Skanska: Using Skanska’s Accounting for Sustainability methodology to build real value

For the project level pilot study, the company decided to use a Social Return on Investment (SROI) calculation to analyse the social initiatives undertaken by Battersea Power Station’s Communities Team and Skanska on Phase 2 of the project. This included an employment for ex-offenders initiative, training programmes for apprentices, and a cycle safety campaign.  The SROI looked at the costs incurred (through inputs) and the benefits generated to society (through outcomes). The SROI methodology followed the “The Guide to Social Return on Investment” published by the UK Cabinet Office, with certain aspects tailored to the specificities of the Battersea Power Station project. 

There were a number of other specific value drivers for the approach including:

  • Fulfilling Skanska’s purpose, values and strategic plan
  • Demonstrating the company’s value to society
  • Supporting better decision-making
  • Understanding wider risks and opportunities
  • Improving the attractiveness of Skanska as an employer
  • Helping Skanska customers understand company impacts and make better decisions
  • Complying with legislation at a project level by demonstrating a social return on investment.
Natural Capital Protocol used
  • No
Organizational Focus
  • Project
Valuation Type
  • Monetary
  • Quantitative
Geographical Scope
  • United Kingdom
Social & Human Capital Issues
  • Employment & remuneration
  • Health, safety
  • Inclusion & diversity
  • Skills & knowledge
Value Chain Boundary
  • Direct operations
  • Construction and Real Estate

Key findings

The results of SROI revealed that for every £1 invested in social initiatives, there is a £8.29 gain to society. As an example, to calculate the SROI of the apprenticeship programme, the company captured the time and value spent by Battersea Power Station and Skanska employees on the programme and the added benefit of each apprentice to society. The methodology was based on a cost-benefit analysis of apprenticeships conducted by the University of Sheffield.

The assessment results were audited by Skanska’s finance department, which revealed that the quality of the social and environmental data could be improved, especially when compared with more established financial metrics. This internal audit provided useful feedback on processes that require improvement before making data publicly available.

To address data challenges, the company has developed a 2020 data strategy. Part of the strategy will bring the A4S initiative closer with the work of the IT department, in order to understand and apply principles of effective data management. Some examples of data management principles in the Skanska 2020 data strategy include:

  • Data sources and ownership: Identifying the most appropriate sources of data for the appropriate use, taking into account the quality of different sources and future risks to data availability.
  • Data modelling: Mapping the sources, flows and storage of different metrics to start to identify inefficiencies and risk of error in the data management and reporting process.
  • Data lifecycle management: Using data mapping to identify the value data assets has throughout their lifecycle (from creation, to management, use and deletion).
  • Data Governance: Appropriate governance of data creation, replication, management, usage, and deletion.

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