- January 1, 2024: Vol. 16, Number 1

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Doing well and feeling good: The complexity of defining social value

by Sarah Blankfield

The built environment has always had a powerful role to play in creating and sustaining communities — it is where people live, work, learn and play. When reporting on ESG, however, environmental and governance metrics often take precedence over social aspects. One of the barriers in reporting social value is the complexity of social issues, with outcomes increasingly tied to human decision-making processes. Measuring the delivery of positive social outcomes and impacts in the built environment often requires a more nuanced approach compared with more easily measurable factors such as reductions in energy and water consumption.

In response to these challenges, investors are increasingly seeking reliable information, leading real estate management organisations to intensify their efforts to deliver social value and measure progress. The market has historically struggled, however, with a lack of a consistent framework for measuring social impact.

In 2022, the Property C

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