According to SEUK’s 2021 State of Social Enterprise 2021 report:

What Can Social Enterprises Achieve

Source: socialenterprise.org.uk

But while there are some notable exceptions, like The Big Issue, The Eden Project, and others, the vast majority of social enterprises are very small and very local in their activities.

Driving Change is Kenny Waste Management’s social enterprise, which exists to strategically address the inequalities that exist for those that are furthest from meaningful employment.

Driving Change Social Enterprise

Source: Kenny Waste Management

Based in Greater Manchester, Kenny Waste Management has a long, proud history of being a business that, as Driving Change’s director Alex Mayes puts it, has “always done the right thing”.

As well as strong environmental credentials (under the core values of “Recover. Divert from landfill. Recycle.” Kenny Waste Management recycles or recovers more than 99% of waste it processes) the company has always tried to look past factors that may be holding people back from employment and focus on what they have to offer.

Another company maxim is “the greatest waste in life is wasted potential”.

And so in 2018, Kenny Waste Management set up Driving Change as a social enterprise dedicated to helping people in traditionally “hard to employ” groups develop the skills and experiences they need to find long-term, fulfilling work – both locally and nationally.


What Do Social Enterprises Do?

Driving Change’s articles of association give it a two-part objective:

“To offer waste management and related services to create employment and training opportunities for adults facing disadvantage in the labour market”

 To deliver the first part, Driving Change makes use of its parent company’s resources. Effectively, waste management work won by Driving Change is subcontracted to Kenny Waste Management.

Kenny Waste Management

Source: Kenny Waste Management

But Driving Change is keen to develop its own independent revenue streams as well. For example, they’re working on plans to build and sell skips.

When it comes to delivering the second part, Driving Change has three programmes:

  • Turning Points – Creating work placements, experience, job shadowing, and trials in the waste management sector
  • Evolving Horizons – Providing training workshops and mentoring to help people achieve relevant qualifications
  • Operation Basecamp – Going out into education and the wider community to raise awareness of the careers options available and to share experiences about the industry

Together, these three strands embody a comprehensive Theory of Change – developed in conjunction with Kenny Waste Management’s charity partner, Salford Foundation. This provides a framework for planning, delivering, and measuring progress across all of Driving Change’s objectives.

Kenny Waste Management Social Enterprise

Source: Kenny Waste Management

But it’s at the individual human level where Driving Change’s impact is most profound.

Take the case of Paul. At age 50, after 30 years driving a taxi, Driving Change helped him to retrain as an HGV driver.

Or ex-offender Lee. After struggling to find work, he reached out to Kenny Waste Management as a business that “looks past labels”. Today, he’s a waste compliance officer.

Lee says of his experience:

 “A secure job means so much more than an income. It’s about being part of a community and being able to live a life outside work that you enjoy.”

 Or even consider law student Lydia. After completing an internship in 2021, she was invited to help diversify Driving Change’s board – becoming a non-executive director.

Those are just a few of the people whose lives have been affected by Driving Change, along with the many others who have been helped to achieve Accredited Qualification, received career advice and support, been given opportunities to job shadow, and more.

What your social enterprise would do won’t be the same as what Driving Change is doing. But their story shows just how broad and deep the impact of organisations that value social benefit baked into their DNA can be.


Why Set Up a Social Enterprise?

As well as helping to create employment opportunities for people from disadvantaged parts of the community, Driving Change also generates significant benefits for its parent company.

More and more procurement policies are stipulating either the involvement of social enterprises in projects directly or are demanding high levels of social value commitment, delivery, and proof.

KWM Social Enterprise

Source: Kenny Waste Management

So having a social enterprise as part of their overall offering makes Kenny Waste Management highly appealing as a supply chain partner:

  • Customers can be certain that money spent with Driving Change is ring-fenced for the delivery of social benefits
  • They are also guaranteed a high level of transparency and close attention measuring and quantifying impact in delivery
  • Involvement of a social enterprise in a project supply chain can be presented as a contribution towards social value under the “Tackling Economic Inequality” pillar of the Social Value Model
  • In an age where businesses can suffer serious reputational damage if they are shown to not be living up to the values they espouse, companies that work with Driving Change can be sure they will not be vulnerable to accusations of “social-washing” around waste management and disposal

As well as helping Kenny Waste Management demonstrate its business ethics, Driving Change benefits the group in other ways:

  • Building close relationships with organisations which share similar social goals to work on mutually beneficial community projects – Tier 1 contractors Kier Group, for example
  • By training up people to work in waste disposal, Driving Change helps address the sector’s skills shortage
  • It helps Kenny Waste Management attract talent. Increasingly, candidates want to work with a ethical company that has a wider social or environmental purpose

For Kenny Waste Management, running a social enterprise is not just the right thing to do. It’s also good business sense.


What’s Next for Social Enterprises?

The next step for Driving Change is for it to widen its reach, and deepen its impact.  In 2022, they will be establishing a grant scheme enabling other SMEs to access funds to tap into the potential of their own teams.

By setting up a grants scheme, Alex Mayes explains, Driving Change will be able to provide training to address skills shortages Across the UK  in areas where companies have immediate needs for qualified staff.

Plus, the social enterprise is aiming to influence other businesses to ensure that all pay the Real Living Wage. It’s leading by example in that regard, by already paying the RLW to all its non-apprentice employees.


Living Wage

Source: livingwage.org.uk

Many people think that social enterprises hold the key to changing the face of the economy and to delivering “levelling up” across the country.

And with more than 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, employing two million people and contributing £60 billion per year to the economy, they might just be right.

If you’re interested in setting up a social enterprise or you want to find a social enterprise partner, the best place to start is Social Enterprise UK. With more than 70,000 social enterprises listed in its database and members all across the country, SEUK really is an authority on the subject.

Alternatively, get in touch with us at Thrive. We’d be delighted to put you in touch with the team at Kenny Waste Management and share their expertise!







Can You Be Sure You Aren’t Greenwashing?

“Greenwashing” by businesses is firmly in the sights of governments and regulators around the world. If your business is now more alert to your environmental impact and the need to create sustainable systems or if you are claiming credit in bids for your environmental credentials, then you need to be aware of the legalities around what you are claiming and the rules of The Green Claims Code.

With the drive for net zero and the push for sustainability becoming a big factor in bid scoring, here we aim to make sure you have the knowledge to avoid you unwittingly crossing the line.


What is The Green Code?

The CMA surveyed around 500 global websites in 2021 and it found that 40% of them made “green claims” that were potentially misleading. From this they have advised the government that it should pass laws that would prevent misleading or unsubstantiated environmental claims and thankfully, we now have The Green Claims Code.

The code provides guidance on how businesses should ensure that what they say about sustainability and environmental impact is in line with consumer law.

In a nutshell, all claims must:
  • Be truthful and accurate
  • Be clear and unambiguous
  • Not omit or hide important information
  • Only make fair and meaningful comparisons
  • Consider the full life cycle of the product
  • Be substantiated

Environmental claims that don’t meet all these standards should be considered “greenwashing”. It’s just one of the many requirements that businesses are being forced to adhere to. Others include:

  • Carbon Reduction Plans – under PPN06/21, potential suppliers for central government contracts worth more than £5 million have to have detailed plans showing how they will achieve Net Zero by 2050
  • Social value in public procurement – under PPN06/20, bidders for central government – and, from April 2022, NHS – contracts must include provisions for how their work will generate social value, one of the five pillars of which is fighting climate change.


What should my business do?

A “green claim” is any statement to the effect that a product or service is beneficial to the environment or less harmful than alternatives.

With the CMA investigating different sectors’ claims in 2022 and calling for legal penalties for breaching the code, the first thing your business should do is review all your marketing, labelling, investor relations, and sales materials to identify anything that would count as a “green claim”.

Then, for each green claim you find, the CMA has helpfully produced a 13-point checklist to help you determine whether it’s misleading or not:
  1. Is the claim accurate and clear for all?
  2. Is there up-to-date, credible evidence to show the green claim is true?
  3. Does the claim clearly tell the whole story of the product or service?
  4. Does the claim contain partially correct or incorrect information or information that’s only true under certain conditions?
  5. Do general claims to be “eco-friendly”, “green”, “sustainable”, etc reflect the whole life cycle of the brand, product, business or service?
  6. Are any conditions or caveats that relate to the claim set out in a way everyone can understand?
  7. The claim will not mislead customers or other suppliers
  8. The claim does not exaggerate any positive environmental impact, or contain anything untrue?
  9. Is durability or disposability information labelled or explained clearly?
  10. The claim does not omit or hide information about the environmental impact that customers would need to make informed choices?
  11. Is information that isn’t provided that nevertheless forms part of the claim easily accessible elsewhere?
  12. The claim does not present features or benefits that are necessary standard features or legal requirements of that product or service type as environmental benefits?
  13. Where comparison are used, the basis of comparison is fair, accurate, and clear for all to understand

If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions or statements, then the green claim should be compliant with the Code.

If you can’t, you should:
  • Stop making the misleading claim and withdraw any materials that employ it
  • Amend the claim to bring it into line
  • Ensure that you have sufficient evidence to substantiate what you are claiming
  • Make sure that information is provided to consumers so that they can make informed choices

The CMA recommends speaking to your local Trading Standards Service if in any doubt.


Does this apply to B2B marketing?

Yes it does. While regulation of business to business (B2B) marketing is less comprehensive than in business to consumer (B2C) marketing, misleading advertising and misleading comparative advertising is still expressly forbidden.

Consumer-focused marketing goes further by saying that claims that are misleading by virtue of information left out is prohibited. While that’s not explicitly forbidden in B2B, the spirit of what the CMA is asking of businesses is clear – and it’s quite possible that the rules may be changed in future.

The CMA’s guidance says:

“By applying the same high standards in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer engagement, businesses can support trust in the green economy and mitigate the risk of harm to consumers.”


Green claims and public procurement – the next step?

Social value – including action to prevent climate change – is already embedded in a growing range of public procurement regimes. On top of that, bidders for major government contracts have to have clear, step-by-step plans for achieving Net Zero.

And an increasing range of businesses are being required to make public the effects of and risks to the environment posed by their activities – and the strategies they have in place for mitigating them.

Can it be too long before we see companies that can’t back up their green claims excluded from public contracts as well – and those that can, and report clearly and consistently on their activities, given preferred status?

How an SME Can Win More Work with Social Value

Small businesses aren’t exempt from the need to demonstrate social value when they bid for public contracts.

And an SME that finds itself in competition with the big players is not at a disadvantage. In fact, the Social Value Model goes a long way to level the playing field, giving the edge to SMEs in a lot of areas as well as making it easier to partner with Tier 1 and 2 contractors.


What does the Social Value Model say about SMEs?

The government’s Social Value Model has brought much-needed clarity to the questions of “what counts as social value?” and “how should it be dealt with in public procurement?”

It helps explain the rules stated in PPN06/20 – which specifies that a minimum of 10% weighting be given to social value in decisions to award central government contracts.

SMEs are given particular prominence:

  • Covid-19 recovery
    • MAC 1.3 – “Supporting organisations and business to recover”
  • Tackling economic inequality – under:
    • MAC 2.1 – “Create opportunities for entrepreneurship and help new organisations to grow, supporting economic growth and business creation”
    • MAC 3.1 – “Create a diverse supply chain to deliver the contract including new businesses and entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs, VCSEs and mutuals”

That is, contracting authorities are obliged to give extra weight to bids from organisations of these types when assessing social value – because it is government policy to ensure that they are fairly represented in public procurement decisions.

The wording of MAC 3.1 says this very clearly:

“Whether as prime contractors or within the supply chain, it is essential that [small businesses] have the same opportunity to tender for and, where appropriate, win government contracts as other firms.”

 Indeed, it’s important to highlight that point about “within the supply chain”.

SMEs that embrace social value are in a strong position, even when they’re not bidding for public contracts directly. That’s because they can help large Tier 1 and 2 contractors to meet their social value obligations.

That can be a big plus point when it comes to winning business further down the supply chain.


How does Social Value give SMEs an advantage?

Social value is all about the additional benefits brought to a local community or environment as a result of projects being carried out there. SMEs’ positions in their communities are a big plus here:

  • Small businesses tend to hire locally – and many contracts will specify increasing employment in affected areas as an objective
  • Locally-focused SMEs will be providing all of their employee training, apprenticeships, and work experience opportunities in those areas as well
  • SMEs are frequently deeply embedded in their communities – sponsoring events, engaging with local business associations – making it easier to be responsive and consultative in designing and delivering projects
  • SMEs tend to have relationships with other local businesses – advantageous in diversifying project supply chains

National and international organisations would need to spend considerable time and money to replicate these factors which simply flow from being an SME!

SMEs can win business

Measurement is also harder for huge companies that don’t have immediate visibility over all their activities.

So with contracting authorities required to give at least 10% weighting to social value considerations in awarding contracts (and many giving more), these points go a long way to counterbalance the big players’ strengths when in direct competition.

But when looking for subcontract work, by making it easier for primary contractors to quantify the value of supply chain activities, SMEs that have a clear view of their contribution to larger projects will find themselves singled out as preferred partners.


How The Impact Evaluation Standard helps SMEs win with Social Value

Even so, many SMEs don’t realise just how much the Social Value Model stacks things in their favour. In fact, some see it as red tape – another box to tick – that benefits contractors with dedicated bidding expertise. That’s not the case. The Social Value Model goes to great lengths to help SMEs understand what they need to report on by providing a list of some 52 different metrics.

Even so, some of these can be hard to put into practice. The language used is often quite abstract. It can be hard to see how many of the things your business is already doing could be classified as social value.

That’s where a framework like The Impact Evaluation Standard is invaluable. It digs down further into the Social Value Model’s metrics to give a comprehensive 109 metrics – along with robust proxy values for all of them.

This makes it very simple to translate non-monetary benefits into valid, recognised cash equivalents.

For example, SMEs can report on:

  • Jobs, apprenticeships, or other recognised training places created and/or completed
  • Work experience hours and placements offered
  • Learning interventions (mock interviews, mentoring, CV advice, etc) provided
  • Steps taken to treat suppliers fairly and pay them on time
  • The value of subcontracts awarded to other SMEs
  • Enhancements made to the natural environment in the course of delivering the work
  • Reductions in waste and improvements in recycling

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The social value revolution is a massive opportunity for SMEs to help make their environments and communities stronger and more resilient – as well as to access a bigger share of public spending themselves.

If you’d like to find out more get in touch with Thrive for a free demo of our social value capture, measurement, and reporting software.


Finding Social Value in Your Business: Covid-19 Recovery

Covid-19 Recovery is the final Theme from the Social Value Model that we’re going to look at in this series of blogs. 

In some ways, the social and economic recovery from the pandemic of the last two years ties all the other Themes together:

  • Equal Opportunity: Women, people from BAME backgrounds, and people with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by what has happened across the economy
  • Wellbeing: Physical and particularly mental health in the workplace have come under intense scrutiny, with a recognition that more needs to be done to support wellbeing
  • Tackling Economic inequality: Existing inequalities – between social groups and geographical areas – have been worsened
  • Fighting Climate Change: And with increasing recognition of the dangers of climate change, there is widespread consensus that efforts to build back need to prioritise sustainability

So, on the understanding that there’s a lot of crossover between this and the other four Themes, this final blog will examine how you can maximise the social value your company’s work creates, as well as make sure that none of it goes unreported, when it comes to Covid-19 Recovery. 


What does the Social Value Model say about Covid-19 Recovery?

As of October 2021, the number of people in the UK claiming unemployment benefits was 865,100 higher than in March 2020 – with older and younger workers worst affected. 

At the end of the furlough scheme on 30 September 2021, hundreds of thousands of workers were still laid off and dependent on payments. In spite of the relatively good economic news we’ve seen in recent months, there is still a mountain to climb – and the government has recognised the importance of making the most of its own expenditure in the Social Value Model. 

The Policy Outcome to be advanced under this Theme is to “help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of Covid-19”. 


Social Value Model Covid 19 Recovery


In practice, that is broken down into five Model Award Criteria (MACs) which should feature in relevant tenders for public contracts:

  1. The creation of new employment and training opportunities for those left jobless by Covid
  2. Helping people and communities to recover from the pandemic (especially those who are shielding and other vulnerable people)
  3. Helping business to recover – particularly by adopting new ways of working
  4. Reducing demand on health and care services by promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of contract workforces
  5. Ensuring that workplaces are adapted to help promote Covid-19 recovery (by accommodating remote working, social distancing, sustainable travel, etc)

As you can see, many initiatives that would promote these MACs would also have a positive impact on other Themes. 

For example, ensuring that contracts are advertised widely and openly would potentially support the “Helping businesses to recover” goal here, as well as the “Business Growth and Supply Chain” Policy Outcome detailed under Tackling Economic Inequality. 


How to Target your Efforts at Covid-19 Recovery

As we’ve seen in the previous blogs, social value gains need to be measurable outcomes that are not core deliverables of the contract but extra “value adds” created by your business’ way of delivering the project. 

So when considering the initiatives you might undertake and report on, it can be helpful to think in terms of metrics first. 

These might include:

  • The number of jobs created for people made redundant as a result of Covid
  • Number of hours dedicated to helping job seekers – with mentoring, mock interviews, careers awareness activity, etc


Social Value Model Covid 19 Recovery


  • Number of hours dedicated to Covid recovery community activities, such as volunteering
  • Number of relevant training opportunities created and completed
  • Number of hours spent reviewing and enhancing mental health initiatives in the workplace
  • Number and percentage of people able to work remotely or in a hybrid manner – so as to provide fair access to jobs for vulnerable groups

Once again, the impact of your company’s activities on the supply chain is a major factor. Metrics in this area might include:

  • The number and percentage of suppliers signed up to the Mental Health at Work commitment, to the Good Work Plan, etc
  • The number of startups from affected areas involved in delivering the contract, and the percentage of total spend they represent


Covid-19 Recovery and the IES

The extent of crossover between the other Themes and Covid-19 Recovery can make it tricky to assess, measure, and report on social value gains in this area without “double counting”. 

That’s why – to put in the best possible social value submissions when bidding for public contracts – it’s vital to rely on a robust, widely-recognised framework. 

The Impact Evaluation Standard is the best of those in use at the present time: 

  • It includes predetermined metrics for 109 different activities 
  • These are all aligned with the 52 metrics referred to in the Social Value Model
  • The IES assigns Proxy Values to all of its metrics, enabling companies to ascribe pound values to their social value outcomes
  • Those Proxy Values are UK-specific, updated annually, and overseen by an independent steering committee, using a vast range of authoritative sources

Using the IES, it is significantly easier to ascribe activities and outcomes to the most appropriate metrics than with less-specialised frameworks. 

That will put your bids in a strong position when it comes to the “explicit evaluation” and minimum 10% weighting that social value submissions have to be given. 

Using the IES as a basis, Thrive has built a social value software module designed to capture and communicate all of your data in a way that is simpler, easier to use, and more efficient than any available alternative. 

If you’d like to see a demonstration of the Thrive platform, just click here!

Finding Social Value in Your Business: Fighting Climate Change

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our age. And while it may sometimes feel overwhelming in its scale, the fact is that every individual and every organisation can play a part in preventing it. By now, most businesses in the UK carry out some kind of environmental reporting and are working towards reducing their environmental impact.

But if you’re treating this as separate from the social value impact of your work, you could be missing out on valuable opportunities to do more good – and benefit your business as well. Because of the term ‘social value’, many people don’t realise you can include environmental activities and benefits in this definition too.

In this blog, we’ll look at the Social Value Models “Fighting Climate Change” Theme, and what you can do to maximise the social value your company’s work creates, as well as make sure that none of it goes unreported.


Where social value fits in to businesses’ climate change duties

Social value first and foremost concerns businesses involved in public procurement – although as a framework for reporting on the value that your work generates, it has some important benefits, even beyond conventional Corporate Social Responsibility or ESG reporting.

And businesses bidding for public contracts already have some important responsibilities in this area.

Since September 2021, companies bidding for central government projects worth more than £5 million have had to have published Carbon Reduction Plans, spelling out how they will achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050.


Social Value Model Fighting Climate Change: PPN0621


The rules (set out in PPN06/21) don’t yet affect local government procurement or smaller contracts, but with the government reiterating its strong commitment to Net Zero at the recent COP26 summit, it’s probably only a matter of time before that changes. So it makes sense to get ready now, rather than be caught on the hop later.


  • Social value considerations must be given at least 10% weighting in procurement decisions, but are frequently given more
  • As the Social Value Model says:

“Any social value benefit proposed by tenderers must relate to additional improvements in the economic, social and/or environmental wellbeing of the relevant area to be delivered through the contract, and not replace the assessment and management of the environmental impacts of the core contract elements (direct and through the supply chain) and how they can be reduced, which must instead form a part of the core tender (ie not the social value element).”


The UN Sustainable Development Goals

The fight against climate change is not just about carbon emissions. The Social Value Model states which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals each Theme supports, and for this Theme there are other environmental objectives that are just as important to pursue.


Social Value Model Fighting Climate Change: SDG_Goals


For example, reducing water use and improving sanitation, protecting life below water, conservation etc, are all areas where businesses can demonstrate social value.


“Effective Stewardship of the Environment”: What can businesses do?

The Fighting Climate Change Theme in the Social Value Model has only one Policy Outcome as its objective (the others all have two).

That’s “Effective Stewardship of the Environment” – and as we’ve seen in the previous blogs in this series (on Equal Opportunity , Wellbeing , and Tackling Economic Inequality ) the desired impacts fall into two categories:

  • Environmental benefits achieved through delivering the contract
  • Environmental benefits achieved by influencing suppliers and others involved in the work

So, activities that could generate social value gains might include:

  • Enhancing of restoring the natural environment in the course of the contract through volunteer work
  • Increasing opportunities for natural pollinators (for example, by planting rooftop gardens)
  • Creating new green spaces (which can include “green walls” on buildings)
  • Improving air quality by switching to electric vehicles or low-emissions fuels
  • Reducing waste and increasing recycling
  • Switching to green energy
  • Offsetting unavoidable emissions, for example by planting trees
  • Carrying our education or awareness-raising activities around environmental issues
  • Helping people in affected communities to connect with nature

If you already have a Carbon Reduction Plan, you will no doubt have already thought of and be implementing a lot of these measures. But where the social value approach excels is in forcing businesses to pay attention to measurement and reporting.


How can my business measure and report on its work?

The outcomes of these activities and others like them can be turned into a wide variety of metrics:

  • Number of hours dedicated to environmental improvement
  • Reduction in carbon emissions as against a prior baseline
  • Annual reduction in water use, waste send to landfill, etc
  • Number of new green spaces created

The Social Value Model itself includes 52 metrics across the five Themes, but it can be difficult to translate them into actionable points: the data may not be easy to come by, or it may be recorded in diverse locations.

That’s where Thrive’s social value module really shows its value.

Using the Impact Evaluation Standard, we are able to break the Model’s metrics down even further – into 109 separate indicators, each of which is ascribed a carefully-calculated proxy value in pounds, so that you are able to put a robust monetary value on your efforts. This can make the story you tell around impact far more compelling.

Our module also gives you a central location for collecting and analysing data – which makes the process far more efficient, as VolkerWessels UK found when they started working with us.

Volker Wessels UK

Previously, they used a mix of spreadsheets, online tools, and emails to track impact. But across such a complex, diversified business it was hardly surprising that many activities were being under-reported or missed altogether.

Head of Sustainability Emma Ward said:

“Thrive has revolutionised the way we collect and demonstrate performance against key sustainability and social value metrics across our business… Thrive’s software … has helped us overcome data collection bottlenecks by automatically engaging staff throughout our whole group… Integrating all these facets together is hugely impactful for us.”




While Alex Mayes of our client Kenny Waste Management had this to say:


“For the first time we now have robust data to show exactly how our decisions around inclusive hiring, career training, school engagement and carbon emission reduction to name just a few can have a financial benefit to our community.”


If that sounds like something your business could benefit from, get in touch to arrange a free demo today.