26 May 2014 | Insight
At the 5th Annual Social Investment Conference, held at the beginning of April 2014, Tshikululu Social Investments CEO Tracey Henry announced the results of Tshikululu research into what motivates companies to engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The research by Henry and Michael Rifer, derived from interviews with 41 business leaders representing 39 companies, showed that there are several reasons why companies embrace CSR:
- Values-driven factors dominated: “Social responsibility programmes are seen as an extension of a company’s values and culture, and a means of demonstrating their commitment to the development of South Africa,” Henry told the Social Investment Conference. But while many companies undertook CSR projects long before government or industry regulations demanded them, these projects were often intangible in terms of results
- Market and brand positioning factors were also strong, with 60% of respondents saying they had felt consumer pressure to undertake CSR. “Responses suggest that there is growing awareness of, and demand for, socially responsible companies in the marketplace – although a few interviewees characterised this as more of a consumer ‘expectation’ than as a potential opportunity or key brand differentiator,” said Henry
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents felt shareholder pressure to support CSR initiatives. “These findings indicate that South African shareholders do not believe that social responsibility initiatives diminish value, and in fact suggest that they may actually add value,” Henry noted
- Tshikululu asked survey respondents about the role of broad-based black economic empowerment B-BBEE in motivating their CSR activities, as well as the benefits their businesses derived from these activities. “Interestingly, and perhaps contrary to popular perceptions, while respondents indicate that they feel significant pressure from government to invest in social responsibility programmes, regulatory compliance is not, in and of itself, cited as a primary motivating factor,” said Henry, adding that this rated only seventh on the list of motivations for CSR
To read the full research report, Value and Values – What Motivates Corporate Citizenship in South Africa?, click here.