‘ESG’ is the global buzz term referring to a framework used to measure impact by corporates and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). The  defining and adoption of metrics related to the ‘Environmental’ and ‘Governance’ metrics have benefited from decades of exploration, testing and adoption and much comfort now exists regarding their outputs. The ‘Social’ aspect, however, remains largely in the dark. This is because the clearly defined ‘E’ and ‘G’ are relatively easy to quantify, but by its nature, the ‘S’ is broad and vague. As a result, organisations have struggled to measure the impact of community engagement, human capital development and social responsibility initiatives, for example. This makes it difficult to create cohesive ESG reports that truly encapsulate their social impact. Even global reporting frameworks such as the UN Global Compact, and Global Reporting Initiative reporting standards lack detailed, standardised reporting for the ‘S’ metric. The ‘S’, therefore, is often overlooked.

Organisations are missing opportunities to attract investors, and corporates are unable to adequately demonstrate the kind of impact that can give them a competitive advantage. This includes enhancing customer loyalty; improving brand image and financial performance; and promoting sustainable operations.

In response to this, Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP) and Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator have collaborated to design a measurement tool that will enable NGOs, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs), youth forums and corporates across all sectors to measure and report on the ‘S’.

With a focus on youth employment, this tool is now available and will provide a standardised method of measuring and reporting. It will also identify gaps in youth employment programming to strengthen initiatives for youth employment and systems change in South Africa and beyond.

To create this tool, ADP and Harambee employed a two-pronged approach: primary and secondary research of both NGOs and corporates. We would love to thank our ecosystem partners who collaborated with us on the development of this framework.

The tool is now public and usable by any, and all, organisations implementing youth employment initiatives and can be downloaded. For any feedback and questions about the tool, please contact Victoria (victoriaj@harambee.co.za) or Guy (guy@harambee.co.za). t

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