Corporate Social Responsibility in South Africa and Ghana: a Comparison of Successes, Failures and Futures in a “Developed” and an “Undeveloped” African Country

Topics: Africa, Corporate social responsibility, Mining Pages: 8 (2650 words) Published: April 19, 2010
Corporate Social Responsibility in South Africa and Ghana: a comparison of successes, failures and futures in a “developed” and an “undeveloped” African country Few industries affect the social, economic and environmental sectors to the extent that the mining industry does. As minerals development expanded, so the international awareness of its impacts grew. Mining-related legislation, both internationally and nationally, has evolved significantly in the past two decades, actively aimed at ensuring Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), where companies are held accountable for their actions.In developing countries like South Africa and Ghana that are heavily dependent on gold trade and the associated international investment, the challenge is to ensure that environmental and social impacts of mining are mitigated, that non-renewable resources are converted into national wealth and that mining-generated revenue is claimed and disbursed. In this paper the evolution of CSR in South Africa, a more developed African Nation, and Ghana, a less developed African nation, are compared. Recommendations are made as to potential avenues for CSR progression. The objectives of international mining policy reform have changed dramatically in the past few decades. During the 1970s the aim of mining policy was to increase government control. During the 1980s the aims of reform became to increase investment and to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of mining. This was attempted through the Growth Employment and Reconstruction plan in SA (Fig, 2005), and the Economic Recovery Plan in Ghana (Hilson, 2002). Both plans advocated more privatization, trade liberalization and deregulation. Although the general international trend was to redefine the role of the state, particularly in industrial areas, the adoption of this ambition by African countries has proven detrimental. Biersteker (1990) argues that the reduction of the state greatly reduced its function to govern, particularly undercutting its regulatory ability, its function as a mediator in civil disputes and its ability to regulate and collaborate with the private sector. Campbell (2005) poses that this is because the legislative and regulatory reform adopted by many developing mining-dependent African countries during the past few decades has undermined the role of the state and has proved incompatible with the challenges of the countries concerned. This has impaired the ability of these governments to exert CSR pressure on mining companies. CSR in Africa has grown parallel to these changes in the role of the state, and international mining legislation has had varying impacts on SA and Ghanaian regulations. Despite being based on a non-renewable resource, the main theme in changing international legislation is that of sustainable development, particularly in developing countries in which a large percentage of mining is done by foreign companies. It is, however, the sovereign right of a state to exploit its natural resources. This sovereignty was vehemently upheld by post-colonial developing nations that rely on mineral resources, two prominent examples of which being SA and Ghana. It has become apparent, however, that mining has far-reaching impacts that often have transboundary degrading effects, resulting in international attempts at regulation. CSR in South Africa

The formal terms of CSR in SA were originally raised in 1972 and the view taken by many businesses was that they should not have to take responsibility for Apartheid, but should rather improve social standards within their respective businesses. These concepts were formalized in the Sullivan Principles, which were aimed at entrenching non-discrimination in the workplace into the core business activities, particularly in SA-based US companies (Visser, 2005). Although other CSR groups formed, like the Consultative Business Movement, the move away from philanthropy only really became evident after the first democratic...

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