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When value for money is paramount, society should have an understanding of value for money that includes social and environmental outcomes alongside economic costs and benefits. The New Economics Foundation was integral to the development of the SROI methodology.

Valuing what matters

How do we measure the things that make life worthwhile? Giving monetary values to social and environmental outcomes allows politicians, organisations and businesses to make better decisions, and maximise the impact of their work.

Social Return on Investment captures monetary returns, but also social and environmental returns. It is these ‘profits’ that change the world for the better.

Monetisation and Social Return on Investment (SROI)

Monetisation – the placing of monetary values on outcomes – is a fundamental element of the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology. It is also an area where there are a wide diversity of approaches. In some ways this diversity of approaches is a good thing; the difference in scope and purpose of SROIs means that sometimes different approaches are called for. However, these different approaches to monetisation can lead to otherwise similar SROIs showing very different SROI ratios. For some people, this lack of consistency in approach is one of the main drawbacks of SROI. Read more here

Our work using the SROI methodology

In our methodology we follow the seven principles as described by Social Value UK :

1. Involve stakeholders – Inform what gets measured and how this is measured and valued in an account of social value by involving stakeholders.

2. Understand what changes – Articulate how change is created and evaluate this through evidence gathered, recognising positive and negative changes as well as those that are intended and unintended.

3. Value the things that matter – Making decisions about allocating resources between different options needs to recognise the values of stakeholders. Value refers to the relative importance of different outcomes. It is informed by stakeholders’ preferences.

4. Only include what is material – Determine what information and evidence must be included in the accounts to give a true and fair picture, such that stakeholders can draw reasonable conclusions about impact.

5. Do not over-claim – Only claim the value that activities are responsible for creating.

6. Be transparent – Demonstrate the basis on which the analysis may be considered accurate and honest, and show that it will be reported to and discussed with stakeholders.

7. Verify the result – Ensure appropriate independent assurance.

Download the full guide on the seven principles here.

For examples of our work and case studies where we have used the SROI methodology, search the website using the general search facility at the top of the page. Examples include:


Social Return on Investment. Valuing what matters
This report shows how a tool piloted in the UK by the New Economics Foundation can be used to measure the financial value of social and environmental as well as economic returns.


Our gross national product… counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl… It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

Robert Kennedy, University of Kansas, 18 March 1968
(abridged from the full speech

New Economics Foundation

NEF aims to create a new economy that works for people and within environmental limits. We are guided by three missions:

A new social settlement
To ensure people are paid well, have more time off to spend with their families, and have access to the things we all need for a decent life.

A Green New Deal
A plan for government-led investment to reduce the carbon we emit and boost nature, while creating a new generation of jobs.

The democratic economy
To devolve state power and transform ownership of the economy to give everyone an equal stake in the places where we live and work.

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