A social audit is a formal examination of an organization’s efforts, procedures, and code of conduct in terms of social responsibility and its impact on society. A social audit is an assessment of how well an organization meets its social responsibility goals or benchmarks.
Benefits of Social Audit
The audit can help businesses in determining whether they are meeting their objectives, which may include measurable goals and benchmarks. This allows an organization to determine whether its actions are being received positively or negatively, and it correlates that information to the company’s overall public image.
For many businesses, a positive public perception helps to foster a positive image of the company and, as a result, reduces the negative effects of bad press on earnings.
The social audit may cover the following scope:
- Environmental impact resulting from the company’s operations
- Transparency in reporting any issues regarding the effect on the public or environment.
- Accounting and financial transparency
- Community development and financial contributions
- Charitable giving
- Volunteer activity of employees
- Energy use or impact on footprint
- Work environment including safety, free of harassment, and equal opportunity
- Worker pay and benefits
- Nondiscriminatory practices
There are no pre-defined standards in a social audit. Organizations can choose whether to release the results of social audits publicly or only use them internally.