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MEDIA RELEASE BY IAOS - Johannesburg 7 August 2013

A South African first: internationally accredited methodology for CSR measurement

In a South African first, a new move brings internationally accredited methodology to corporate social responsibility (CSR) measurement for business. The management advantages aside, this also heralds opportunities for objective analysis and comparisons between companies and sectors. IQ Business, the leading, independent management consulting firm in South Africa, acquired 50% of IAOS, a niche consulting company focusing on the measurement and optimisation of CSR and enterprise development (ED). As a result, IAOS steps out of the pilot-testing phase and relocates to the IQ Business Park in Rivonia to combine forces.

Furthermore, IQ through IAOS is set to host the first SROI (Social Return on Investment) accredited training programme in South Africa launching next week.

"Companies really can achieve long-term sustainable impact through improved employee engagement and meaningful change in the communities in which they operate. The problem, to date, though is CSR spend has been too woolly and unfocussed", says Stephen Smith, CEO of IAOS. "Our expertise is to introduce objective measurement a total game changer.

The process we use is the globally accredited best practice methodology that measures the social, economic and environmental impact of an initiative in both financial and qualitative terms. IAOS is now the only South African company accredited in this approach.

Also, traditionally, the 1% credit of net profit becomes the focal point of any scrutiny on corporate social spend. But the 3% offered for enterprise development is traditionally spent haphazardly and ineffectually. SROI brings new clarity and measurement to this murky arena too."

Stephen Smith, CEO of IAOS, has over 20 years experience in strategy and organisational transformation. He spent 13 years with a global consulting business where he created one of the foremost organisational and transformation consulting capabilities in the country.

Adam Craker, CEO of IQBusiness, explained "Joining forces with IAOS was an obvious step enabling us to support our clients' needs as well as augmenting our own CSR strategy through the IQ Foundation. CSR, and in particular enterprise development initiatives, are priorities for our clients and their stakeholders and, understandably, they are demanding both greater transparency and optimisation of the R6.8bn CSR spend in South Africa.

In order to enhance the SROI concept and methodology in South Africa, IAOS has partnered with Jeremy Nicholls, the chief executive of the international Social Return on Investment (SROI) Network and the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) to host the first SROI accredited training programme in South Africa. Details of the events are available on the IQ Business website.

According to Jeremy Nicholls, "The growing importance for tangible evidence regarding social and environmental value is now a bigger issue than ever before, not just for organisations outwardly seeking to affect change in society, but for any organisation or individual who wishes to be accountable for their work. The Social Return on Investment methodology is internationally recognised as one of the leading methods to attribute value to the intangible benefits of social and development work."