Arup is an independent firm, owned in trust for our members. We choose work where we can make a positive difference in the world. Founded to be both humane and excellent, we collaborate with our clients and partners using imagination, technology and rigour to shape a better world.

Social value is a concept that has been at the heart of our work since the firm was founded over 75 years ago. In the 1970 Key Speech, prepared by Sir Ove Arup, the importance of social usefulness was highlighted as one of the principal objectives of the firm alongside the importance of having a humanitarian attitude towards all of our work and our members.

Our Global Strategy

Arup’s global Sustainable Development strategy, endorsed by Arup Group Board has Social Value as a key tenet. Our work is driven by our overarching commitment to drive through and enact the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on projects and with our clients. This is how we will shape a better world.

Arup believes that social value is the enduring and systemic change created within communities that leads to improved quality of life and results in a more inclusive, equitable and just society. We apply our expertise, diversity of thinking and independence in our quest to deliver an impactful long-lasting legacy from our projects and a safe, sustainable and resilient future – for all.

Within our business, social value is delivered in three specific ways:

  1. through the responsible business agenda that Arup has adopted;
  2. client projects and the impact they can have; and
  3. our research, partnerships and thought leadership.

Responsible Business

Our responsible business activities are not limited to our businesses operations but extend across our value chain, to our suppliers, clients, partners, and local communities to generate social value.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Arup is committed to creating an inclusive working environment based on merit, fairness and respect. As a humane organisation, we embrace the skills, abilities and knowledge that only a diverse and inclusive workforce can provide, to create solutions, and give advice, that improves society as a whole. As a wholly independent organisation, we are owned in trust for the benefit of our employees. This allows us to determine our own direction and to make clear-sighted, thoughtful, long-term decisions about our priorities as a business and as a member of a sustainable society. Our approach to EDI means we aim to:

  • Treat everyone fairly, with dignity and respect as we would wish to be treated.
  • Maintain fair and honourable dealings with our people, where recognition, reward and opportunity reflect the ability, experience, and aspiration of the individual.
  • Create an environment that brings the best skills to our work, in which we value individual differences and recognise the contributions of all our people.

Supply Chain Management

We seek to improve the environmental, social and ethical performance of our business by addressing environmental, social and ethical issues in the procurement of our goods and services. We use our influence wherever possible to improve procurement performance by working proactively with the SME community and encouraging our supply chain to align their efforts with ours. Our approach to sustainable procurement aims to deliver the following in our supply chains:

  • Environmental Management.
  • Supply chain collaboration.
  • Supplier equality and diversity.
  • Support of fair practices.
  • Ethical trading.
  • Fair Employment Practices.
  • Community Benefit.

Living Wage Employer

As a Living Wage Employer, in its UK Operations Arup has committed to:

  • Pay the real UK or London Living Wage (as appropriate) to all of our directly employed staff over the age of 18.
  • Ensure that all of our third part contracted and sub-contracted regular, on-site staff are paid the real UK or London Living Wage (as appropriate).
  • Increase the wages of these employees and contracted staff to the Living Wage, if appropriate, within six months of any rise in the calculated Living Wage rates.

Community Engagement Programme

At Arup, we want to see a future that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient for all, and Community Engagement enables us to deliver tangible benefits to communities beyond our usual commercial projects. Our programmes help charities and local communities become more self-reliant, independent, and thrive through access to quality infrastructure, shelter, and opportunities that enable social mobility. By directing a portion of our income to our Community Engagement programme we aim to:

  • Enable Arup members to contribute their expertise and skills to under-served communities.
  • Deliver pro bono work through collaboration with our charitable partners.
  • Work in partnership to improve outcomes for vulnerable, marginalised and disadvantaged members of society.
  • Deliver a programme of activities that is inclusive, integrated, inspiring and impactful.
  • Use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) as a framework.

Arup Corporate Investments

Our policy is to ensure all our corporate investments help enable social and sustainable outcomes. We have transferred and vetted all our corporate investments, including the default Arup pension investments, to ensure they were contributed to socially and environmentally responsible funds.

Client Projects

We are committed as a firm to support all of our clients in delivering the very best social value outcomes on projects. We aim to apply the following principles to shape the delivery of projects:

  • Understand local context believing that this is key to help us to take tailored place-based approach.
  • Carry out a Local Needs Analysis (LNA) where we review local socio-economic data and local policies to identify how to effectively deliver social impact.
  • Identify local partners to collaborate with, enabling innovation and amplifying our contribution/commitments for key beneficiaries.
  • Work with clients to define the social value outputs and outcomes of their projects
  • Set out an approach that is applicable to every stage of a project lifecycle.
  • Articulate, measure and report on the social impact of the work that we do.

We will invest in learning and research to continually increase the knowledge and skills our people need to deliver social value.

Research, Skills, Partnerships and Thought Leadership

To stay relevant in a rapidly advancing market and to be market-leading in the delivery of social value, Arup invests in a Social Value Skills Network to develop the skills and expertise of our people and drive technical excellence, focussing on looking ahead and anticipating need to deliver better social value outcomes for our clients, our communities and our planet.

We invest in research with partners and academic to find innovative solutions, ensure best practice and contribute to the wider community and industry conversation on social value. Investing in this way is key to our success; social value is a fast-moving agenda, and it is important that we keep pace and continually share thought leadership.


This policy is set by the UK, India, Middle East and Africa Board for application to our UK operations only and is implemented in that geography through rules, procedures and guidance. Our policy is reviewed and approved annually, or more frequently if appropriate.

Our Executive Sponsor acts for Arup in the UK in ensuring that our policy is embedded and thatplans are developed and implemented to enable us to reach the aims set out in this policy. We will communicate our progress to our clients and stakeholders via our annual report.


Social Value Policy in the UK