Volume 1 – 2019
La responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE) est en pleine croissance dans le monde des affaires d’aujourd’hui, car les organisations et les entreprises sont forcées de montrer que leur entreprise représente quelque chose de plus que la simple réalisation de bénéfices et que leurs activités ajoutent une certaine valeur, ou du moins n’affectent pas négativement la communauté qui les entoure. Cependant, les entreprises sont souvent amenées à s’engager pleinement dans la plupart des défis mondiaux, y compris la pauvreté, le changement climatique et d’autres encore, en soutenant davantage la réalisation des objectifs du développement durable (ODD). Par conséquent, on attend de plus en plus de ces entreprises et organisations qu’elles prennent en compte l’impact social et environnemental de leurs activités. Cet article cherche à étudier le potentiel des pratiques de la RSE des entreprises et organisations des pays francophones d’Afrique subsaharienne pour s’adapter à l’Agenda du développement durable. Ce document présente un changement de perception de la RSE et des Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) basés sur l’approche du Mouvement Vert vis-à-vis des entreprises du 21ème siècle ; répondre pleinement au développement durable pour stimuler l’industrialisation et augmenter la capacité de production ; améliorer la réforme politique pour promouvoir les industries vertes, qui encourage la société à faire des transactions commerciales vertes. L’introduction de la redéfinition du concept de « Panafricain » pour faciliter la mise en œuvre effective de la RSE par les entreprises.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is fast growing in the corporate world today as organizations and companies are forced to show that their business stands for something more than just making profits and that their activities add some value, or at least do not negatively affect the community around them. However, companies are now often expected to fully engage in addressing most of the global challenges, including poverty, climate change and others, given a greater support to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, increasing expectations are placed on these companies and organizations in addressing the social and environmental impact on their activities. This paper seeks to investigate the potential of CSR practises of companies and organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa French-speaking countries, to adapt to Sustainable Development Agenda. This paper presents a change in perception for CSR and the (SDGs based on the Green Movement approach to 21st-century business; respond fully to sustainable development to stimulate industrialization and increase production capacity; improve policy reform to promote green industries, which encourages the society to make Green purchases. The introduction of the redefinition of the concept of “Pan-African” to facilitate the effective implementation of CSR by companies.
Résumé (bulu) :
Ñyaéan kom ô ne éyalane jia ya beta be mam ba sili émo minlañ melu ma. Wo liti minsoñan mi ñyaéan kom a zen ya belan mefulu ya Responsabilité Sociale des Entreprises(RSE) e beta menda bisaé me ne éfus afilika, ya sahara nké. Minkañete mi a liti na RSE a nga téban amu bôt be nga fas na bôt bisaé be bili meyoñ me bôt mvôla. Mintilan ya melu ma mi a liti na RSE a tu‘a ki tôé metiñ m’a tinane a mvo’é môt binam, éfus afilika é ne nké sahara. Fulu RSE é ne na beta menda bisaé me ve mebien asu mvo’é meyoñ me bôt, mvo’é ya émo minlañ , a mebu’uban. Ve jam da, njuk ô ne na éfus afilika é ne nké sahara, te ke mfañ ayemé d’aliti mfefé nta’an mam y’éjoé ô ne volô na menda bisaé me sôan tep ya ñyaéan kom a mefulu ya RSE. Kalate nyuna a liti mfefé atinan RSE, a minsôñan ya ñyaéan kom (ODD), mie mite mine na : 1) a fek ya Mouvement Vert, beta menda bisaé ya ntet mimbu mewôm mebaé a wua me tôé metiñ mese ya ñyaéan kom, ndemben metiñ mete me ne ve menda bisaé ngul ya dañe yô ;2) me sôane metiñ a ba’ale ma m’a yôñôlô be Industries Vertes , ndemben ayoñ bôt d’aye bo makit m’a karne émo-milañ ; 3) me wômôlô ôsimesan ya « Marché panafricain », ndemben menda bisaé me tu’a toñe mefulu ya RSE.
(Traduction faite par ANGO née GAUL ELA FRANÇOISE ELEONOR, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Historique de l’article
Date de réception : 3 juillet 2018
Date d’acceptation : 18 août 2019
Date de publication : 10 décembre 2019
Type de texte : Synthèse/débat
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is growing fast in the corporate world today as organizations and companies are forced to show that their business stands for something more than just profits, and that their activities add some value, or at least do not negatively affect the community around them (Ledwidge, 2007).
This concept has emerged as an important approach for addressing the social and environmental impact of company activities. Yet companies are increasingly expected to go beyond this. However, they are often now expected to assist in addressing many of the world’s most pressing problems, including climate change and poverty (Frynas, 2009) given a greater support to the achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept that has been defined by many authors and it is found in most journal articles, but it is unclear if companies and organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) French-speaking countries really understand its meaning exactly means alongside its impacts in promoting the SDGs?
In the 1980s, the United Nations highlighted environmental issues at the World Commission on Environment and Development, under the leadership of Norway’s Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland. The document produce would be known as the Brundtland Report, which defines sustainable development as the ability to meet the needs of the present generation without comprising the ability of future generations to meet their own (Brundtland, 1987). However at the United Nations Conference Rio +20 that focused on Sustainable Development, international actors emphasized the need to channel policy and resources towards Sustainable Development Goals to streamline economic activities that impose risks to the environment and fail to reduce poverty level across the world, especially in Africa. However, Rio+20 was not the first conference to address a sustainable development agenda despite marking a resilient effort to redirect resources and policy towards mitigating against environmental risks and the depletion of natural capital assets, unable to maintain globalization pace of economic production and consumption (United Nations GA Res.21/16, 2012; WBCSD). Therefore, the concern about social and environmental issues, inserted in the context of sustainable development reflects the need for organizations application of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Sustainable development (SD) is not only the responsibility of the government and large businesses in developing economies. There is a perspective shift for all participation that is collective contribution and responsibility of everyone from small to medium enterprises (SMEs), to contribute towards the SD agenda by engaging with CSR (Cederic, 2006 on corporate social responsibility and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa: exploring the perceptions of Ugandan SME’s).
Therefore, CSR has had certain popularity over the past twenty years, in reference to the principles of sustainable development. It has its origins in a protest movement of economic globalization to which companies propose to respond in two ways; by developing a dialogue with the stakeholders of the company (employees, civil society); and by widening their concerns to the social and environmental domains, which aligned with definition of SD in the Brundtland Report (Elamé, 2012). It is important to point out that The Brundtland report on sustainable development gives a holistic approach, which is proactive enough to give a futuristic projection of CSR practises of companies and organizations in order to redefine their practices based on sustainable pathways.
Therefore, with the increasing expectations placed on companies and organizations, this paper seeks to investigate the potential of CSR practises of companies and organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa French-speaking countries, to adapt to Sustainable Development Agenda, to promote sustainable development in their CSR models and also accessing some factors hindering the implementation of CRS in different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Map 1. Location of the study area
Background of study
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept that has being addressed and defined by several authors and it is found in most journal articles and do SSA countries really understand what exactly means by Corporate Social Responsibility? In this research work, one is struck by the relevance some authors and articles.
Historically, the construction of CSR has been the idea that businessmen have social responsibilities. It emerges in the US at the end of the nineteenth century and was firmly rooted in a tradition of philanthropy (Andrew Carnegie, see Heald 1970) and in religious foundations (Protestant ethics). The development of the CSR doctrine in the US then follows a process of stop and go that follows the contours of the legitimizing dynamic of the American capitalist system (phases of crises and growth) throughout the twentieth century Carroll (1979, 1999) attributes to Howard Bowen the paternity of the “modern” concept of CSR in management by referring to his 1953 book titled “Social Responsibilities of the Businessman.”
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approaches are largely born of a criticism of the globalization of the economy and its excesses. As early as the 1950s, Howard Bowen described such a globalized society, in which a few hundred companies “Constitute the real centres of power that determine the lives of citizens” (Rosé, 2007). In order to meet up to this challenge, Bowen proposed a very innovative synthesis that is moving from the classic opposition between managers and shareholders to the strategic idea of subjecting the company to legitimacy resulting from a contract with the company. CSR was therefore confirmed as a response to the excessive power of multinationals, by limiting the absolute nature of the shareholders’ property rights.
Moreover Friedman’s, main preoccupation was corporate social responsibility should maximize profits for its stockholders and that business enterprises should engage in the CSR practice only if it is profitable; otherwise, there should be no engagement. However the state’s laws and policies that regulates the activities of business enterprises and the level of broadness and flexibility of state laws to adjust to changing and complex business environment and societal needs determines the degree to which sustainable development is promoted via corporate social responsibility.
Furthermore, Boyd et al. (2007) defined corporate social responsibility as general sense reflects obligations to society and stakeholders within societies impacted by the firm. Beckman et al. (2009) pointed out that CSR known as the organization’s status and activities with respect to its perceived community responsibility. CSR is developing in the ethics, marketing, and management fields. The ethics consists of three types of issues i.e., macro-, meso-and micro-level based. The macro- and meso-refer to stakeholder engagement and micro- is center of specific such as code of ethics.
Refer to Clark (2000), CSR consists of four steps process i.e., awareness or recognition of an issue, analysis and planning, response intern of policy development and implementation. The process of CSR also includes environmental assessment, stakeholder management, and issues management. Becker-Olsen et al. (2006) mentioned that CSR a link between social initiatives and improved financial performance. According Besley and Ghatak, (2007) CSR is dependable with profit maximization in competitive markets. In equilibrium firms sell ethical brands and neutral brands, and consumers self-select according to their valuation of the public good.
However, Visser et al. (2010), reviewing Carroll’s CSR pyramid model, contend that Carroll’s CSR Pyramid model does not fit into the African context, where there is cultural relativism, a poorly developed legal framework, and a prevalence of poverty. Carroll’s model fails to include an environmental dimension that can help to address inherent risks from unsustainable business practices across the world; it fails to provide a specific direction on how business Enterprises should implement the environmental dimension of CSR.
Further, Freeman (1984) introduced new and broad perspectives into traditional firm theory through a Stakeholder Theory. Stakeholders’ theory emphasizes the interdependence of a business enterprise and its environment by clarifying the concept of stakeholders. According to Freeman (1984), a stakeholder is “any group or individual who can effect, or is affected by, the achievements of a corporation’s purpose. Stakeholders include employees, customer, suppliers, stockholders, bank, environmentalist, government and other groups who can help or hurt the corporation”. The exposition of Freeman (1984) on stakeholders helps in the development of theoretical foundations for contemporary CSR (Zingales, 2000). According to Jamali et al. (2008), stakeholders’ theory is the most common framework for conceptualizing and understanding issues concerning CSR because it offers a useful basis for collecting and analyzing CSR data, and serves as a framework for empirical studies. Zingales also argues that stakeholder theory is a description of the emergence of contemporary firms because it has its foundation in how contemporary firms operate rather than on more confined assumptions of how conventional business enterprises are expected to operate. Also an important aspect of CSR is the way companies interact with their internal and external stakeholders (employees, customers, neighbours, NGOs, public authorities, etc.). It is also an opportunity for a company or organization to define a new development strategy that takes into account sustainable development.
The European Commission (2001) on Green Paper on CSR, defined CSR as the responsibility of an organization for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, resulting in ethical and transparent behaviour that: contributes to the sustainable development, health and well-being of society; takes into account the expectations of stakeholders; respects the laws in force and which is in line with international standards of behaviour; and that is integrated throughout the organization and implemented in its relations.
Also, in 2011 European Commission proposes a new definition of CSR, “The responsibility of the companies vis-à-vis the effects they exert on the society”. Therefore, to assume this responsibility, companies must first comply with the legislation in force and the collective agreements concluded between the social partners. In order to fulfil their social responsibility, companies should engage, in close collaboration with their stakeholders, in a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and human rights concerns. Consumers in their commercial activities and their basic strategy.
In practice, CSR concerns the voluntary integration by companies of their social, environmental and economic role. It voluntarily covers the global quality of supply chains, subcontracting, production, marketing and sales, the well-being of employees, their health, the company’s ecological footprint, etc. CSR is therefore the declination of sustainable development in companies by taking into account the environmental, social and economic pillars. It is therefore important to integrate the global and local context into the strategic thinking of companies and organizations. It should not be separated from strategy and business operations, but it is about integrating social concerns and environmental in its strategies and operations (Elame, 2012).
The author Dahlsrud (2006) helps to clarify the three dimensions that correspond to sustainable development using five categorizations. These are environmental, social, stakeholder concerned, economic, and voluntary.
According to Elame (2012), CSR action plan is built on the four pillars of sustainable development: setting up risk management programs or actions, programs or actions on the principle of safety, the principle of safety in connection with quality assurance, the polluter pays principle for actions relating to monitoring, in particular environmental, social, societal, and legal, knowledge management projects in support of innovation that also involve several types of economic agents: public actors territorial education and research (poles of competence).
CSR is also known as a field of research and application. Since in the 1980s, the notion of sustainable development and its anchoring in local and international policies under the impetus of certain non-state actors has favoured the establishment of an ethical finance, fair trade, which is now present in the debate of certain major institutional and political bodies. The mobilization of the university community has advanced CSR thinking. Also, there are now several tools used to demonstrate the commitment of companies and organizations to CSR, including international standards, codes of conduct, certifications, standards or labels and social or environmental audits.
However, Global Compact as a major reference for CSR and it is a United Nations initiative launched in 2000 at the World Economic Forum by Kofi Annan. It is a code of conduct that aims to inspire organizations worldwide to adopt a socially responsible attitude by committing to integrating and promoting 10 principles of human rights, labour law, sustainable development and the fight against corruption. Its main purpose is to promote the values of the United Nations by inviting companies to adopt, support and apply them in their sphere of influence. For this, the partnership between the various stakeholders is encouraged. It is therefore a question of encouraging the emergence of socially and environmentally responsible citizens, by encouraging them to respect ten principles.
Although primarily targeting the business world, the Global Compact also encourages participation: civil society, professional organizations, governments, United Nations agencies, universities and others. The signature of the Global Compact is a voluntary step on the part of the company and the commitment does not subject the company to any constraints.
Refer to a work by Garriga and Melé (2004) CSR theories are organized in the four groups as follows:
The corporation is used strategic tool for wealth creation. There are three main groups of instrumental theories which depend on the economic objectives;
a) Maximizing the shareholder value
According to the authors, any investment social demands that contribute to maximize the shareholder without deception and fraud are included in this group and shareholder value maximization is considered as the supreme reference for corporate decision-making.
b) Cause-related marketing
These are processes of formulating and implementing marketing activities and the goal is to enhance company revenues, sales or customer relationship by building the brand through the acquisition of, and association with the ethical dimension or social responsibility dimension (Garriga and Melé, 2004).
c) Strategies for achieving competitive advantages
Garriga and Melé (2004) noted that this group of theories are concentrated on long-term social objectives by knowing how to allocate resources and create a competitive advantage. There are three approaches can be included within this strategy i.e., social investments in competitive context, natural resource-based view of the firm and its dynamic capabilities and strategies for the bottom of the economic pyramid.
The authors pointed out that political theories express power relations and focus on interactions and connections between business and society and on the power of business and its inherent responsibility. There are two major theories can be distinguished through Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Constitutionalism
a) Corporate Citizenship
Corporate citizenship refers as responsibilities and possible partnerships of business in society. It has been reported that some theories on corporate citizenship are based on a social contract theory. Corporate citizenship theories generally have a strong sense of business responsibility towards the local community, partnerships which are the specific ways of formalizing the willingness to improve the local community and for consideration for the environment. (Garriga and Melé, 2004).
b) Corporate Constitutionalism
The authors mentioned that the firm has power to influence the equilibrium of the market. Social powers of the firm are internally and externally without destroy power. They channel organizational power in a supportive way and protect against unreasonable organizational power.
Garriga and Melé (2004) documented that ethical theories focus on the ethical requirements that strengthen the relationship between business and society which is based on principles that express the right thing to do or the necessity to achieve a good society.
a) Sustainable development
Sustainable development requires the integration of social, environmental, and economic considerations to make balanced judgments for the long term. In order to maintain the sustainable development there is a need for the organization’s aims and intentions be aligned with the organization strategy, as an appropriate response to the circumstances in which the organization operates (Garriga and Melé, 2004).
b) Normative Stakeholder Theory
The authors noted that the normative stakeholder theory is a way to integrate social demands. Normative stakeholder theory has a normative core based on two major ideas.
Stakeholders are persons or groups with legitimate interests in procedural and/or substantive aspects of corporate activity (stakeholders are identified by their interests in the corporation, whether or not the corporation has any corresponding functional interest in them) and
the interests of all stakeholders are of intrinsic value (that is, each group of stakeholders’ merits consideration for its own sake and not merely because of its ability to further the interests of some other group, such as the shareowners).
c) Universal Rights
Universal rights (human rights) UN Global Compact includes in the area of human rights, labour rights and the environment protection as a basis for CSR.
According to the authors, the integrative theories depend to social demands for its existence continuity and growth. Social demands means society interacts with business and gives it a certain legitimacy and prestige. In addition, the authors noted that the theories of this group are focused on the detection and scanning of, and response to, the social demands that achieve social legitimacy, greater social acceptance and prestige.
a) Issues Management
The concept of social responsiveness broadens with the concept of issue management which refers as a process for making a corporate response to social issues. Issues management is a process of the corporation can identify, evaluate and respond to those social and political issues which may impact significantly upon it. They are also grouped as follows;
b) The Principle of Public Responsibility
Public policy consists of law, regulation and broad pattern of social direction reflected to public opinion, emerging issues, formal legal requirements and enforcement or implementation practises. Garriga and Melé (2004, p. 59) noted that “if business adhered to the standards of performance in law and the existing public policy process, then it would be judged acceptably responsive in terms of social expectations”.
c) Stakeholder management
Stakeholder management focuses on the public responsibility principle and combines groups with a stake in the firm into managerial decision-making (Garriga and Melé, 2004).
d) Corporate Social Performance
Refer to Garriga and Melé (2004) the corporate social performance theories include social legitimacy with the process for giving appropriate responses. The corporate social performance also includes the principles of CSR, expressed on institutional, organizational and individual levels, processes of corporate social responsiveness, such as environmental assessment, stakeholder management and issues management, and outcomes of corporate behaviour including social impacts, social programs and social policies.
Materials and Methods
This study was carried out by the collection of primary and secondary data such as from archives, extant literature on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development specialized studies on CSR and SDGs in organizations and companies in Sub-Saharan Africa French-speaking countries, scientific articles and academic dissertations. Also data were collected from different databases, journals and websites used as a source of data like Google, Social Science Research Network (SSRN) which is one of the creditable databases used recognized by the international scientific community, which is pointed on academic and scientific production of the areas related to apply social sciences and others.
Systematic analysis was used to assess this work through the components of sustainable development the three dimensions of CSR practises the economic, social, and environmental in organizations and companies in Sub-Saharan Africa French-speaking countries.
Also, this work was analyzed through previous research on CSR definitions; practices, theories, factors hindering the implementation of CRS in different companies and organizations Sub-Saharan Africa. Data were analyzed through the literature review of different articles gathered through databases and journals.
Results and discussion
CSR and Sustainable Development Goals
The aim of is to study was to contribute and add value to the collective effort of other authors who have made findings on this subject. In this way, we will briefly remind the essential contents of highlighting CSR and sustainable development practises in SSA French-speaking countries and factors hindering CSR.
It was revealed in recent years that the concept of CSR has gained recognition and importance in both business and political settings. Considerable research has been conducted on CSR in developed countries of business enterprises, present literature reveals the limitations of CSR in SSA and CSR is seen only in the confines of philanthropy. Therefore some of the reasons for such limitation CSR in Sub-Saharan African particularly French-speaking countries include the region has significant emerging economies with growing market potentials; the challenge of CSR in this region is practically and uniquely different from that of developed countries, SSA is susceptible to the impacts of globalization, foreign direct investment, and increased business activity (World Resources Institute, 2005) and vulnerable to environmental shocks and social crises more than any other regions in the world (United Nations Environment Programme, 2013).
However, based on data obtained from a survey conducted by GIZ in 2008 on factors promoting and hindering CSR in SSA of 85 companies from six countries, namely; South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia. Findings revealed that there are nine key promoting and hindering factors of CSR for businesses in SSA which include leadership and governance, policy framework, project management, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, stakeholder engagement, staff engagement, government, funding and beneficiation. Also, in Ghana studies were employed an empirical quantitative approach by surveying 193 managers on examining organizations’ commitment and communication of CSR in a developing country’s context. However, study established that firms operating in Ghana know about CSR and are committed to it. But the level of understanding of the concept as evidenced by their practices is limited to philanthropic activities.
Therefore, in contemporary business enterprises, CSR is conceived broadly in terms of economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Visser et al. (2010) explains CSR as the universal concept that modern businesses have obligations towards society, beyond their responsibilities to the investors of the firm. In 2013 the Centre for Economic and Social Development (2013), highlighted how developing countries are more drifted towards economic and philanthropy dimensions of CSR than the environmental dimension because of the immature concept of CSR, high rate of unemployment, and prevalence of poverty, which have influenced the orientation of the philanthropic lifestyle.
Also similar analysis conducted by GIZ (2012) on Shaping Corporate Social Responsibility in SSA French-speaking countries revealed that in Cameroon CSR mainly seems to be promoted by large businesses and these businesses primarily perceive and practise CSR as a form of philanthropy. However examples of corporate social investment are rare but the national climate is now right for a sustained commitment from business. In Senegal CSR in business is still in its early stages and the promotion of CSR is being hindered by the fact that most business leaders have not formalized any medium-term vision or conducted any strategic analysis in their business areas and therefore have no understanding of the implications of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for their activities. Like other French-speaking African countries, Senegal appears to be evolving from a philanthropic/community social investment (CSI) approach towards a strategic CSR approach.
Senegal is working to put in place a reference framework in the form of a “CSR and Sustainable Development Charter” for those companies wishing to engage further with strategic CSR. This instrument will put in place the framework that has already been mapped out in various existing national strategic documents covering the fight against poverty, accelerated growth, sustainable development, etc. and the laws and regulations governing professional practices at the national and community level. However, the integration of CSR into public policy and corporate governance has not yet been achieved.
In Madagascar, CSR development is largely left to the initiative of companies. To date CSR activities are approached from a philanthropic perspective, although a few multinational companies are making the transition to link their CSR agendas with their core business design, and thus approaching it from a more strategic perspective. International companies are better prepared and willing to adhere to minimum international standards and regulations relating to employment and the environment (GIZ, 2012).
Some study carried in Sub-Saharan Africa to promote sustainable development in their CSR models and 335 business enterprises industries in Cameroon as a case study; were practically examined on the economic, social, and environmental components of sustainable development and CSR. Studies revealed that Cameroon prioritizes environmental and social dimensions over economic dimensions and a few large enterprises implement a broad CSR that promotes sustainable business practices, whereas smaller ones do not; industries in Cameroon implement environmental dimensions of CSR as a safe buffer and a social dimension as philanthropy. Hence, there is no concrete evidence that industries promote sustainable development via CSR in Cameroon (Oginni et Omogowo, 2016).
Other studies further revealed that firms operating in Ghana communicate their CSR activities to stakeholders in many forms. Also passed studies been carried out in Zambia, South Africa, and Nigeria on CSR practises particularly in the mining, oil, and gas industries (Schrage and Ewing, 2005; Oginni et Omogowo, 2016) revealed that there is an increasing awareness of the destructive consequences of unsustainable practices among business enterprises which have caught the attention from a wide range of stakeholders such as international actors, policymakers, researchers, and governments, for them to mitigate and eliminate potential environmental risks, to readdress the challenges of resources scarcities, and to promote sustainable development (Corrigan, 2014 ).
However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, little evidence is available on policy reforms that focus on redefining CSR practises among business enterprises to fit a sustainable development agenda (Opondo, 2005; Corrigan, 2014). It is also recorded that sub-Saharan Africa has brought about increasing environmental risks and a depletion of natural capital assets from unsustainable economic activities (Economic Commission for Africa/Africa Development Bank/Africa Commission Union, 2014; United Nations Environment Programme, 2013).
In 2013, the United Nations Environment Program assessed that environmental risks constitute 28% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s disease burden; outdoor air pollution is estimated to kill 800,000 people globally, and about 40,000 of these deaths occur in Sub-Sahara Africa. According to the Africa Progress Panels (2010), economic growth (Gross Domestic Product) represents the volume of economic activities and, therefore, is not a good indicator of how business activities affect people and the environment. Thus, the contributions of industries to sustainable development agendas via CSR need to be assessed on a broader scope: economic, social and environmental dimensions in Sub-Saharan Africa.
CSR represents core values that define the commitment of a business enterprise to society, economy, and the environment that sustains its activities, broad its scope that can be integrated into a sustainable development agenda. Therefore, according to the Africa Progress Panels (2010), it is not the volume of economic activity that determines development, but it is based on how business enterprise activities affect people, economy, and the environment.
Therefore, CSR appears to further some social good beyond the profit-making existence of business enterprises when a business enterprise conforms to sound ethics and core values as global citizens and local neighbours in a fast-changing world (McWilliams, 2000; WBCSD,2012 ; Society for Education and Research Development, 2013).
Also other augment shows that the attainment of a sustainable development agenda stands on realizing concrete values in the economic, political, technological, and cultural spheres. In the economic sphere, business enterprises have pivotal roles to play in order to redirect policy on economic production and consumption activities (WBCSD, 2012). Hence, there is a need to assess the focus of CSR practises of contemporary business enterprises in relation to sustainable development goal of a safe and inclusive growth.
CSR seems to incorporate economic, social, and environmental components by creating collective values, principles, and norms that can promote sustainable business practices through policy reconstruction and regulation of the activities of enterprises. The new principles translate collective values via CSR to fit sustainable development agenda. Sustainable business models help to integrate CSR as part of the business development process rather than becoming the outcome of business operations, thereby internalizing externalities and allowing for a flexible approach to address the complex and changing business environment that promotes sustainable development. Realized the need to assess CSR practises of business enterprises in order to minimize risks to their investments as a result of increasing global demands for sustainable business practices among industries. For example, recent global climate change initiatives have led many investors and economies shareholders to assess the scope of Carbon Disclosure Projects in the CSR of firms as a means of identifying potential threats to a business enterprise’s existence and its profitability (Carbon Disclosure Project, 2011). Through a forward-looking approach, contemporary business enterprises have begun to realize the concrete value in externalizing the costs of greenhouse effects that may present potential risks to a business (Mercer, 2011). Furthermore, Appelgate and Aman (2001) propose that sustainable development calls for economic growth that relieves poverty, promotes inclusive growth, and expands environmental resources, based in developing countries.
Conclusion and recommendations
CSR represents core values that define the commitment of a business enterprise to society, economy, and the environment that sustains its activities, broad its scope that can be integrated into a sustainable development agenda. Therefore, in contemporary business enterprises, CSR is conceived broadly in terms of economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, little evidence is available on policy reforms that focus on redefining CSR practises among business enterprises to fit a sustainable development agenda (Opondo, 2005; Corrigan, 2014). Hence, there is a need to assess the focus of CSR practises of contemporary business enterprises in relation to sustainable development goal of a safe and inclusive growth.
In recent years, considerable research has been conducted on CSR in developed countries of business enterprises. Present literature reveals the limitations of CSR in SSA and CSR is seen only in the confines of philanthropy. Based on data obtained from a survey conducted by GIZ in 2008 on factors promoting and hindering CSR in SSA of 85 companies from six countries, namely; South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia. Findings revealed that there are nine key promoting and hindering factors of CSR for businesses in SSA which include leadership and governance, policy framework, project management, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, stakeholder engagement, staff engagement, government, funding and beneficiation.
CSR analysis conducted by GIZ 2012 on Shaping Corporate Social Responsibility in SSA in some French-speaking countries such as Cameroon, CSR mainly seems to be promoted by large businesses and these businesses primarily perceive and practise CSR as a form of philanthropy. Further research shows that industries in Cameroon implement environmental dimensions of CSR as a safe buffer and a social dimension as philanthropy. Hence, there is no concrete evidence that industries promote sustainable development via CSR in Cameroon (Oginni et 2016). In Senegal CSR in business is still in its early stages and the promotion of CSR is being hindered by the fact that most business leaders have not formalized any medium-term vision Senegal appears to be evolving from a philanthropic/community social investment (CSI) approach towards a strategic CSR approach. In Madagascar, CSR development is largely left to the initiative of companies. To date CSR activities are approached from a philanthropic perspective, although a few multinational companies are making the transition to link their CSR agendas with their core business design, and thus approaching it from a more strategic perspective. This paper re-examined Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development Goals in SSA countries and bring forth a perceptive shift for CSR and SDGs is based on green movement approach for companies in the 21st century to responds to sustainable development. Also the improvement on the policy reform to promote green industries such as recycling companies to give a better approach to green economy. The aspect of CRS is recent in African we have to adopt policy to conformity to our potential and cultural environment. However sustainable business models help have to integrate CSR as part of the business development process rather than becoming the outcome of business operations, thereby internalizing externalities and allowing for a flexible approach to address the complex and changing business environment that promotes sustainable development.
Throughout our discussion, we argue that CSR practice today in Africa has a spring bell to promote SDGs in shaping, steering, and communicating strategies; goals and activities which permit the capitalization of a wide range of benefits. Companies have the responsible to make profit, take care of the environment they operate in, create a positive societal impact through CSR activities. It is imperative important for Sub-Saharan African countries and Africa as a continent to work on a collective plan to promote the Pan African emerging economy, decent work and industrialization in the Africa vision in the present and future.
This paper sets out a perceptive shift for Corporate Social Responsibilities and Sustainable Development Goals in Organizations and Companies in French Speaking Africa countries based on the Green movement approach:
1. For companies in the 21st century, to fully respond to sustainable development as well as boost industrialization and increase production capacity. These will gradually advance SSA countries from developing economy to emerging market economy.
- More so it is for companies and organizations to promote development based on pillars of sustainable development companies have to be socially viable, economic efficiency and environmental responsibility. These notions correlate and resultant effects on the society have to be compatible to promote shared- prosperity, intensify investment capacity, promote economic growth in the SSA.
- Also the Green movement approach should be incorporated as a practice in companies. Companies will incorporate sustainable practices and green trade activities; a new approach of industrialization in SSA, creating green industries which can improve on the economic growth of their nations.
2. Based on the SDGs companies should create sustainable pathway to take responsibility in their activities (production, human capital, conditions of workers, obeying the law that is standardizing their operations dynamics as well as look their externalities they produce and trying to internalize the externalities this leads to the notion of a green economy.
- The notion of Green movement approach cause the society to go in for green purchases [sustainable purchase] is an act of purchase taking into account 4 pillars of sustainable development [economic efficiency, social solidarity, intercultural responsibility, environmental responsibility]. Buying responsible products means not only reducing the environmental impact, but also understanding social, economic and intercultural issues.
- Also the improvement on the policy reform to promote green industries such as recycling and eco-design companies to give a better approach to green economy
- Brundtland report gives a holistic approach of sustainable development which is proactive. It definition projects development that produces, expands, generates, creates today operation to flourish, enhanced opportunities, increase production; maximize profit, preserved the environment, without having after negative effects in the future.
In other terms development that takes into proactive measures to implement policies that do not endanger the future as well as production that does not leads to damaging of the environment and the society, we see industries intensify production and make much profit and pollute the environment most of them respond to the principle of polluter- payer.
Therefore principle of polluter payer is not effective measure for companies to regulate [waste] pollution discharge because industries take advantage to pollute more because they pay for pollution discharge and a better approach is for companies to devise methods to reduce pollution as well as create better sustainable pathway to promote green trade activities and create green trade opportunities in their different industries.
3. The redefinition of the concept of “Pan African Market” in Sub Sahara Africa a platform created to facilitate and help companies, industries or organizations to effectively implement Corporate Social Responsibilities based on contemporary and futuristic demand of sustainable development Goals.
- The “Pan African Market” is the market where “blacks” has dominance in operation and targets to promote the goods and service, to sell ideas, creates new markets and have dynamics operations to promote sustainable development. It is the new pan-African notion for emerging market economy. Many nations have evolved from developing economy to emerge economy, not in demography but economy and technology.
- It’s redefined the State space for trade and investment, developing green trade practices and activities and programmed green development models. It is a space or policy as a living right for the African continent to readdress their global economy.
- The “Pan African Market” [Negro- Market] is not as racial operation but to promote quality green products and services which are being manufactured in the African countries. “Pan African Market” is not for bad goods but to improve, intensify production and to advance technology and innovation by incorporating sustainable methods and practices.
- The United Nations stands to trigger this module of change in the “Pan-African Market” creating new pathways of climate free market to restore and mitigate change and environmental maintenance (Aben Melvis Anep, 2018).
4. The engagement of different stakeholders in reinforcing and reforming standards such as international standards that are Environmental Standards and ISO 26000 [standard on Social Responsibility Guidance].
5. The aspect of CRS is recent in African. This policy has to be adopted in conformity to Africa potential and cultural environment.
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ABEN MELVIS ANEP
ABEN MELVIS ANEP is a seasoned 21 st century woman with passion to redefine State and organization leadership as well as to promote good governance in nations. She is a researcher, writer, advisor, environmentalist, globalist and leadership teacher. She obtained Bachelor degree from the University Of Buea in 2009, and a holder of Masters Degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Yaoundé I in 2014 and had special training skills in corporate communication and entrepreneurship. She currently taken a specialize program in the Institute of International Relations (IRIC), University of Yaoundé II. She is an author of articles and books like “21 st Century Church Administration”, Nation Growing Ideas, Reigning Leadership for Nations, Parental and Institutional Support Guidance for Children. Founder of Children for All Africa and President of Women on the Move.