Social investment : The fundamentals of CSR


By Ayodele Alofe

The latest buzzword in the business world is CSR, CSR, and still more CSR. This acronym stands for Corporate Social Responsibility. It’s the way the titanic conglomerates, not so gigantic medium and small companies try and ‘give back’ to the various communities that host them. They want to improve the conditions of the location, or the people that reside there. We could also say, that they want to make an impact or impression on the environs, so that they will be known for doing good and hopefully, will not be found wanting.

The projects for giving back to these locales are as varied as the companies are diverse. Companies in the manufacturing, food and beverage, telecommunications, banking and financial services, pharmaceutical, the health service, oil and gas (both upstream and downstream are not left out!) and we also have faith-based organisations casting in their lot as well. It must be noted that these players take their commitment seriously and will go to varying lengths to announce the projects they have endorsed, committed to implementing, commissioned and completed.

A full page advertisement in the newspapers, notable mention and video clips of the event on prominent television stations, are just a few of the ways that they ensure that their corporate responsibility is heralded to the world. This is not a bad thing and like all systems that work, it should be a symbiotic relationship between the host community and corporations that operate there.

When the business entity made it’s advent into the community, it was announced one way or the other, and as such when it decides to invest where it previously had only a commercial interest it should also be trumpeted, because this means that the relationship has evolved to the advantage of both parties.

Education, health, poverty alleviation, HIV/AIDS, youth empowerment, are just some of the projects that are making their mark in various societies.

Sometimes, a combination of a few of the aforementioned is incorporated into a project at different stages of its implementation. The youth, very young children, women, men, and even the elderly are not left out of the drive to improve the quality of life they presently enjoy.

A productive way is found for the youth to utilise their time, immunisation and other health care may be devised for the children and their mothers; health-care management and provision of attendant services for the elderly, destitute and widows. As stated earlier making a mark takes different routes. In all the betterment of the society and the people from which they benefit is the driving force of these corporate citizens.

Self-enlightenment or interest is the driving force behind these projects, after all, how can you benefit from your operational environs when there’s deterioration in these conditions. Ultimately, one or both of the entities in the situation suffers and most likely may cease to exist in their original form in that location. Thus, investing in communities and people ensures the longevity of the companies and their structures, whilst serving the community that accommodates them.

Although companies have demonstrated their willingness to be accountable and correspondingly dependable, they have also made themselves vulnerable at the selfsame time. This is because with their investment in these local communities, they have taken identified and acknowledged that they will no longer be passive and content to watch things happen, but will be involved in making them happen. It thus, behoves them to ensure that the CSR projects that they commission and implement in different locations, be sustainable.

Merely donating expensive equipment, or building different infrastructures that cannot be locally maintained by the materials sourced from that community or its immediate environs should not be initiated at all. This means that adequate research into what benefits can be derived from a particular scheme and also how these benefits can be optimised should be of utmost consideration when our able corporate citizens seek to demonstrate their largesse once more, after all that is part of being a responsible corporate entity in the society.

( Sourced from 234NEXT )

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