In the past decades, financial institutions have led the way for companies to adhere to international standards for social performance. The journey began in the Industrial Revolution, when negative societal business impacts rapidly escalated, which led people to demand for their management. Initially focused on working conditions, impacts on the environment soon started to gain notice. Halfway through the 20th century, a combination of oil spills and mass media attention generated enough public pressure for the United States to sign the first piece of legislation requiring the environmental impact assessment. With this law and its replication abroad, however, came the concern with social impacts as well. Both environmental and social performance expectations soon spread internationally and, by the 1980s, multilateral financial institutions, most prominently the World Bank, incorporated such considerations into their investment and lending practices, which is the source of all such international standards today. These standards require the establishment of a social management system to integrate risk and impact management processes and stakeholder engagement activities. Given the challenge of implementing these requirements, a social risk management development framework is proposed to bring together the extensive and multidisciplinary demands of effective social performance. Five development areas are proposed: governance, social policy, tools, resourcing and capacity, and knowledge sharing. This is an important step to take today as it is expected that the next decades will see these international demands increase, possibly by ever increasing governmental regulation.

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