Step 3: Results and interpretation

3.1 Referencing

The data are interpreted and put into context based on a reference.

  • Scales-based approach: the data are expressed in points, e.g. data are classified according to a reference scale.
  • Quantitative approach: quantitative data put into relation to a reference value.


The reference values and scales  can be based on:  industry average, target values, ethical minimums or optimum standards.To read more about how the referencing is done for the scales-based and quantitative approach click here.

The data from the data collection needs to be transferred to the referencing excel. One is available for the scales based and quantitative approach. After calculation this excel shows the contribution of each value chain actor to the social indicators.

Example scale-based case study |All data has been transferred to the referencing excel, showing the relative contribution of each value chain actor for the pair of shoes. click here to download the case study.

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3.2. Generating the scores

The results can be expressed on three levels:

  • Social topic scores
  • Stakeholders scores
  • Total social score

Please note that in the quantitative approach aggregation of performance indicators into social topic scores, stakeholder scores and total social score is only possible when comparing products or supply chains. For the quantitative approach aggregation is only possible in comparative assessments

The quantitative or scaled performance indicators are combined to produce social topic scores.The social topic score is calculated by average summing the performance indicators. Value-chain actors are not weighted.

Example scale-based case study |For the pair of shoes the social topic scores have been calculated. Click here to download the topic, stakeholder and weighted scores of the case study.

The social topic scores can undergo a weighting step. Weighting factors can be based, for instance, on public or expert opinion. Note that the handbook does not provide the weighting factors.
The social topic scores (weighted or unweighted) are average summed into stakeholder group scores. The stakeholder group scores are quantitative numbers.

The stakeholder group scores can undergo a second weighting step.The social topic scores (weighted or unweighted) are averaged into a total social score, which is a number.

A social executive summary has been created. This can be used to communicate the results and provides an overview of the results, graphs, and a summary of the goal and scope. A social executive summary has been created for bot the quantitative  and scales based approach.


Example scale based case study |  A social executive summary has been created from the case-study. Click here to access the social executive summary of the case-study.

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