Using the Social Progress Index

Working together to drive progress

Business has an important role to play in driving true growth, but it cannot, and should not, do it alone. The Social Progress Index acts as a road map to guide policy makers and business leaders’ investment, collaboration and resourcing decisions.

Opportunities overview

The annual global Social Progress Index, as well as regional, municipal, and community sub-national social progress indices, provide a number of routes for organizations to engage with social progress. A Social Progress Index can identify the areas of social progress that need the most focus by a client, across any sector. Actions may range from investment and social impact projects, to analyzing which elements of risk to mitigate or investigate further. They can:

  • Create frameworks to help organizations measure their societal impact in order to identify social investment priorities e.g. SPI’s work with Coca Cola and Natura in the Amazon
  • Guide decisions regarding the UN Sustainable Development Goals, examining priority areas for investment and measurement of contributions. For more information see Deloitte’s report on the SDGs, ‘Social Progress in 2030’.
  • Support strategic choices such as market entry and the mitigation of supply chain risk. For more information see our ‘FDI and Inclusive Growth’ report, which explores where and how social progress can be used as a determining factor in these scenarios.
  • Provide an independent benchmark within societies around which to create and engage ecosystems such as local Social Progress Networks.
  • Help governments use social progress as a tool to attract Foreign Direct Investment and drive development. For more information see our ‘FDI and Inclusive Growth’ report, which looks at the relationship between social progress and Foreign Direct Investment.

Sub-national indices

As well as providing a global overview of social progress at a national level using the Social Progress Index, SPI’s comprehensive and flexible methodology can be used to provide tailored, granular insight into the performance of regions, cities and even communities.

Examples of sub-national indices:
  • Regional indices: 
    • The EU Regional Social Progress Index reveals the different levels of societal wellbeing across the 272 NUTS-2 regions of the European Union. This will give the EU Commission a holistic view of performance, informing regional development strategies and allowing best practice to be shared across comparable regions. The beta version was released for comment ahead of its official launch by the Commission in October 2016.
    • The Índice de Progreso Social Cantonal (Social Progress Index for Cantons of Costa Rica) maps the social performance in each of Costa Rica’s 81 cantons. Supported by the Presidential Council on Innovation and Talent, its purpose is to facilitate communication across sectors about public-private interventions, and promote human development, social progress, competitiveness, and social innovation in the country. Each canton can more effectively prioritize its activities, co-ordinate with the central government, share learnings with other comparable cantons, and create partnerships to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. This sub-national Index also provides a public database that empowers civil society with analysis relevant to each canton, improving the transparency of both data and government decisions.
  • City indices: Two types of pioneering cities index have been developed in Colombia. By measuring the social progress of 14 Colombia cities over the course of 5 years, and then within the capital Bogota itself, a powerful data-set has emerged. A joint project between non-profit groups and business, with a strong interest from government, this work has brought sectors together round the table to discuss how to collectively drive social progress.
  • Community indices: Natura and Coca Cola, used a sub-national index to measure and enhance their social impact. They created an index for local communities in the Amazon region of Brazil, using the social progress framework and polling data collected by IPSOS Mori, focusing on areas that were critical to a product in their supply chain. They used the results to ensure their CSR programs were addressing the right challenges, identified new areas in which to advance progress and developed strong links with local government, community leaders and regional non-profits.

These indices can identify the areas of social progress that need the most focus by a client, across any sector. Actions may range from investment and social impact projects, to analysing which elements of risk to mitigate or investigate further.

"It is a great honor for Deloitte to contribute to the efforts involving Social Progress Imperative in Brazil. More than mature economies, emerging countries demand new ways to measure their social development standards.”

Juarez Lopes de Araújo
CEO, Deloitte Brazil

Local Social Progress Networks

The complexity of the big societal challenges demands collaboration. Private, public, and civil sectors must work together to drive social progress.

The Social Progress Index can act as a catalyst. At the national and local level, the Index’s results are bringing together business, government, and civil society to find innovative solutions to societal challenges.

Deloitte is taking a key role, bringing together clients and stakeholders to influence the global debate on how we measure what matter most, holding client events that range from c-suite round-tables to workshops on SPI’s methodology.

Deloitte Member firms are part of national Social Progress Networks in a number of countries. These organizations bring together non-profits, government bodies, multinational corporations, and academic institutions to address social progress at the national, regional or local level.

Using the Social Progress framework, parties from business, government and civil society are able to identify the best available, and best suited, indicators, to measure local wellbeing, focusing on the things that truly matter to their community, city or region.

Having built a localised social progress index, the Social Progress Network can concentrate on using their ecosystem to target further research, promote awareness, engage additional collaborators, raise investment or deliver projects in the key areas of weakness highlighted by the Index.  

Local Action Builds on the Social Progress Framework

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