Corporate Demand for Social Impact Measurement Rising
4 February 2019 at 4:14 pm
Corporate Australia is increasingly turning to social impact measurement and reporting, experts say, as global business leaders urge companies to embrace the link between purpose and profit.
Melbourne-based technology company Socialsuite, which offers technology for organisations to manage their impact, has reported an “unprecedented demand” from large corporations struggling with the complexity of measuring and reporting impact.
Socialsuite CEO Brad Gurrie told Pro Bono News this was driven in part by prominent business leaders coming out and endorsing impact measurement in the corporate sector.
“We’re seeing a lot of discussion from the world’s business leaders urging organisations to embrace impact,” Gurrie said.
“Off the back of that we’ve seen a lot of demand for our products and I think the key thing here is that organisations have now realised that customers and stakeholders want to align themselves with organisations that have social and environmental impact strategies.”
Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, one of the world’s biggest investment funds with $6.29 trillion under management, said in his 2019 letter to CEOs that purpose was “not a mere tagline or marketing campaign”, but a company’s fundamental reason for being.
“Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits but the animating force for achieving them,” the letter said.
“Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose – in fact, profits and purpose are inextricably linked.”
The letter echoes Fink’s 2018 letter, which called on companies to serve a social purpose.
Gurrie said Fink wasn’t the only business leader agitating for a change to corporate culture, noting that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff dedicated his opening keynote address at the company’s Dreamforce conference to organisations embracing impact.
He added that measuring impact was a complex process that involved a lot of data collection from multiple stakeholders, and said Socialsuite’s software platform measured and reported an organisation’s impact similar to how accounting software reported on financial performance.
“Organisations historically have relied a lot on anecdotal stories to demonstrate their impact. Now what they need to do is ensure they’ve got the evidence,” he said.
Socialsuite technology is already being used by companies including Australia Post and Marks and Spencer, and is currently being trialed by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
Gurrie said Socialsuite was also gaining early traction with impact investors such as superannuation funds, banks and foundations that wanted to report the impact of their investments alongside financial returns.
The company recently announced a successful venture capital raise of $1.85 million to accelerate growth in the emerging impact management software space.
This success follows Socialsuite’s victory in the Salesforce World Tour PitchComp in March last year, which saw the company win US$100,000 prize money (A$128,000).