Corporate Social Responsibility As An Innovative Aspect Commerce Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an innovative aspect of business organizations that projects beyond profit margin business initiative. Ideally, CSR is incorporated into functions of an organization whereby it is regulated in line with acceptable standards in the community and its environment. In essence, CSR activities focus on the community, environment, workers, and stakeholders interests. CSR is a proactive long-term business investment with rewards on the both sides of the community/environment and the business organisation. "Corporate Social responsibility is a commitment to improve community well-being through discretionary business practices and contributions of corporate resources" (Corporate Social Responsibility, 2007).

Corporate Social Investment (CSI) is a narrow inclusive aspect of CSR that could be described as corporate giving. It is simply organization setting aside resources to match the need of community and the benefits accrued symbolize the image of the organizations. It will be a proper channel to enhance the historically disadvantaged Africans during the colonial mastery dominance era. In the present periods when HIV/AIDS has its tentacles in all spheres of life in 21st century, a common business sense for any organization will be to invest in HIV/AIDS intervention strategies in the community. It makes the organization to be relevant and as such having on its agenda issues paramount in the minds of the immediate community. Dickinson pointed out that response to HIV/AIDS in companies is largely shouldered by middle and low-level managers and this first ever response came from Mining Company. (Dickinson, 2007).


Debswana Diamond Company, Botswana is the largest mining company in Botswana with the largest number of employees of about 6000. The company is equally owned by the national government of Botswana and De Beers Centenary AG. Debswana mines diamonds in Botswana at three operation sites: Orapa, Letlhakane and Jwaneng mines and the company headquarter at Gaborone, Botswana capital. The company among its core values holds the key fundamental philosophy of CSR/I:

• The achievement of global standards in operating performance and capital utilization through the best management practices

• Encouraging a culture and environment of innovation and creativity

• The development of people, including recognition and appreciation of effort

• Conducting all operations with minimal impact on the environment

• Maintaining honesty and integrity in all dealings

• Upholding the safety and health of employees

• Encouraging honest, open, multidirectional, timely and clear communication

• Treating each other with respect

• Encouragement of teamwork through involvement and participation by all employees in matters affecting them

• Fulfilling its social responsibility as a corporate citizen by maintaining high standards and ethics. (Adapted from:

In line with Debswana core ethical values, its CSI response is evaluated using the Weeden`s steps and integrating this with article of David Dickinson.

Headquarters of Debswana Diamond Company Ltd in Gaborone, Botswana (


Corporate Social Investment not Corporate Philanthropy Giving

Philanthropy giving is self-willed motivated giving towards human development. This may not necessary match the needs of the community members. In contrast, CSI is calculated attempt to contribute to community growth, investment in people and environmental development with aims of return to the organization.

Debswana has since got involved in HIV/AIDS initiatives since 1987 which encompasses screening of blood for HIV, syndromic management of STI and opportunistic infections, condoms distribution, pre-test HIV counselling, educating and giving information. The spectrum of the support has grown and involved all stakeholders-government ministries and departments, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community based

Organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs), people living with HIV/AIDS, and the private sector.

Debswana investment in people of Botswana in the era of HIV/AIDS pandemic has brought a great reward to the organization as reflected in the average young Botswanas could prefer to work in the largest mining company. In this proportion, long term investment is beginning to yield returns. Although Botswana has not got many educational institutions like South Africa, sponsors through government collaborations have seen many young Botswana through higher education abroad. Many of these young personnel have returned home to contribute immensely to the national growth. Perhaps, the jingles of prompting South African government to nationalise its Mines through Africa Nation Congress Youth League (ANCYL) leadership could have been eyed from its neighbour, Botswana: a success partnership between De Beers and the national government. But a call for caution is important, as there are different national policies for different countries and Botswana is just a population under two million.

Significant Reason for Every Corporate Responsibility

"Botswana transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $14,100 in 2008. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fuelled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP, 70-80% of export earnings, and about half of the government's revenues. Botswana's heavy reliance on a single luxury export was a critical factor in the sharp economic contraction of 2009." (CIA, 2010)

In addition, the rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence tends to increase among mine workers because of the peculiarity of their work. Having to work underground and living around make shift home around Mine, often time away from home.

Debswana stated its campaign against HIV/AIDS during 1987 following the incidences of HIV reports from its Jwaneng Mine Hospital and Orapa Mine Hospital. HIV/AIDS morbidity and mortality in the company among the workers has increased from 40% in 1996 to 75% in 1997. The routes of intervention taken by Debswana includes: knowledge and awareness practice, organising seminars, workshops, motivational talk by PLWHA, appointment of full-time HIV/AIDS coordinators, development of HIV/AIDS workplace policy, work place HIV/AIDS prevalence studies.

It is quite supportive, rewarding and as a long term plan to see Debswana investing educating its younger population. CSR/l is a long term investment where many could be channelled through Geographical studies, Geology, Mining Engineering, Environmental Biology and other Mining related important academic opportunities. It is investment in the right direction.

CSR/I should be limited to Public Institutions

Although Weeden stated that CSR should be limited to non-profit organizations and exclusively public institutions, Debswana is not uniformly conformed to this recommendation as it is a profit making organization and partly owned by the national government of Botswana. Nevertheless, its standing roles, its uniqueness and as a leader among all Mining Companies in globally is unwavering.

Dickinson in his article pointed out that Mining Companies are the first set of companies to have initially responded to issue of HIV/AIDS in work place. Due to the vast number of PLWHA in Africa, Mining Companies and profit making organizations should all embraced CSR/I as related to HIV/AIDS. CSR/I should be embraced and contributed unto by all living in Africa, a continent where government services are at deplorable positions and poverty is at the highest of all continents (WBI Series, 2003). Many private and government companies are profit driven and such return should be enjoyed by the community members. Apart from recommendations, there should be standing rules and regulation guiding CSR/I in other for proper accountability. For example, it is not only the public institution that are contributing to the widely damage report of ozone layers causing the up-rising in the global climatic condition. Individuals with vehicles contribute to air pollution from their car exhausts and not just business environment. South Africa was initially planning to initiate taxation for carbon emission this September, this has not been commenced yet, otherwise it would have been the first African country to stage responsible environmental protection policy. Corporate social responsibility should be ado of all the member of the society that lives there in.

Open Statements that Endorse Social Investment

In line with this, among its ethical and work place values, Debswana has set in place policies that are laid down as guild in order to improve the quality of life of its workers and the community people. Here are some of the relevant points as previously stated above:

• The development of people, including recognition and appreciation of effort

• Conducting all operations with minimal impact on the environment

• Upholding the safety and health of employees

• Encouragement of teamwork through involvement and participation by all employees in matters affecting them

• Fulfilling its social responsibility as a corporate citizen by maintaining high standards and ethics.

All these work place values are presented to all newly recruited workers at Debswana so as to familiarise them with the work place equity and standards. The open statements are not just mere words on papers, but policies to be maintained. Organizations living up to its words are primed with community support and promote the better representation of the company in the community.

Messages from CEO declaring organization stands about CSR/I

Leadership by examples is one the qualities of a good leadership. Instances and clear message should flow from the Organization directors, Business Executives, Directors and Chief Executive Officers fronting organizational stands about CSI/R. The principal objective of Debswana has briefly highlighted this point, though this has to be constantly buttress by the leaderships.

In the workshop and meeting of Debswana Executive Committee held in August 2000, it agreed on the following issues as related to workforce exclusive concerns:

• the issue of HIV/AIDS and its effects on operations should be included as a regular item for consideration in the company's quarterly audits

• the company should develop standards for AIDS management that were similar to ISO 14000

• an 'AIDS test'-an examination on individuals' knowledge of HIV/AIDS before employment and promotion to certain levels-was to be put in place;

• Debswana should use its market position to insist that its contractors adopt standards of quality assurance with regard to their own policies in relation to HIV/AIDS (thus contractors would be expected to follow good practice with regard to their own workforce).

Annual Reports of Corporate Social Responsibility

Consistent reporting and evaluation of organization CSR/I promptly checks progress and impacts made in the society. Perhaps the CSI is been channelled in wrong direction, annual evaluation could enhance organization CSI activities in the next annual budgeting.

On an annual bases, towards the end of the year, Debswana reviews its current year CSI and achievement and extrapolate this to plan for coming year. This concise with the recommendation by Weeden.

In what is called end of the year reporting and proposal for the coming year, in the annual executive meeting, extensive company review is considered and one other major consideration is the CSR/I. Amendments and recommendations are made at this meeting. In whatever angle CSR/I is considered, consistence nurturing is crucial for its growth and profitability. It depends on how strong and firmly the organization CSR/I, its functions could be reviewed quarterly or every six month.

Annual Profit Percentage Commitments to CSR/I

There should be a spelt out percentage of profit margin that should be committed in CSR/I.

It simply helps for planning for expected target. In Africa, where more than 70% of PLWHA resides (Foreign Policy in Focus, 2005), poverty is at its highest ranking with scarce resources, corporate organization participating in CSR/I especially as related to HIV/AIDS has to undoubtfully need set target to regulate its operations. Furthermore, the set target of such financial commitment should be publically known, perhaps the organization underperforms; the community and other stakeholders could barometer of check and balance.

In the Weeden approach, he considered 2.5% of company last three year profit before tax be appropriate to be invested into CSR/I. In the real capital turn out annually, Debswana generates 50% of Botswana Public revenue, 33% of its gross domestic products and over 80% of foreign earning (Mining, 2010). This only depicts how huge is Debswana: the largest Diamond Mining Company globally.

It is a clear understanding that many organizations do not declare their annual profit making per capital year publically and it becomes herculean task for the community to know what is expected of such organization in terms of CSR/I. Nevertheless, those that do display their profit margin in the dailies, how can one clearly substantiate the authenticity of the report? For instances, there are companies in South Africa that sometimes failed to meet the dead line for annual tax return to South Africa Revenue Services (SARS), what kind of credibility is worthy of such company when announcing its annual profit return? Transparency in the management of CSR/I to actually reflect what is contributed is fundamental to any organization. There and then can the community focus on holding the company accountable.

When to Postponed Social Investment?

Weeden has rightly recommended that part or all social investment should be postponed when business condition warrants. This is to avoid compromising the functionality and sustainability of business. In the wake of global economic downturn currently on, of which many counties have just emerged, Debswana has deepened into the worst economic recession and loss of profit margin. Then the question here is where does CSR/I stands? Is it a necessity or social responsibility out of comfort?

"In this enlightened day and age, whether times are good or bad, companies must be socially responsible. That's a given. But tough economic conditions underscore a blunt reality. A company's foremost responsibility is to do well. That may sound politically incorrect, but the reason is inexorable. Winning companies create jobs, pay taxes, and strengthen the economy. Winning companies, in other words, enable social responsibility, not the other way around. And so, right now-as always-companies should be putting profitability first. It's the necessity that makes every other necessity possible" (Bloomberg Businessweek, 2009).

It is surprising that despite the global recession, Debswana social responsibility throughout 2009 and 2010 has not dwindled. The great financial stand of Debswana worth commenting in the hard economic time when many companies are folding-up, human development management in the community is still prioritized. Not that the company has overstressed its resources, this hard time could have been forecasted and as we see the present solution. However, in agreement with Weeden recommendation, should recession get tougher, Debswana might re-strategize.

Team Leaders should be part of Corporate Social Responsibility Programme

There are different strata of workforce and the issues of concern among different groups differ. The attitude of the top executives and managers tend to be influenced by their achievement, responsibility and having to be involved in discipline of junior workers with irregularity. In response, the middle manager and junior employees tend to ostracized themselves from senior staff leaders. This creates friction at workplace and team spirit is deficiently lacking.

Corporate social responsibility programmes are not prerogatives of individual or few set of people. CSR/I cater for need of large set of populations and collective effort is crucial. In designing the workplace policy and CSR/I, it is equally important to assign responsible leaders to be in-charge of CSR/I. The community members see these people (leaders) as the image of the organization they represent before considering the CSR/I programmes. In the same vein, internal reflection to the fellow employees (middle and lower class) affects their participation in the company social investment.

The team spirit ought to flow down from the leadership to the lowest subordinates. Attitudes and opinions of people about the frontiers of organization CSR/I is very important to the success of any CSR/I. Illiteracy has often been seen as part of what is fuelling the HIV/AIDS pandemics

Daily Management of Social Investment.

For every business, consistent contribution and management is key to success. So ought the organization social responsibility to be maintained on daily routines. Apart from the annual reporting as earlier discussed, daily check on the CSR/I serves as a guild to the programme to success.

Teams of employee are specially deployed for these tasks and daily feedback to be reported to superior subordinates is recommended. Just as the work schedules are deem to be effective and standard are daily optimized, daily roosters of employees who will be daily assigned with specific duties with daily reporting should be outlined. There should be daily targets set to be accomplished and a formulated daily pattern of reporting should include daily activities and problems/obstacles to proper implementation of CSR/I.

Furthermore, statistical forecast can be enhanced in planning and executing projects and policies of organization.

Just as day-to-day management of an organization is paramount, the daily management of organization social responsibility is equally important. Success in all the spheres of business endeavors is a key factor to uniform development.


In a broader term, CSR/I is appropriate for all communities. However, in the context of Africa, human resources are lacking and environmental degradation is common factor across Africa, this is the continent where social investment is needed by far. It means that, Africa needed to be assisted to stand to its feet. Despite all the mining activities going on in the different African countries-Niger Delta in Nigeria, Rustenburg in South Africa, Kinshasa in Congo, and Accra in Ghana: environmental safety is the major concern. The companies that take from the environment should be responsible for contributing back to the people and the environment.

However, if there will be returns back to the people and the communities, governments should enact laws regulating CSR/I in order for proper accountability and transparency. In addition, Weeden`s ten steps principle should be adopted and Dickinson article be equally consulted with other references.

It worth remembering that, the same set of people working in the Mines and other companies are members of the same community which they pollute, therefore, the strategies for a sustainable CSR/I should be a collective responsibility.

Investing in people (human resources and development) and in the environment could sometimes take longer than anticipated to yield rewards, but an act of steadfastness and patience should be the appropriate approach.



HIV/AIDS is the greatest protracted pandemic in the history of mankind. It has no gender, age nor racial discrimination. Although it was common belief that the disease started in the United States of America (USA) among the gays, the pattern of the spread in Africa is not the same. The greatest number of people living with the virus resides in Africa: HIV/AIDS could have links with the practices, believes, customs, attitudes of African. Poverty and illiteracy will be other contributory factors. National HIV/AIDS prevalence statistics in different African countries are quite shocking and unbelievable. Southern African region have the largest of the epidemic than any other world region. The aftermath effects; under productiveness, ill health, increased rate of spread of the virus, death, increased orphan population, children heading families, increase incidences of rape (having sex with virgins has been falsely linked to cure) and many other catastrophic effects are major troubles in the continent.

There are diverse attempts in the past to offer solution to the pandemic, yet none has end the trend of the disease. "ABC" (Abstinence, Be faithful to sexual partners, Condom use) of prevention strategies is as old as the pandemic, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) although halt the degree of the viral multiplication, solution is still elusive. Strategic partnership and organizations involvement in corporate social responsibility to ease the burden of HIV/AIDS is other approach that should be considered. This is an act to safe the live of the population, the life of employees, to foster the profits which is the life-line most organization and to hold a good image of organizations in the community. Some of these aims could be achieved through some of the channels:

Education, training, bursary and Scholarship

Environmental protection

Health promotion

Employment opportunities for the community members

Community infrastructural upgrade.


The act of corporate social responsibility should be foster in every African community. Although African population is the range of billion, the majority are children and not yet fit for labour market. The average life expectance in many African countries pre the era of HIV/AIDS pandemic were more than 60, this has dropped significantly for South Africa now as 48 for men and 49 for women (Wikipedia, 2010).

Africa Population distribution (

HIV/AIDS related is the furthermost cause of death among black South Africans. No wonder there are many grave yards in the country and many of which are over full. Recently in East London, it was announced on the radio that most of its grave yard have no more space to bury dead. Our population could be harnessed from the scuttle of HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Corporate organizations should be directly be involved in campaign and activities that will ease the burden of the pandemic. The population today serves as the fundamental hope of tomorrow. We just have to preserve what we have. The people in the community are often times the direct consumers of good, products and services of the organizations, in turn, the means to livelihood should be protected for sustainability.


The priority and ranking of what are the utmost important to any functioning organization are the lives of employees. Without the labour force, no company has got any good future. The services and mental prowess of the workers are the source of sustenance of organizations. Therefore should persistent and relentless effort be taken in order to safeguard the lives of employees.

Debswana in the critical timing, as the numbers of its employees with HIV/AIDS started escalating, quickly to act and made the wise decision. It took surveys of its employees in 1996 and subsequently in order to know how many people are living with the virus and also to determine how this has undermined its productivities. What a surprising outcome, HIV/AIDS workplace was quickly launched and different workplace HIV/AIDS safety precautions were introduced. Free HIV testing and counselling and ART became available. Seminar and symposiums were organised to effectively curb the spread of the disease. It suffices that Debswana realised the impacts of then emerging disease.

In other workplaces, especially among heath care providers, there are basic minimum of protections should be offered to protect workers from contacting the virus. This is known as Universal Precaution. This safety precaution workplace etiquette outweighs the corporate social responsibility, it has gone to the level of been assigned as right of each health worker. In the context of corporate social responsibility, if the organization would be relevant at all time and in the community, the lives of its employees ought to be prioritized. Education, HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns, workplace attitude to discourage stigma and discrimination against PLWHA, allotted time off duty for sick-leave, work related HIV exposure/infection compensations should be among other considerations for all employees.


Weeden has rightly put it that organizations should partly or totally suspend its corporate social responsibility when the situation deems unfit. For proper accountability, every employee has got something to contribute towards the growth of the company he/she represents. So also, every employee infected with HIV/AIDS has direct impacts on the profit margin and further financial expenditure on the organizations. Days of sick-leave absenteeism from works, unmet work targets, funds of hiring new employees and retraining of such directly weigh on the organizations. If the drift of the disease continues unchecked, profit margins begins to suffer set back.

"AIDS damages businesses by squeezing productivity, adding costs, diverting productive resources, and depleting skills. Company costs for health-care, funeral benefits and pension fund commitments are likely to rise as the number of people taking early retirement or dying increases. Also, as the impact of the epidemic on households grows more severe, market demand for products and services can fall. The epidemic hits productivity through increased absenteeism. Comparative studies of East African businesses have shown that absenteeism can account for as much as 25-54% of company costs.

A study in several Southern African countries has estimated that the combined impact of AIDS-related absenteeism, productivity declines, health-care expenditures, and recruitment and training expenses could cut profits by at least 6-8%. Another study of a thousand companies in Southern Africa found that 9% had suffered a significant negative impact due to AIDS. In areas that have been hit hardest by the epidemic, it found that up to 40% of companies reported that HIV and AIDS were having a negative effect on profit.

Some companies, though, have implemented successful programmes to deal with the epidemic. An example is the gold-mining industry in South Africa. The gold mines attract thousands of workers, often from poor and remote regions. Most live in hostels, separated from their families. As a result a thriving sex industry operates around many mines and HIV is common. In recent years, mining companies have been working with a number of organizations to implement prevention programmes for the miners. These have included mass distribution of condoms, medical care and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and awareness campaigns. Some mining companies have started to replace all-male hostels with accommodation for families, in order to reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases."(Avert, 2010).


One of the aims and objectives of organizations involvements in corporate social investment is to give a good image of the organizations in the community. In South Africa, at the end of apartheid regime post election in 1994, CSR/I was initially believed as an act of repairing the bad image of the old regime. It was hard to be accepted among the historically disadvantaged black communities. Could this be bribe or infringements of reconciliation?

Africans often believe that they are all members of one extended large family, claiming a common decadency. This norm is also applicable in most African societies where many PLWHA have direct or indirect impacts on the other. HIV/AIDS has reunified Africans: all having a common protagonist, HIV/AIDS. Based on this theory of relativity, it is quite a common sense for organizations to surmise courage to get involved in HIV/AIDS programmes in African communities. In cases where such companies has been previously been badly represented, CSR/I in HIV/AIDS could redefined their reputations.


Among the different HIV/AIDS preventive methods, CSR/I is the proactive activities yielding results. If companies could contribute more of their time, profits, and human resources and fosters more dedication, HIV/AIDS burden will be ease off our populace. Although the disease has got no cure as of present, corporate organizations can still do more by diverging some of their profit into further scientific researches so as to find cure to the ailing condition.

Despite all the contributions in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, it is like a drop of water in an ocean, the impacts of the contributions are not so fantastic. Nevertheless, every avenue through which solution could be offered to end the pandemic has to be continuously explored. In the same attitude, CSR/I programmes have to be kept alive in every able organizations. Perhaps, cure for HIV/AIDS might be visible.