3. Identifying Your Value Proposition /

3.3 Explaining how you do business responsibly


We can explain how we do business more responsibly than our competitors.

To meet the standard in full, you can describe your ethical views and how you behave responsibly. You can show this by talking about how you are governed, how you support your employees, how you source supplies, how you treat the environment, the ways you work with communities, and how you spend your profits.

All organizations have some form of impact on society and the environment – as a result of how they operate, the decisions they take, and the behaviours they exhibit.

These impacts are either positive or negative, and arise as a result of how the organization interacts with employees, sources supplies, treats the environment, engages with communities, and so on.

This operational impact can be thought of as the social/environmental footprint of your social enterprise. This footprint can be consciously adjusted – by thinking and operating differently – in order to bring added benefits or reduce the harm to communities.

Increasingly consumers and public sector purchasers are holding companies to a higher standard, and looking for them to act in ways that bring these benefits for society. You can find out more about the agenda for social purchasing here.

Large for-profit businesses have become particularly good at reporting against standards for social and environmental performance, as part of their ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR) or ‘Sustainability’ efforts. It is therefore important for social enterprises to be as transparent, to demonstrate equal and more integrity in everything they do, and to hold themselves accountable for their actions.

So how can your report on the social and environmental responsibility of your social enterprise? There are many measures available that relate to: 

  • Good governance
  • Equality and diversity
  • Fair employment
  • Ethical supply chains
  • Community contribution
  • Environmental footprint
  • Responsible reinvestment

You can find out more about social responsibility and how to measure it in Course 3 of the Impact Practice series, and associated performance indicators in Course 5 (Using Performance Indicators).

You can also check out the catalogues of performance metrics used by the IRIS (Impact Reporting and Investment Standards) and GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), as well as the B Impact Assessment standards.