May 11, 2012
Corporate responsibility centre aims to boost developmentBack
Expertise|Africa|Industrial|Projects|Resources|Sustainable|Training|Africa|Germany|South Africa|Collaboration Services|Services|Achieng Ojwang|Jocelyn Vass|Matthias Boddenberg|Mvozo Mtyhobile|Peter Conze|Power|Silke Partner|Stephan Ohme|Operations
© 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)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
Other Macro and Micro News
The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has, since its inception in 2005, approved funding of R6.6-billion in 688 transactions, supporting over 82 900 jobs. Nearly R4.6-billion had been disbursed to companies, while over R1-billion had been repaid by investees.
South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago believes the reaction of the rand to a possible hike in interest rates by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) in mid-December could be “exaggerated”, but says the bank has no plans intervene in support of the currency....
A slow and gradual normalisation of US monetary policy, on its own, does not need to be negative for South Africa, the South African Reserve Bank's deputy governor Francois Groepe said on Friday. In a speech posted on the central bank website, Groepe also said flows...
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 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 infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
The BMW Group will invest R6-billion at BMW Group South Africa’s (BMW SA’s) Rosslyn plant to produce the next-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle (SAV) for the local and export markets. Rosslyn will continue production of the current 3 Series through its lifecycle,...
The lack of consequences for poor performance and transgressions on the part of contractors remains a significant hurdle to tackling South Africa’s service delivery challenges, delegates heard at the Consulting Engineers South Africa Infrastructure Indaba, on...
City of Ekurhuleni executive mayor Mondli Gungubele earlier this month officially named the city’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, Harambee.
About 58% of unstructured data stored by companies is dark data, which means that the value or regulatory importance of the data has not been determined. Subsequently, most of the stored data add costs, rather than increasing revenue or reduce regulatory risks, says...
Effective logistics, import/export and manufacturing consulting services require detailed industry knowledge and experience, but can add significant value to these industries by providing expert advice on various technical elements in their value chains, says...