Uses of the Social Hotspots Database online portal and licenses

The SHDB can serve as a valuable tool to conduct risk assessments around complex social issues.

© Kate Holt/IRIN © Kate Holt/IRIN

It is a tool that supports not only supply chain managers, but has applications for policy-makers, development organizations, investors, and donors as well. This information is not produced to provide incentive to divestment in high risk regions. On the contrary, the data made available should direct attention to social issues that are in need of enhanced engagement.

Examples of SHDB applications are listed below:

  • Prioritize site-specific data collection and audits
  • Produce product category and commodity sustainability assessment
  • Inform Socially Responsible purchasing processes (e.g., questions to be asked when sourcing)
  • Advise investment opportunities
  • Provide perspective and context to site-specific assessment results and sustainability reporting
  • Develop sponsored programs designed to improve the social conditions of production
  • Communicate about governmental policy and programs
  • Assess/report on the scope of a certification or social footprint results
  • Educate about the social conditions of production.

In particular, recent applications of the SHDB by our users include:

✦ Project sustainability assessments: A UK university used it for a biorefinery sustainability assessment. A large number of consultants and academics located on 4 continents report using the SHDB portal in their projects.

✦ Supply chain social due diligence: The US Cradle to Cradle institute certification encourages participating companies to use the SHDB to conduct supply chain social risk reviews. 

✦ Trading partners sustainability performance assessment: An EU government agency is using the tool to perform an initial assessment.