Understanding Social Sustainability
Social sustainability is about identifying and managing business impacts, both positive and negative, on people. The quality of a company’s relationships and engagement with its stakeholders is critical. Directly or indirectly, companies affect what happens to employees, workers in the value chain, customers and local communities, and it is important to manage impacts proactively
• Has a big impact on business’s operations• a lack of social development can hamper business operations and growth.
• Potential benefits for business when working towards social sustainability
- New markets to Retain and attract business partners
- Be the source of innovation to Increased internal morale and employee engagement
- Improvement of productivity, risk management and company-community conflict
• The first six of the UN Global Compact's principles focus on this social dimension of corporate sustainability, of which human rights is the cornerstone.
• Covers the human rights of specific groups
- Women's empowerment and gender equality
- Indigenous peoples
- People with disabilities
- People-centered approaches to business impacts on poverty
Covering groups of
- Rights holders
- Social sustainability encompasses issues that affecting them ( for example, education and health)
As a complement, not as a substitute for respecting rights, businesses can also take additional steps:
• Contribute in other ways to improve the lives of the people they affect, such as by creating decent jobs, goods and services that help meet basic needs, and more inclusive value chains.
• Make strategic social investments and promote public policies that support social sustainability.
• Partner with other businesses, pooling strengths to make a greater positive impact.
There are five principles of social sustainability
- Quality of life
- Social cohesion
Social sustainability in business and commitment to people and purpose can accomplish this by:
▪ making social investments in communities to improve quality of life
▪ create jobs
▪ partner with other businesses to solve social problems.
Diversity and inclusion efforts:
Working with local government or the nonprofit community to help build resilient and equitable local social systems. A company’s impact on community development structure through housing, investment, and equity.
Benefits/Positive results of engaging in socially responsible practices
As a new generation of employees enter the workforce, many expect their employers to have values that align with their own and are taking measures to positively engage with their communities. Attracting investors: there has been a huge shift in recent years as investors are not only attracted to businesses that are sustainable and socially responsible but actively turning away from those which are not. Customers are increasingly utilizing community impact, sustainability, and commitment to a higher purpose to help them differentiate between brands.
Social Sustainability in Business from a Gender Perspective
This interrelation between social, economic and environmental factors includes:
- Gender equality and social equity
- Equity in
- Equity in labor rights
- Corporate social responsibility
- Sustainable consumption, etc.
- Social sustainability in business seeks to identify and manage businesses’ social impacts, both positive and negative, on society, the environment, employees, workers in the value chain, customers and local communities.
- For social sustainability, the especially relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)are:
SDG8 - decent work and economic growth"
SDG10 - "reduction of inequality"
SDG3 - health and well-being"
SDG 5 - “gender equality”
SDG9 - "reduction of inequality"
SDG10 “build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”
SDG11 “ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”
According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, social sustainability has five dimensions that should be considered when determining if a business or project is socially sustainable:
• Social Cohesion
• Quality of life
Social Sustainability plays a particularly special role for companies grappling with the challenges of an ever-changing workforce, societal shifts, fluctuations in migration and globalization, investing, even quality of work and employee retention.