Increasingly, organisations are 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.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are, in effect, a social value charter for the planet.

Public sector bodies can take social value into account through their policy and spending decisions to maximise the benefit for the communities they serve. Businesses can make decisions both about what they do and how they do it in ways that add social value. For businesses with corporate responsibility or sustainability policies, social value reporting is the obvious next step, as it allows them to externalise these policies by tying them to measurable actions and report them in a way that their clients and other stakeholders can relate to.