Addressing social needs is a major requirement for positive global growth. To make a difference, many corporations have become involved in corporate social responsibility. Many businesses have expendable capital which can be easily used to fund social development projects, or they are able to gain a tax benefit for charitable contributions.
In South Africa especially, the underprivileged in society and depletion of natural resources has become a concern for the population, and corporations are becoming more involved than ever before with investments to help these problems.
Whether through employee donations, investments by the corporations themselves or simply time donated by businesses and employees involvement in various charities and outreach programmes by corporate social responsibility has begun to create a positive change for millions of lives in South Africa.
How corporations are becoming involved
Any corporation or business can become involved in a social or ecological responsibility programme. Many companies are ‘going green’ by encouraging employees to refrain from printing unnecessary documents and wasting paper to preserve trees. Recycling paper is another popular method used to create a more eco-friendly work place. Replacing air-conditioning systems which emit harmful CFC’s into the environment with more eco-friendly air conditioning systems is becoming commonplace as well.
Other methods of companies encouraging eco-friendly corporate behavior include recycling rubbish, forming lift clubs to decrease the number of cars required to transport employees to work, encouraging the use of public transport to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and requesting employees to be more eco friendly in their homes.
All of these things help to reduce a company’s carbon-footprint.
Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime
Sustainable development is another positive venture which many responsible corporations have become involved in. Giving donations may be a viable method of helping a local community, but teaching a community a method of sustaining themselves has a more long term benefit.
Companies are now becoming involved in helping locals to create better opportunities for their own lives. Initiatives such as donating books and computers to schools, teaching locals how to care for sick children, how to make money using natural resources without damaging the environment, educating with regard to HIV and AIDS and how to care for the environment are just some of the methods of allowing locals to live a better life through education.
HIV, AIDS, violence and unrest
One of the main concerns in South Africa is the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Corporate schemes are able to donate money to help the people involved in the problems emanating from AIDS and HIV, but helping with medicine will only help the problem to an extent.
Many companies are becoming involved in the efforts to prevent the problems persisting and worsening through education. Education is South Africa’s best chance and weapon against disease, violence and poverty. Through these educational schemes which are made possible by corporate donations, effort and time; prevention is possible.
Added to the HIV/AIDS issues of South Africa are the problems concerning TB, cancer, malnutrition, drug addiction, crime, lack of proper housing, AIDS orphans, child abuse, violence against women, animal abuse, and other serious issues. These problems not only require counseling, medical treatment and other costs, but most of all require education schemes to alleviate lack of knowledge which is a major contributor to these problems.
Corporate social responsibility and social development is a venture which is creating positive change in the problems South Africa faces in terms of the environment and humanity. With corporate social responsibility a company is able to ‘put back’ some of the opportunities they have experienced into the less fortunate. Education is such an important tool for South Africa to be able to thrive, as is treating the many sick, abused, frightened and helpless.
About the Author:
Cape Formwork Contractors (CFC) are a scaffolding and formwork company in Cape Town giving back to the community by supporting Ubuntu Africa, a support service and healthcare provider to HIV positive children, teens and pregnant women in Khayelitsha, a township in Cape Town, South Africa.