Roundtable for social metrics | Accessible social impact assessment

Twelve sustainability experts from leading companies have come together in the Roundtable for Social Metrics, aiming to make social impact assessment more accessible and meaningful through the development of a handbook for social impact assessments of products and services along value chains.

The draft handbook that was developed in Phase 1 has undergone external consultation. Phase 2 recently started, with five new companies joining this initiative. 

The initiative

The Roundtable for Social Metrics is a pioneering endeavor in sustainability that seeks to fill the current gaps in product social sustainability assessment. It aims to bring together principles and metrics for social impact assessment, align goals and insights with other global initiatives, and embed social sustainability metrics in product design and decision making. The project consists of three phases: developing a handbook for social impact assessment, disseminating the handbook, and providing support for companies looking to integrate social metrics in their businesses.

The people participating in the Roundtable are thought leaders, involved in the implementation of social metrics at their respective companies. These frontrunners believe in the power of collaboration to create the sustainability metrics that will help companies design great products that can benefit us all.

This initiative was started by PRé and included seven companies at the start: Ahold, BASF, BMW Group, DSM, Goodyear, Philips, and Reckitt Benckiser. Five new members joined the group in the Roundtable Phase 2, contributing their knowledge and ideas, and increasing the diversity of the group: AkzoNobel, Corbion, L’Oréal, Marks & Spencer, and Steelcase.

Progress report

Phase 1: A harmonized method started to consolidate

Phase 1 was dedicated to learning and sharing best practices, and developing a harmonized social impact assessment method. It ended in August with the development of a draft handbook that includes harmonized methodology, social topics, and performance indicators. In preparation for Phase 2, the draft handbook was sent to experts at external organizations for feedback.

Phase 2: Refining and disseminating the handbook

Phase 2 started in October 2013. In this phase, the draft handbook will be refined based on the feedback received from external stakeholders in Phase 1 and new participants. This will make the final handbook even more valuable for companies, with more precise indicators, illustrations and clear guidance for doing the impact assessment. Phase 2 will also involve disseminating the handbook and reaching out to various external stakeholders, to maximize the visibility and traction of this initiative.

PRé will not claim ownership of the handbook, nor do we want to prescribe a standard. Our goal is to join forces with other initiatives to help this new, harmonized methodology reach the critical mass it needs to become broadly adopted.

Phase 3: Join the Roundtable to learn and contribute

Do you work with sustainability at a global company? Would you like to take part in a progressive and collaborative sustainability initiative and develop and implement social impact assessment? Then please consider joining the Roundtable for Social Metrics for Phase 3.

We believe this is a cutting-edge initiative that brings many benefits for the participating companies.

  • Deepen your expertise while developing your individual and company capabilities to implement product social metrics
  • Broaden your network by collaborating with frontrunners and by connecting to other initiatives
  • Facilitate positive change by implementing product social metrics and enhancing your sustainability programs and product development

If you would like to get more information on the Roundtable, the handbook, or how to join, please contact us or visit the project website

João Fontes


João Fontes joined the Consultancy team in 2008, focussing on social sustainability. He co-initiated the Roundtable for Product Social Metrics. João worked at PRé from 2008 to 2016.

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