The Economic Impact of BT – Social Study 2010

I know, I know, it isn’t too hot to write a blog post at the beginning of 2011 that refers to 2010, but this is what I want to write about so here goes………

In December, just squeezing it in before the end of the year, BT published a report called Social Study 2010 that reviewed the economic contribution of BT on the United Kingdom.  In my Four Dimensions model, this impact represents my first dimension of direct impact, and includes what Social Study 2010 calls direct, indirect and induced impacts.   Social Study 2010 uses jobs, output and an economic measure called Gross Value Added (GVA) as the measure of the companies’ contribution. (Value Added is also the key unit in our Climate Stabilization Intensity target).

The report identifies that across the UK BT has a total operating impact of 267,000 jobs, £37B output,  £12.6B GVA and £7.7B income.  This is summarized in the accompanying chart and a full description and breakdown by region is in the report itself.

I am sure there are alternative ways of calculating a company’s economic contribution to society, but what stands out to me is that the numbers are in the billions. With our community investment spend of 1% of pre-tax profits at £26.4M, it becomes clear that a company’s impact on society through its direct employment and through its suppliers is greater to a very significant order of magnitude than the impact it can have through its philanthropy.

And our employment and supplier spend does not even capture all of our social impact. The other three dimensions of the Four Dimensions model cover the impact of our products and services on society and the impact of our communications also.   In the ICT sector for example we need to consider the positive and negative impact of the digital world on supporting societal needs.

I welcome this report on BT’s direct economic impacts and its contribution to evaluating the overall impact of the company on society.  I would welcome your thoughts and comments too.

Does your company produce data like this?  How do you position and prioritize this economic impact on society with philanthropic and other community investment activities?

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