May 11, 2012
Corporate responsibility centre aims to boost developmentBack
Expertise|Africa|Industrial|Projects|Resources|Africa|Germany|South Africa|Collaboration Services|Achieng Ojwang|Jocelyn Vass|Matthias Boddenberg|Mvozo Mtyhobile|Peter Conze|Power|Silke Partner|Stephan Ohme
© Reuse this
“Companies have to contribute to this type of development and, worldwide, they are striving to make their business decisions more sustainable by applying the concept of social responsibility,” he explained.
“Enterprises and the economy by themselves will not solve social issues and the link, or bridge, to bring citizens into the economy is important for development,” noted Stephan Ohme, the development cooperation counsellor at the German embassy in South Africa.
“We want to bring companies into a CSR framework. We also need them, other- wise we cannot reach the communities and, from a State point of view, we cannot attain certain social effects unless we have companies engaging in strategic CSR,” he said.
The centre will pool the resources and expand collaboration of companies around CSR initiatives, aiming to deepen the socioeconomic impact of such projects.
United Nations member States, including South Africa, signed the UN Global Compact, which is a strategic policy initiative for businesses, States and organisations, committing them to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universal principles. Specifically, this is interpreted as indicating that companies and organisations have an inherent responsibility to the communities and societies they function in.
“Every business works in a special setting in a specific community and, with that, has a certain responsibility,” said centre manager Silke Partner.
“With the centre, we can bring together a more systematic approach to support member companies and the SAGCC,” she explained.
Further, CSR falls under the bigger umbrella of sustainability, and this is where the centre will provide support, information and collaboration services to interested companies.
“The centre is well placed to make a systemic difference. It was set up to ensure that German companies in South Africa develop a comprehensive and holistic strategy on how CSR is implemented, and where they can pool resources, experience and expertise to make a real and sustainable change in the country,” said South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) chief director Jocelyn Vass.
However, while corporate social invest- ment was commendable, companies should rather use their expertise to develop individuals and enterprises, she said.
“Companies also have inherent areas of competence and it is this expertise that must be incorporated into their core business strategies around CSR.
“For me, that is one of the significant areas where the centre can play a role, as well as through companies’ supply chains and value chains, where small, medium-sized and microenterprises and black industrialists can be nurtured and developed. “To what extent are you using your core competence to drive sustainable change through social responsibility?” she asked.
Further, the coordination of corporate and governmental efforts around CSR and the pooling of resources are critical to making a systemic difference in South Africa, she said.
The platforms provided by CSR working groups, and the CSR Competence Centre, in particular, are to enable business to start advancing sustainability as an ini- tiative that makes business sense. CSR should be incorporated into the corporate culture and should form part of any corporate strategy and should be linked to the bottom line, emphasised CSR advocacy organisation National Business Initiative programme manager Achieng Ojwang.
“We need to focus on activities that give people the potential to generate income for themselves, and they should be sector- specific and targeted initiatives. “Specifically, under the latest Industrial Policy Action Plan, we must concentrate on activities that can increase the employability and earning power of beneficiaries,” said DTI black economic-empowerment transformation director Mvozo Mtyhobile.
“Key here is targeted skills transfer – technological and innovative activities that will improve people’s lives and enable them to develop themselves,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, the role of training in CSR and similar initiatives was expected to develop and contribute to creating a stable society that could then further develop, concluded SAGCC CE Matthias Boddenberg.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Labour and Skills Development News
Article contains comments
Updated 5 hours ago Construction, mining, development and engineering group Basil Read on Thursday announced that it expected a loss a share for the six months ended June 30, of between 131.18c and 160.33c, compared with the 198.28c earnings a share in the prior corresponding period....
Updated 5 hours ago JSE-listed Group Five on Thursday said it had secured a three-year R4-billion engineering, procurement and construction contract for the design and build of a 350 MW gas- and oil-fired combined cycle power plant in Ghana. Ghana-based Cenpower Generation would issue...
Updated 5 hours ago The East London industrial development zone (Elidz) on Thursday afternoon officially launched its Science and Technology Park (STP), which is aimed at speeding up the pace of economic development in the Eastern Cape. The STP’s location within the Elidz was expected...
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
The Built Environment unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a cost-competitive ultrathin concrete pavement surface that, for the upgrading of unpaved roads to paved roads, is more durable than many other pavement alternatives...
The Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), based at Sutherland in the Karoo region in the Northern Cape province, is promising to become an important instrument for research into dark matter. "SALT is shaping up to be very important for answering questions about...
The South African tool, die and mouldmaking (TDM) industry is being revitalised to locally produce the tools, dies, moulds and fixtures required by the manufacturing sector. Local TDM capability is key to enable the manufacturing industry to remain competitive, says...
Misfortune often finds its roots in the smallest of things. Such as a centimetre or two. Or is that in inch? Perhaps a foot? Swedish or Dutch? The French had reason to blush in May as it became apparent that national rail operator SNCF had ordered 2 000 trains that...
The repositioning of the Fibre Processing & Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M Seta) and its business processes will ensure improved performance in reaching strategic targets and in providing customer service.