Legacies that last: Creating social value through Australia’s infrastructure and built environment
The purpose of infrastructure is to enable people and communities to thrive. Infrastructure assets are enabled by people for people. Recognising this clear purpose, our sector has an opportunity to provide a foundation for cooperation, and the ability to bridge differences across diverse perspectives and backgrounds with shared respect.
The positive outcomes enabled by infrastructure assets have progressed beyond time, cost and quality – but not ubiquitously. Where the focus has shifted, the impact of short-term productivity gains is coupled with the broader community benefit over an assets longevity. Globally, the demand for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) returns is both investor-led and policy-driven. The beneficiaries of these returns however, remain deeply local which requires common frameworks rather than universal force, to guide the choices and actions we make so infrastructure delivers benefits for the people it serves.
At the Infrastructure Sustainability Council, our purpose is to ensure all infrastructure delivers social, cultural, environmental and economic benefit for a positive future for people, the planet and the economy. Like social value, we are anchored by people and place – we measure what matters.
Social value considers the unique challenges and opportunities of a particular place and the unique needs of the individuals that live within that place. It is these stakeholders that have the unique insight into local and community needs. The Infrastructure Sustainability Rating Scheme recognises that stakeholders are integral to delivering social outcomes. A principles-based approach recognises every infrastructure project is different.
Each project has different challenges and opportunities, as well as different stakeholders with different interests. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to engaging stakeholders to deliver social value — each interaction needs to be tailored.
It’s been our pleasure to partner with the specialists at WSP to deliver this social value thought-leadership insights paper. This is another important milestone as we accelerate social outcomes from infrastructure, across Australia and New Zealand.
The recommendations in this paper make clear that as individuals we each have a role, and together as a sector, we have the responsibility to lead with respect and learn through sharing. Together we can pick up the pace, build momentum and advance social outcomes across all infrastructure asset types. Infrastructure is at its core a network of networks that connects us all.
To read the paper, click below.