Why corporate social responsibility is a must for South African businesses
Updated: May 11, 2020
What is corporate social responsibility (CSR) and why is it so important for businesses to include CSR as part of their brand strategy? We’re taking a deep dive into the ins and outs of corporate citizenship and how it contributes to building a bright future for South Africa.
The discussion around corporate citizenship and responsible business practices isn’t new to South Africa. Just look at recent events, like Steinhoff finding themselves under the microscope for a series of governance-related scandals. Such events reiterate the importance of corporate governance and reputation.
A great way to improve your corporate reputation is by participating in corporate social responsibility initiatives and volunteer programmes.
What is corporate social responsibility?
In a nutshell, CSR is a broad term which describes a business’ efforts to uplift or improve society. As a philosophy, CSR maintains that businesses are members of the society they operate in (corporate citizens), and are therefore accountable to society for their actions.
CSR ensures that companies conduct business ethically and responsibly.
This means that you need to consider the impact of you business operations on society, including things like:
Your company’s carbon footprint and environmental impact
Your company’s impact on the South African economy
Human rights and the promotion of positive change (e.g. addressing cultural and social issues)
The importance of corporate social responsibility and investment
Corporate governance and ethical leadership in South Africa
Corporate governance ensures both profit and non-profit organisations operate with honesty and transparency to avoid corruption.
The King Committee, established by the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) in 1993, is responsible for driving ethical business practices. They drafted the King Code and King Reports to form an inclusive approach to corporate governance.
King IV is the latest revision of the King Report, having taken effect on 1 April 2017. King IV serves to foster greater transparency in business. It holds an organisation’s governing body and stakeholders accountable for their decisions. As of 1 November 2017, it’s mandatory for all businesses listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to be King IV compliant.
King IV on corporate citizenship
“ Organisations operate in a societal context which they affect and by which they are affected.
An organisation has a society specific to itself, which includes its internal and external stakeholders with a material stake in its activities. But the organisation is also a juristic person in the broader society in which it operates. Organisations are dependent on this broader society to, for instance, provide a conducive operating environment, a viable customer base and the skills that the organisation requires. In turn, organisations contribute to the broader society as creators of wealth; providers of goods, services and employment; contributors to the fiscus; and developers of human capital.
This idea of interdependence between organisations and society is supported by the African concept of Ubuntu or Botho, captured by the expressions uMuntu ngumuntu ngabantu and Motho ke motho ka batho - I am because you are; you are because we are. Ubuntu and Botho imply that there should be a common purpose to all human endeavors (including corporate endeavors) which is based on service to humanity.
As a logical consequence of this interdependence, one person benefits by serving another. This is also true for a juristic person, which benefits itself by serving its own society of internal and external stakeholders, as well as the broader society.
In line with this ethos, organisations should also take responsibility for the environmental outcomes of their activities and outputs, as those affect society as a whole.”
This means CSR and CSI initiatives are no longer just ‘nice to haves’ - they’re absolutely essential to your brand strategy.
Stakeholders (including potential employees and customers) expect brands to be actively involved in CSR/CSI initiatives that promote sustainable development and serve to uplift the community.
Call 2 Care’s iGardi projects educate and empower underprivileged communities to produce drought-resistant vegetable gardens that supply the community with sustainable access to a nutritional food supply.
Making community development part of your corporate culture
Many people find the thought of CSR daunting, as they’re not 100% sure how it works. There’s a common misconception that all CSR requires a long-term financial commitment to a cause. This is a huge undertaking, as it requires dedicated time and resources on an ongoing basis.
While this is true for certain types of CSR/CSI initiatives, there are other ways to make community development part of your corporate culture.
We create opportunities for corporate volunteers to make a difference.
Call 2 Care makes it simple for you to make a sustainable difference to the vulnerable communities in our care. All of our CSR initiatives are supported by our team, to ensure sustainability and success. Our CSR initiatives include once off and regular corporate volunteer programmes, run in collaboration with organisations such as Sage, Pentravel and MiX Telematics. Participating in these corporate volunteer events leaves employees feeling positively charged, in exchange for a nominal fee to cover running costs of the event.
Treat your staff and customers to the experience of a lifetime
If you’re looking for a fun, short-term way to make a difference, you can always take part in one of our corporate social events.
Call 2 Care’s Paint & Sip events combine good food, good wine and good people, all for a good cause. The proceeds from these events are used to fund our community development projects (including the iGardi project, Philile project and Community Chef).
Uncork your creativity as a professional South African artist guides you through the steps to create your own masterpiece. We host monthly events at leading venues, as well as offering private and corporate Paint & Sip events tailored to suit your needs.
Paint & Sip events are designed for all artistic levels - from those who haven't picked up a paint brush before, to advanced artists.
Our formula is simple: the more you sip, the easier it gets!
Combining corporate entertainment and CSR is a unique way to delight your staff, customers and other stakeholders, while simultaneously giving back to your community.
Contact us to find out more about Paint & Sip and our other CSR/CSI packages.