The rail industry's social value can now be measured, thanks to a new framework developed by RSSB and partners.
RSSB, in partnership with Action Sustainability, ARUP and Simetrica, has worked on creating a way for the UK rail industry to measure its social value, through the new 'Common Social Impact Framework for Rail'. This RSSB research pulls together a robust range of monetised, quantifiable and qualitative measures, that can be picked from and applied is a range of situations.
While we know rail is a 'social good', we don't clearly demonstrate its value and impact on the society, communities and people it serves. The GB rail industry has numerous economic performance measures, and is increasingly better at understanding its environmental performance, however, social sustainability is lagging behind and has limited metrics.
With sustainability becoming increasingly embedded within rail industry, for example with the likes of the Rail Carbon Tool now being commonly used to assess the carbon emissions of a project, it is important that a consistent approach for the whole rail industry is now introduced for social value.
Head of Sustainable Development Program, Anthony Perret, said: 'Social value is a key element of what the UK rail industry brings to the country. It is increasingly important that we develop a way of measuring this, in terms of reporting value to local stakeholders, the communities in which we work, and our customers. And also to industry funders such as the Department for Transport.'
The CSIF will provide the structure for the rail industry and its community rail partners to do more in terms of serving customers and communities, providing a consistent approach to understanding the implications of our activities, planning and delivering work.
The video below explains all about the social value framework.
RSSB hopes to see the framework being used by the whole of the UK rail industry, and as such will be hosting a webinar on 28 November to introduce the framework to the industry and to answer any questions you may have. Sign up for the webinar now.
Trials took place during the creation of the framework with a number of companies, one of which was SKANSKA.
On the Wessex Alliance project Peter Ives, Sustainability Manager for Skanska, has used the CSIF to engage the wider project team through a number of workshops to quantify the positive value the project has had using a number of key social indicators. The work at Wessex has also demonstrated how using social value indicators at an earlier stage could have informed decision making that would have enabled an even more positive outcome for society. This approach is completely attuned with Skanska's stated purpose of 'building for a better society'.
Speaking about the CSIF, Peter said, 'The framework has presented the rail industry with an opportunity to start reporting social value on a much more consistent basis.'
The framework is just the starting point for the social value journey that rail is going through. Network Rail are going to use the CSIF framework to develop a user-friendly tool so that they can start to better measure the social value of their operations and projects.