Key Point 7: Social measurement

Key Message

What can you consider when reporting your social impacts?

  • Your internal workforce
  • Legacy created as a result of your event
  • Behaviour change (attendees, supply chain etc.)
  • Technological infrastructure
  • Sourcing strategies
  • Creation of jobs in the local area
  • Providing new skills for others
  • Accessibility

Fiona Pelham covers these areas in more detail, and you can read a transcript of the video below.

When reporting on social initiatives, there are lots of different areas you can focus on.

For example, your internal workforce; you could focus on the legacy that your event is going to bring in terms of behaviour change in your supply chain, behaviour change from the people that come to your events, legacy such as the physical building legacy which your event will be leaving, or technology infrastructure.

You may want to report on your sourcing strategies and how this may have changed your supply chain. How this may have generated increased jobs in the local area, or maybe provided training to people who have had work experience within your event who now have additional skills to be employed elsewhere.

When reporting on the social impacts of events you could also look at accessibility, how are people able to get to your event? Could people access the content of your event from other places in the world?

It’s important to remember when reporting on the social side of an event that there is much more to report on than just what happens at the event. It’s about legacy, it’s about sourcing, it’s about thinking of your event as a product, and it’s about remembering the communities that are involved in the creation and the delivery of your event.



Expressions of dissatisfaction, and the scale of this expression, from interested parties. This could be in the form of protests, marches, rallies or negative publicity. 


The effects that will last beyond your events. They can include physical and technological legacies as well as creating new skills and opportunities as a result of the event. 


Ensuring that there are no barriers that could prevent any of your interested parties from accessing products, services or events what they would wish to attend. The barriers could relate to physical or mental impairments, as well as cultural and socio-economic factors such as religion, poverty and employment status. 


Processes in place to obtain products or services, and the ways in which social, environmental and economic factors are taken into account within these processes. 


This presentation provides more detail about social measurement. You can view a summary of the presentation below.

Dissent, protests and incidents

This is an area that many organisations may not consider reporting on, but by including this information you are helping to create a balanced report and demonstrating your openness and transparency, as well as providing your perspective on the incidents. Dissent is basically any objections from interested parties, and can range from negative feedback and complaints, to protests and potentially damaging press coverage.

Firstly, you can report on the scale and type of protest; what actually happened? How many people were involved? What were the impacts of the protest or dissent – for example were there road closures for a march or rally? What measures did you take to engage with the interested parties and reduce the risk or the extent of the action? Had you already met with them to discuss options? How did you become aware of the objections? After the incident, you can report on what you plan to do in order to prevent this from happening in the future, and the outcome of the incident.

Injuries and fatalities

You should also be open about any injuries, fatalities or notifiable incidents related to your event. This is to encourage opportunities for learning and prevention of similar incidents in the future. So, what happened (how many injuries or fatalities were there?) and what was the background to why this happened? What are you now doing going forward to ensure that this does not happen again?

Anybody reading your reports year on year should then be able to see the processes and mechanisms that you have put in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of workers and attendees at your events.

Accessibility and social inclusion

This is an aspect that many event organisers already consider during their planning, and you can report on the steps that you have taken to make your event more accessible (some of these may seem obvious to you, but they may not be to everybody, so you can share best practice by reporting this).

When we say accessibility, we mean physical accessibility, for example ensuring that wheelchair users can get to all of the relevant areas of the event, but also accessibility in the non-physical sense – ensuring that all attendees and participants can access the event content, for example, those with hearing or sight problems, or learning difficulties. This aspect of accessibility can be overlooked, so if you can raise awareness by reporting and sharing any positive steps that you have taken. For example, have you provided sign language interpreters? Have you included information in different formats such as large print or braille?

You can also consider steps that you have taken to make your event more socially inclusive. Are there any groups in your interested parties who would like to attend the event, but would potentially not be able to because of financial or social considerations? For example, at London 2012, many of the residents in the local area were provided with free tickets to the Games which they may otherwise not have been able to afford or access. This step could also be relevant when considering any initiatives taken to reduce expressions of dissent or objections.

Sourcing strategies

What do you do around procurement to ensure that the social aspect of sustainability is covered as much as possible? This could include purchasing Fairtrade produce to ensure workers in developing countries receive a fair wage; it could include any processes that you have in place to check that your supply chain only employs people who are eligible, and that no child labour is used. This could also include employing people from the local area, or from companies who provide initiatives to take  on people from disadvantaged backgrounds or provide internships?

Legacy and knowledge transfer

Legacy can sometimes be a bit of a “buzzword” so a word which is used a lot in terms of what will happen after an event. Legacy and sustainability are closely linked as they both incorporate the idea that something is long-lasting and able to continue on its own after the event.

Consider what legacy your event could leave. For example, have you encouraged people to take up sport and therefore live healthier lifestyles? Have you made a positive contribution to the local economy? Have you provided employment for people and given them new skills?

You can also report on the knowledge transfer that occurred. For example, were you able to use your event to educate people on sustainability? This may not be through a formal education session, but could be through signs and information which explained why sustainability was important to you. What new information have people learned that they would not have known unless they attended your event?

You can also think about how you are going to share your learnings and initiatives around sustainability at your event (so your report in itself is a form of legacy and knowledge transfer).


Sustainability Report

London 2012 sponsors, Coca-Cola, have produced a report on their legacy in relation to the Games.

Coca-Cola Sustainability Report


Choose the categories that you will be reporting on. 

To produce a Level C GRI report you should report on 10 categories, or "indicators":

Social indicators

HR: Human Resources

LA: Labour

PR: Product Responsibility

Economic indicators:

EC: Economic

Environmental indicators:

EN: Environmental

Event Organizers Sector Supplement indicators:

EO: Event Organizers

Within your 10 indicators you should include at least one social (HR, LA, PR, SO) one economic (EC) and one environmental (EN) indicator. You should also include a minimum of 7 indicators that are not from the event sector supplement (i.e. that do not start with EO). 

Areas you could consider within social measurements are:

  • Percentage of your operations that have a community enagagement scheme, impact assessment or development programme (SO1)
  • Potential or actual objections from stakeholders and how this was managed (EO4)
  • Initiatives to create a socially inclusive (EO5) and accessible (EO6) event
  • Sustainability initiatives to raise awareness, share knowledge  or change behaviour, and their impacts (EO11)
  • Policies or processes for communicating sustainability information relating to events, products or services (PR3)
  • Incidents of discrimination and actions taken (HR4)
  • Average hours of training received by employees and volunteers (LA10)
Katy Carlisle