Guest blog: The Mutual Value Measurement Framework

Guest blog by Peter Hunt, Managing Partner, Mutuo

Guest blog by Peter Hunt, Managing Partner, Mutuo. This article was first published in Society Matters magazine.

We know that accounting rules and standards which concentrate on return on investment measures don’t tell the full story when it comes to relaying the value that mutual business creates for all stakeholders.

A team of researchers from Monash Business School in Australia worked with the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), the Australian industry association for mutuals, to develop a performance measurement framework that would work across different types of mutuals in a range of industry sectors.

They sought to capture the specific value that mutuals create through their purpose-led business activities that is often not measured or reported on. 

BCCM’s project led to the development of the Mutual Value Measurement (MVM) Framework, which enables a mutual to assess, measure, and report the mutual value resulting from its corporate purpose and activities for all stakeholders. It offers a common language and consistent framework for capturing the value that otherwise is difficult to express.

The MVM Framework has six dimensions which the research revealed as key areas in which mutuals create value. Here’s a brief explanation of each dimension:

  • Commerciality refers to the generation of sustainable economic value for current and future members through business operations.
  • Shaping markets is the value of a mutual’s existence in creating, maintaining or shaping sustainable and competitive markets for goods and services.
  • Member relationships looks at building and maintaining meaningful and sustainable relationships with members of the mutual.
  • Community relationships considers building and maintaining strong and sustainable relationships with the broader community beyond the members of the mutual.
  • Ecosystem and reciprocity is about how the mutual thrives alongside other stakeholders as part of a mutually beneficial economy and society.
  • Mutual mindset refers to how a mutual acts ethically, sustainably, and consistent with mutual values.  Through the focus on values, a mutual mindset enables each of the other five dimensions.

Some dimensions of mutual value cannot be measured by using only quantitative metrics. Qualitative information such as stories and testimonials are required and useful in measuring value. For example, measuring value in the mutual mindset dimension can only be effectively achieved by using stories and testimonials of corporate behaviours.

A number of mutual businesses have already applied the MVM Framework.  It has a range of applications and is particularly useful alongside strategic planning to help articulate the mutual difference.  By identifying measurable value, it has helped mutuals to engage better with customers, employees and other stakeholders and to track progress in these areas.

The Framework is particularly suited to helping a mutual to communicate its economic and social impact, and therefore builds a bridge to ESG reporting by providing a measurable and verifiable narrative of the additional value created through mutuality.  This aspect is likely to become increasingly important as corporates of all types seek to express a business purpose beyond merely rewarding investors.  It is essential that mutuals are not left behind, unable to articulate the importance of their different business purpose.

BCCM has now developed an accreditation scheme for mutuals that adopt the framework and a community of practice enables executives to share their experience and good practice with their peers.

To find out more about MVM, please take a look at https://bccm.coop/about/key-projects/mutual-value-measurement/

If you would like to talk about MVM and your business, please contact Peter Hunt: peter@mutuo.coop

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.