Guidelines for Social Return on Investment

by Alison Lingane, Sara Olsen



This article presents ten standard guidelines for the calculation of social return on investment (SROI)-quantitative summaries of companies' social and environmental impacts, actual or projected. SROI is a technique for summarizing the value of companies' environmental and social benefits in terms of a dollar value equivalent. Using data and examples from 88 actual business plans, this article discusses common errors in such assessments and makes recommendations for standardizing them. The aim is to make SROI metrics more comprehensive, credible, and useful for entrepreneurs, managers, and analysts. Such a common framework would also enable investors to compare the social impact of different firms within the same industry.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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