The University of Cambridge, United Kingdom’s Judge Business School has acknowledged the Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), West Africa, in its new model for CSR.
The Centre for CSR, one of the sub-region’s leading sustainability and corporate social responsibility, events and advocacy organisations contributed to an extensive CSR research conducted by Professor Peter Williamson, a Professor of International Management at the University of Cambridge.
A statement issued by the Centre for CSR and copied to the Ghana News Agency said: “In an abstract published on its popular Cambridge Network website, the University cited contributions from the Centre for CSR, West Africa and quoted the Co-Founder of the Centre in many instances”.
It said the research, with a working title: “A new model for CSR”, studied more than 400 firms in five developing nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa with an overview of CSR in West Africa provided by the Centre for CSR.
It noted that the research revealed the success of corporate social responsibility activity as based on the context of where it is delivered, not just where a business is based.
The statement said it also revealed that business’ corporate social responsibility activity must adapt to the market where they operated.
It said the research revealed that for some companies trading only in their home market, social responsibility appeared not to be a priority, but a necessity when they started to trade in America, Europe or in developing countries.
It further showed that there were different expectations for CSR interventions in different parts of the world.
The statement said the disparity between the nature of CSR interventions expected in the developing world and Europe or America was quite significant.
In the Centre’s contribution to the research, the Lead Project Manager for the Centre for CSR West Africa, Mr John Kojo Bode Williams said: “A number of indigenous African organisations were following CSR examples of Western multinationals that operated in the same market.”
“But there is still skepticism that some multinationals are in danger of applying a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to CSR to their operations in developing economies,” he added.
Mr Williams said though there were still a number of militating misconceptions about CSR in Ghana and West Africa, many business players in the sub-region were gradually embracing the concept and its sustainability dimension.
He noted that: “Specific expectations from beneficiaries of CSR interventions also influenced the type of CSR activity companies implemented.”
“Sometimes companies, especially multinationals, are torn between implementing sustainable interventions that meet international best practices and responding directly to need-specific requests from stakeholders.”
According to Prof Williamson of the University of Cambridge, the New CSR Model is hinged on the principle that companies must adapt their CSR activities to the market where they operated.
The statement said as part of efforts to create more awareness around CSR and sustainability and to equip business leaders, the Centre for CSR, West Africa, in April, would organise a series of CSR Training programmes for corporate organisations in Ghana.
It said similar trainings would be held in other West African countries including Nigeria.
It said the Centre for CSR, West Africa continues to contribute significantly to the discourse of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility while ensuring companies developed pragmatic and sustainable interventions for all their stakeholders and the environment.
It recalled that last September, the Centre, in collaboration with the Association of Ghana Industries, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Ministry of Trade and Industry and other strategic partners, successfully organised the 6th Ghana CSR Excellence Awards (GHACEA).
It said MTN, Kosmos, Unilever, Guinness, Tigo, Vodafone, Airtel, PwC, Samba Foods, Prudential Life, Odebrecht Ghana, Huawei Technologies, Databank, Coconut Grove Hotel and Fidelity Bank made the winning list and were well represented by top management-level directors and chief executive officers.
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