Relationships with stakeholders need to become more strategic. Open and honest
communications will be central to building trusting relationships. Companies need to identify
and engage with their stakeholders and build meaningful and ongoing partnerships. Good
stakeholder engagement will become a source of market research and risk reduction and will
help to build a company’s reputation and brand.
Stakeholders’ views need to be incorporated into company decision-making so that
stakeholders are built into governance structures. CSI programmes need to be shaped by
stakeholders’ priorities. Well structured, well managed stakeholder engagement will become
a source of competitive advantage.
A new approach to business models
The coming years present businesses with a new opportunity to look at the way they do
business in a manner that is more consistent with the sustainable development of the world
economy. Companies should start with a thorough review of existing policies, values
frameworks and develop meaningful visions for the future. Companies can look harder at
their broader contributions to environmental protection and their impacts on local communities.
CSI strategies have to become central to business strategy and part of the long-term planning
process. Everyone in the organisation needs to recognise their own role in promoting CSI.
A new emotional intelligence needs to replace a culture of greed and arrogance that has exists.
The social and environmental contributions that businesses can make will be increasingly
valued and this needs to influence new corporate decision-making models.
Better listening to stakeholders and taking an increased responsibility for global challenges
will be part of the new management process in the future. An emphasis on long-term
competitiveness rather than short-term profit-making should emerge from responsible businesses.
Increased training and the development of staff who better understand the business case for
CSI is central to developing organisations that are able to operate in a way that is consistent
with the sustainable development of the African continent and abroad. Sustainable development
education needs to be extended into traditional education institutions as well as down supply chains.
Companies should support wider professional development initiatives. CSI managers need to be
better valued and their professionalism recognised. In part, a company’s commitment to CSI
will be measured by the resources they allocate to the function.
Human resource management
Staff adoption in CSI is essential and job descriptions and on-going evaluation of staff needs
to include a role for them in contributing to the social and environmental activities and profile
of the organisation. Workers need to be seen as partners in the organisation and encouraged
to more fully participate in new consultative decision making structures.
Companies need to consider the rights of their workers, ensure a workplace free of
discrimination and harassment and encourage diversity.
Climate change action
Examining both the business risks and opportunities associated with climate change is going
to be increasingly important. Companies should measure and report on their own greenhouse
gas emissions and demonstrate what measures they are putting in place to mitigate their climate
change impacts. Moreover, companies should contribute to climate change adaptation in the
communities in which they operate.
There needs to be a renewed emphasis on energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy and
integration of emissions reduction targets into strategic environmental plans.
Greater transparency and accountability is increasingly going to be expected of business.
Trust will become an important factor in governing relationships between businesses and with
governments and other important stakeholders. Strong policies and practices to combat bribery
and corruption need to be put in place.
New invigorated Boards with proper representation and truly independent non-executive
directors will be needed to improve the quality of decision making and the protection of
minority shareholders. Internationally recognised conventions, standards and guidelines
should be adopted where appropriate.
Supply chain management
Insufficient companies are engaging with their supply chain risks even though this is an area
where product safety is often compromised and human rights abused. Companies need to
develop comprehensive codes of conduct that demonstrate their commitment to ensuring
responsible supply chains and demonstrate effective risk management. Supply chain codes
of conduct ought also to make requirements with regard to environmental aspects of business
Companies involved in auditing need to recognise the limitations of that approach and build
capacity down supply chains to build the business case for CSI.
A move from philanthropy towards much more strategic community investment is an important
development. The emphasis on investment rather than giving will result in companies better
targeting resources that benefit both communities and the business itself. New partnerships
with NGOs and local community groups should target both local and global challenges and
be an important part of a company’s commitment to sustainable development.
Help with developing social enterprises and stimulating social entrepreneurship will be more
effective than providing money for short-term alleviation of problems. Community impacts
need to be appropriately measured.
Reporting and disclosure
The demand for increased transparency and accountability will increase the need for improved
reporting and disclosure of information. There will be a new emphasis on issues-based
reporting, emphasising those areas where a company has the biggest impact but, at the same
time, can make the biggest contribution.