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CSR International, review on "Staking Their Claims: Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in South Africa", edited by David Fig

18 Apr 2012

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  • Title: Staking Their Claims: Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility in South Africa
  • Author(S): Greer Blizzard
  • Date: 30 Mar 2012
  • Publication: CSR International

With the broader concept of corporate social investment (CSI) having been initiated in the early 1970’s, this well documented book investigates the challenges inherited, and examines the role the government, corporate South Africa and the non-profit sector has played in the formal establishment of corporate social and environmental responsibility (CSER).

Staking their Claims provides a solid context to how the 1994 newly elected democratic government responded to the extreme historic financial and social inequalities created by apartheid, through the introduction of, among other initiatives, the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy and legislation. The details outline its initial inception, the challenges it faced and its developmental timeline up to 2007.

To add to this landscape, Staking their Claims explores the government and private sectors rather slow, erratic and partial response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and how that response impacted the working population and communities at large, including what influence failing to take proactive preventive measures had on South Africa’s economy.

Three separate industry sectoral studies, namely the chemical, the food & drink and one of the biggest and most controversial industries - the mining industry - examines the journey each took in dealing with the increasing pressure from the government to address historic concerns and to incorporate recommendations from the King Report, South Africa’s answer to governance legislation. Was enough being done by South African industries and corporations?

Through this text it becomes apparent that the private sector is finding it increasingly more difficult to argue that their sole responsibility is the pursuit of profit on behalf of shareholders and that stakeholders/investors are actively seeking companies with good CSER records to take a competitive South Africa into the future.

Reviewed by Greer Blizzard.

The article has been posted with permission from CSR International.