What’s in a name?

This blog was authored by GTECH Project Associate Kate Hancock. Email Kate at k.hancock@gtechstrategies.org.


The basics of SuROI

Sustainable Return On Investment
social + environmental = SuROI

You may be familiar with the term “ROI” or “return on investment” (a measure of the amount of return on an investment relative to the investment’s cost) but have you heard of SuROI? Sustainable return on investment, or SuROI for short, measures — you got it — the sustainable return on an investment. SuROI combines a basic social return on investment model and an ecosystem services analysis model to measure the social and environmental benefit of a given intervention or change.
In other words, the SuROI analysis framework allows organizations to measure their social and sustainable impact beyond the market-value of itemized goods.3 Social Value is defined as the value that stakeholders experience through changes in their lives. This essentially means SuROI gives value to the invisible. 3

This sounds awesome! Tell me more!

SuROI can capture the value of things like…

  • Feeling safer in your neighborhood
  • Feeling more confident after completing a volunteer project
  • Increased access to greenspace
  • A skill-development workshop
  • Building a network of support peers
Why haven’t I heard of SuROI before?

Well, if SuROI is new to you, welcome aboard! The SuROI approach is building off the model developed by Social Value UK, a network of partners for anyone interested in social value and social impact.

Why is GTECH interested in sustainable return on investment?

I’m glad you asked! GTECH is interested in SuROI because we want to quantify the value of our [sustainable] efforts; we want to apply a value to change. Our hope is that these values will focus and guide our future endeavors. For example, it is not enough to say our Ambassador Program improved the given neighborhood or Ambassador, we are striving to be able to say how and by how much the program and ambassador improved.

SuROI Lingo1:

Impact– the difference between the outcome for participants, taking into account what would have happened anyway, the contribution of others and the length that the outcomes last

Impact map– the map that captures and measures the difference (it keeps you organized)

Input– the contribution made by each stakeholder that is necessary for an output

Outcome– the change as a consequence of the activity

Output– the quantitative way of describing the relationships between the stakeholder and input

Social return ratio– total present value of the impact / total investment

Stakeholder– A person, organization or entity that experiences change, as a result from the SuROI analysis

*Thanks for the terms, Social Value UK! To learn even more about SuROI check out the Guide to Social Return on Investment.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned as we apply SuROI to our work and share what we find!
More from the pros…
1 A Guide to Social Return on Investment

2 New Economics

3  Real Worth

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