Companies and Social Responsibility

The days when companies lived in isolation from the community are gone. Profit making schemes that rob the public of their well-being and land are slowly coming to an end. The terms Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Corporate Social Investment (CSI) are used interchangeably. The responsibility refers to a factory not dumping waste in the rivers around it for example and investment refers to a contribution to the community. Why is it even important? Should we even expect companies to donate and take the well-being of the communities they do business in into consideration when they conduct their affairs? Looking at the values statements of most companies, one thing is always evident. The word profit seldom arises; rather their values are phrased in being the best in a certain area, or being the centre of a certain industry etc. Included in these value systems is a responsibility to customer and community care. As active citizens we should hold them accountable to this promise as this is what they sell as a brand. Why? Most corporate stock is not valued at what the company assets/liabilities/profits are. There is always an added value due to market share and customer loyalty. The companies that have embraced the concept of CSI and CSR have benefited considerably as it has given them an advantage towards formulating strategy. Every sector of business has a drafted charter guiding what each company can do. Telecommunications, energy, finance and mining all have drafted charters. If a business has no CSR or CSI in society, the licence of operating their business (public listed) is either reduced or limited when comparing it to that of a company embracing CSR & CSI. BEE is a good example of this; where procurement of resources is first considered for companies embracing CSI and then the rest are considered. CSR and CSI involve funding that can be used for poverty eradication and social upliftment, so feeding another fat BEE cat doesn’t count. Who are the top businesseses in terms of CSI? Here’s the Top 10: 1. Anglo Platinum 175.8 million ZAR 2. Anglo American 160.5 million ZAR 3. Standard Bank 93 million ZAR 4. Sasol 90 million ZAR 5. First Rand Foundation 87.9 million ZAR 6. Kumba Iron Ore 79 million ZAR 7. MTN 74 million ZAR 8. ABSA 72 million ZAR 9. Eskom Foundation 69.8 million ZAR 10. Vodacom 65 million ZAR

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