Social impact: How do you measure up?

Windmill Green, Manchester

The property industry is waking up to the need to improve the social impact of what it does, but experts argue that we will only see real progress if standardised metrics are introduced.

Where the environment boasts crusaders such as Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough, social impact’s catalysts for change are heavyweights of a different sort: some of the world’s biggest investors.

“We have seen a major shift in the investments made by the property market as a greater focus on issues such as social impact has emerged,” attests Philip Hirst, a director at JLL.

“Investors in both institutional and private sectors are becoming more conscious of the social impact their decisions have.”

Property Week and Newcore Capital are also trying to encourage the industry to raise its game through The Pro Bono Challenge, launched last September. But as Newcore’s principal and managing director Hugo Llewelyn noted in a comment piece last week, there is not a lot of evidence that this raised level of consciousness has yet translated into meaningful action from the industry (14.02.20).

So is it time to introduce a standardised measurement system – and just how would the industry measure up if such a system were introduced?

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