Unique in the world, New Zealand is now opening up our society and economy as our active coronavirus cases dwindle into the single digits. The ‘Great Pause’ has given us all time to stop and reflect on our lives, our society, and the communities around us.
Covid-19 demonstrated explicitly that the way we value the contributions to society from different workers and businesses needs to be seriously reconsidered. For four weeks we relied on our essential supermarket, healthcare, food production and transportation workers to continue working and keep our society going at a reduced level, often working long hours in often minimum-wage jobs. This crisis has drawn attention to the reality that those whose work is most core to keeping our society running are among the least valued in our current economic model.
As we begin to restart our economy and society, we must be reflective, intentional, and brave. We must ask how we can do things differently, and we must avoid the instinct to return to how things used to be.
So how could we move forward?
The principles of Social Value lay out a good baseline to shape and evaluate our action in our post-covid world, encouraging us to involve stakeholders, value what matters, and be transparent in the work that we do. Social Impact and Social Return on Investment accounting methodologies can be a critical component in this new way forward, offering an approach to measure social, environmental and economic change. Imagine if we moved forward into a world where shareholders, stakeholders and funders held organisations, companies and governments accountable for their impact on society as well as their profit and loss.
One of our member organisations Akina recently released their think piece ‘Building New Zealand’s Impact Economy’, offering a useful framework for considering the next steps for our country as we move forward from this crisis. There are huge amounts of innovation happening across this sector, and we would love to hear what you’re currently working on. This is a network and community, and we thrive from learning from one another. If you have an exciting project you’re working on, or if you’ve completely pivoted during Covid-19 and want to share your story we would love to hear from you and share your experiences with our members, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.