Sustainability mirrored in Corporate Social Responsibility

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Sustainability mirrored in Corporate Social Responsibility

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Written by: Nthabiseng Debeila (DBA Candidate)

Every so often, the challenges of society creep into the corporate agenda. Perhaps it is because, in the first instance, corporates aim to meet the needs and wants of consumers through providing products and services. Although corporates are required to cater to consumers, they need to do so by (1) using resources sustainably, (2) considering the unequal society in which they operate, and (3) governing their operations with the King IV code.

Corporates operate in a sphere in which there are expectations from internal and external stakeholders to entrench corporate operations in a way that will benefit society. Thus, the underpinning principle of sustainability requires today’s operations to not cause tomorrow’s operations to diminish or not be realised. Therefore, by extrapolation, corporates have a social responsibility that goes beyond philanthropic endeavours.

When considering the South African context, one can see various social ills being depicted, especially in the recent spate of unrest in the country. These events highlight the abovementioned inequality and an urgent need to fast-track the National Development Plan (NDP), which supports the efforts of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Besides the government, corporates will therefore now, more than ever, be required to ensure that their operations are yielding impactful support in the communities in which they operate.

At this point, one may ask: what is the way forward? To answer this question, we must keep in mind that the operations of corporates are mirrored by the quality of the air we breathe, the over-exploitation of resources and socio-economic needs, and the deterioration in governance structures. As such, corporates need to sustainably mirror their environmental, social and governance considerations, to ensure that both internal and external stakeholders are well catered for.

 

30 Aug 2021