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Talking About Social Capital

Integration is one of our most prevalent buzzwords these days. Drawing on philosophy, physics, biochemistry, engineering and other disciplines – the drive to identify sustainable businesses and lifestyles means thinkers are looking under every rock they can find.

Integrated reporting focuses on value creation over time. Multi-disciplinary protocols are emerging, fed by a growing curiosity for discovering new ways of living and doing business, and within these are new approaches to strategizing and assessment that complement existing processes.

The International Integrated Reporting Council (IR) sees itself as the “standard-setter for integrated reporting” and urges companies to report on their social capital. They hold that “an integrated report is a concise communication about an organization’s strategy, governance, performance and prospects, in the context of its external environment” and how these factors lead to the creation of value in the short, medium and long term.

Using IR’s guidelines and thinking, Ontario-based Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) has issued its analysis of social capital with: Systematic Review: Measuring and Valuing Social Capital.

NBS has previously addressed topics such as valuing environmental impacts, valuing sustainability, socially conscious consumerism, organizational culture and a wide range of influences on business decision-making, productivity and profitability.

It has always been said that ‘who you know plays a pivotal role in the path your life takes’ but social capital’s role has become an even more powerful influence in today’s cyber-connected world. In that context, social capital includes social networks, the reciprocity of relationships, and – importantly – shared norms and values. Those shared values form the foundation of our cultural beliefs and behaviors.

Improvements to an organization’s social capital can lead to competitive advantages, cost reductions, enhanced information access and reputation, talent recruitment advantages, and to being perceived as a trustworthy, sturdy business or community environment with which to affiliate.

Overall, adding social capital issues to an organization’s communications humanizes the process in a rich way. It adds depth and brings collective interests under a common umbrella of shared values and purpose – and becomes a much more interesting and engaging conversation than one that is strictly statistics-based and economics-driven.

At globotext we understand how adding social capital measures and focusing on shared values strengthen global communications. We can help tailor and strengthen your messages for local, regional and global markets.

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