Look at CSR as part of cost, not percentage of profits – Dep. Minister

Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation

To attain the utmost support from internal and external stakeholders, businesses must look at their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plans and programmes as part of cost and not a percentage of profit, Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has said.

“Undertaking a comprehensive CSR policy should form part of the cost outlay and not just a percentage of profit. You have to spend to achieve the desired results of living at and in peace with all stakeholders,” she said in an exclusive interview with the B&FT in Accra.

Speaking ahead of the 2019 edition of the Sustainability and Social Investment Awards which comes off this Friday at the Movenpick Hotel, on the theme: “Celebrating impact brands and their sustainable legacies”, she noted that businesses that have taken environmental, social and economic sustainability as part of the core of their operations will progress. “This means everyone gets satisfied.”

She lauded some of the multinationals for looking CSR as tool to further engage with communities they operate in, their employees and other stakeholders but called for awareness creation so that small and young companies can follow in the footsteps of the bigger companies and not look at CSR as mere donation to orphanages, schools and hospitals.

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“I believe corporate organisations must look at CSR holistically. The key issue here is simple: you have to assess your environment and then assess your stakeholders, know their needs and address them properly. I cannot prescribe anything specific for companies because it is an environmental subject. It is mainly about getting to know your stakeholders including employees, customers, and immediate environment.

If we create the awareness and every year we begin to vary the assessment criteria, we would be able to get everybody to be aware that you cannot just be skewing your CSR only towards donations but your stakeholders are taken care off and you are living peacefully with them to promote your businesses,” she added.

Views on SSI 2019

Asked about what she thinks of the 2019 Sustainability and Social Investment Awards, Mrs. Appiagyei, pointed that the main aim of the award is to create awareness about sustainability and social investment and the SDGs.

“Getting corporate institutions to focus on environmental, social and economic sustainability is a win-win situation for everyone involved. This means development will not be left solely to the government but they will also undertake some responsibilities of the government.”

This year’s edition is expected to be bigger and better as organisers unveil their Sustainability Plaque. It will also reward businesses that creatively approached CSR and those who are creating new standards, committing their organization to make social responsibility an integral part of their business.

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The award scheme is created to recognize businesses that creatively approached corporate social responsibility and reward those who are creating new standards, committing their organization to make social responsibility an integral part of their business.

While several companies have traditionally been undertaking CSI/CSR initiatives, the contributions of these companies in this direction are becoming more streamlined to corporate philanthropy, this is an attempt by the organizers to encourage companies and corporations to infuse corporate investments and innovations in the form of approach, usage of technology and expertise towards solving developmental challenges faced by the society, individuals and communities as a whole.

The awards are chosen based on varied subjects from women empowerment to education, skill development and livelihood empowerment, environment sustainability, health, water and sanitation etc. The standards it holds them to are stringent and are judged by a panel of high-profile CSR experts. Company size varies from major corporations to small and medium businesses, some just getting started.

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