corporate social investment (csi)

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) can be defined as an area of
management action which has developed in response to the changes
and demands of society at large and involves business, government, and
communities in the following areas:
 Socio-economic, ethical and moral responsibilities of companies;
 Compliance with legal and voluntary requirements for business and professional
practice; CSI/CSR now forms part of the BBBEE Scorecard and companies are able to
score points to enhance their ability to do business with government and others by
being ‘good’ corporate citizens;
 The company and its employees;
 The natural environment;
 The challenges posed by the needs of the economically management of business
Thus corporate social responsibility encompasses the responsibility of a
company to ensure it:
 Produces safe products for human use;
 Managers itself responsibly and to the advantage of its employees and society;
 Contributes to sustainable development of the natural environment;
 Contributes towards the development and upliftment of disadvantaged people;
 Is managed within the moral, ethical and legal frameworks and rules of society.
CSI itself is defined as funding, of, and involvement in, socio-economic
upliftment. It excludes employee benefits and sport sponsorships, and
usually concentrates on the following areas of involvement:
 Education;
 Housing;
 Health;
 Welfare;
 Job creation;
 Community development and empowerment;
 Small business development;
 Arts and culture;
 Environment conservation;
 Rural development.
CSI Trends
It has moved from voluntary philanthropic pursuit to one that is beginning to be
recognised as an important business consideration. CSI in South Africa is struggling
to find its place between the corporate and development spheres, and lacks capacity
to achieve meaningful developmental impact among beneficiary communities despite
the substantial financial resources pouring into it. In a loss situation companies do
not have the luxury of allocating funds they do not have and so CSI budget is the first
to be cut.
CSI Communication Strategy
 CSI programmes are expected to provide a return on investment (ROI) and also to
contribute towards the company‘s image in the marketplace objectives, it is essential
that CSI practitioners have a communications strategy in place that is aligned to the
programmes mission and strategic objectives.
Public Relations and CSI
 Discuss definitions(refer to guide)
 CSI forms a part of public relations. A public relations department established in any
organization, either in a corporate environment or in a Community Based
Organization (CBO) will be of tremendous advantage. CSI is one of the areas that falls
within the ambit of Public Relations. Communication plays an important role in public
relations and therefore the public relations practitioner must be able to utilize the
different methods of communication such as mass communication and public
 South African Companies Can Lead the Rest in CSI (refer to guide)
GREEN Public Relations
Green PR is a sub-field of public relations that communicates an organization's corporate
social responsibility or environmentally friendly practices to the public. The goal is to produce
increased brand awareness and improve the organization's reputation. Tactics include placing
news articles, winning awards, communicating with environmental groups and distributing
The term is derived from the "green movement", an ideology which seeks to minimize the
effect of human activity on the environment.
Today some of the buzz words among branded retailers in their advertising for their brand are:
Recycling, Go Green, the Green Bank, Green Technology and many other such words. Retailers
want to be seen as environmentally friendly and therefore they want embrace environmental
awareness. Stern & Ander (2008:31) states that ―Greentailing 2.0 is defined saving the
environment but places conscience retailer at the forefront of all business activities. This is
more than simply carrying green‖ products-it often involves substantial supply chain work to
meet green standards and ensure that green products can be competitive on the shelf.
Progressive Greentailers are leading the charge in proactively changing their business practices
to be more responsible global citizens.
Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers about an organisation‘s
environmentally friendly practices, products, or services. However, consumers are savvy
enough to catch on, especially if the message is inconsistent with the overall experience.
Watchdog groups monitor the sincerity in green messaging‖.
According to Stern & Ander (2008:40) ―while there are a number of ways to be green,
we believe there are four key elements of a successful Greentailer:
1. Think green:
2. Act green:
3. Sell green:
4. Convey green:
Greenwashing vs Sustainability
Green washing – making exaggerated environmental claims in order to curry
consumer favour is one of the banes of the sustainability community. When a
company that has been lauded for its environmental performance is revealed
to be engaging in environmentally dangerous practices it provide skeptics
with the fodder they need. Topics to be discussed (refer to guide)
 The Importance of Sustainability
 Green Marketing and Sustainability
 Research Showing the Extent and Power of Sustainability Reporting
 Research Showing the extent and Power of the ‘Green’ Market
 Third-Party Assessment and Standards
 Case study examples

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