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Social Return on Investment

  • By: Jean-François Denault
  • In: Green Business: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Nevin Cohen & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Sustainability, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

Creating a socially and environmentally responsible (or sustainable) marketplace is in part hindered by the fact that social or environmental values do not have a price. Nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in particular find it difficult to express, and receive recognition for, the value of their contributions, since measuring the true value of living in a more just society, or enjoying an art performance, or planting trees is virtually impossible. Increasingly, businesses and corporations that attempt to provide useful social or environmental services are also faced with the challenge of “valuation.”

Social return on investment (SROI) is a methodology used by organizations to assign a financial value to the social impact of a project, organization, or policy. By assigning a financial value (in the form of ...

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