CSR in Developing Countries

Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries

Chapter by Wayne Visser

Extract from The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility

The challenge for corporate social responsibility (CSR) in developing countries is framed by a vision that was distilled in 2000 into the Millennium Development Goals—‘a world with less poverty, hunger and disease, greater survival prospects for mothers and their infants, better educated children, equal opportunities for women, and a healthier environment’ (UN, 2006: 3). Unfortunately, these global aspirations remain far from being met in many developing countries today. The question addressed by this chapter, therefore, is: What is the role of business in tackling the critical issues of human development and environmental sustainability in developing countries?

To begin with, it is worth clarifying my use of the terms developing countries and CSR. There is an extensive historical and generally highly critical debate in the development literature about the classification of countries as developed and less developed or developing. Without reviving that debate here, suffice to say that I use developing countries because it is still a popular term used to collectively describe nations that have relatively lower per capita incomes and are relatively less industrialized.

This is consistent with the United Nations Developments Program’s (2006) categorization in its summary statistics on human development and is best represented by theWorld Bank’s classification of lower and middle income countries. It should be noted, however, that the UNDP’s classification of high, medium and low development countries produces a slightly different picture than the World Bank’s list of which countries are developed and developing.

CSR is an equally contested concept (Moon, 2002b). However, for the purposes of this chapter, I use CSR in developing countries to represent ‘the formal and informal ways in which business makes a contribution to improving the governance, social, ethical, labour and environmental conditions of the developing countries in which they operate, while remaining sensitive to prevailing religious, historical and cultural contexts’ (Visser et al., 2007).

The rationale for focusing on CSR in developing countries as distinct from CSR in the developed world is fourfold:

  1. developing countries represent the most rapidly expanding economies, and hence the most lucrative growth markets for business (IMF, 2006);
  2. developing countries are where the social and environmental crises are usually most acutely felt in the world (WRI, 2005; UNDP, 2006);
  3. developing countries are where globalization, economic growth, investment, and business activity are likely to have the most dramatic social and environmental impacts (both positive and negative) (World Bank, 2006); and
  4. developing countries present a distinctive set of CSR agenda challenges which are collectively quite different to those faced in the developed world.

The latter claim is explored further in the sections which follow and is summarized at the end of the chapter. The chapter begins by proposing different ways to categorize the literature on CSR in developing countries. It then reviews the research which has been conducted at a global and regional level, before considering the main CSR drivers in developing countries. Finally, a model of CSR in developing countries is proposed, before concluding with a summary and recommendations for future research …

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Related pages

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/corporate-citizenship-in-africa”]Page[/button] Corporate Citizenship in Africa (book)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-world-guide-to-csr”]Page[/button] The World Guide to CSR (book)

Cite this chapter

Visser, W. (2008) Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries, In A. Crane, A. McWilliams, D. Matten, J. Moon & D. Siegel (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 473-479.

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CSR Pyramid for Africa

Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid:

An African Perspective

Chapter by Wayne Visser

Extract from Corporate Citizenship in Developing Countries

This chapter explores the nature of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in an African context, using Carroll’s CSR Pyramid as a framework for descriptive analysis. Carroll’s CSR Pyramid is probably the most well known model of CSR, with its four levels indicating the relative importance of economic, legal, ethical and philanthropic responsibilities respectively. However, the exploration of CSR in Africa is also used to challenge the accuracy and relevance Carroll’s CSR Pyramid. If Carroll’s basic four-part model is accepted, it is suggested that the relative priorities of CSR in Africa are likely to be different from the classic, American ordering. However, it is also proposed that Carroll’s CSR Pyramid may not be the best model for understanding CSR in general, and CSR in Africa in particular. Anglo American is used as a case study to illustrate the debate.

The African Context

The debate over Africa’s future has taken centre stage recently, with the publication of Our Common Interest, the report of the Commission for Africa (2005). The report calls for improved governance and capacity building, the pursuit of peace and security, investment in people, economic growth and poverty reduction, and increased and fairer trade. It is not hard to see that business has a key role to play in this transformation process, with much of its contribution capable of being to be framed in terms of CSR.

Despite generally negative press, there has been significant progress on the continent over the past decade. Fifteen countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, and Burkina Faso, have been growing on average more than 5% per year since the mid-1990s. And foreign direct investment (FDI) rose to $8.5 billion in 2004, up from $7.8 billion the previous year (World Bank, 2005a). Africa’s new generation of leaders, through initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) , the African Union  and the East African Community , are taking responsibility for development (Lundy & Visser, 2003).

Nevertheless, Africa remains a marginal region in global terms: With 12% of the world’s population (around 750 million people) in 53 countries, Africa accounts for less than 2% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and FDI, and less than 10% of FDI to all developing countries (African Development Bank, 2003, 2004). Of the 81 poorest countries prioritised by the International Development Association, almost half are in Africa (World Bank, 2005a). And even within Africa, there is highly skewed development, with the largest ten economies accounting for 75% of the continent’s GDP (African Development Bank, 2004).

The extent of the challenge for CSR in Africa becomes even clearer when we are reminded of the scale of social needs that still exist, despite decades of aid and development effort …

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[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/chapter_wvisser_africa_csr_pyramid.pdf”]Pdf[/button] CSR Pyramid for Africa (chapter)

Related pages

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/corporate-citizenship-in-africa”]Page[/button] Corporate Citizenship in Africa (book)

Cite this chapter

Visser, W. (2006) Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid: An African Perspective, In E.R. Pedersen & M. Huniche (eds.), Corporate Citizenship in Developing Countries, Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press, 29–56

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Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid

Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid:

An African Perspective

Article by Wayne Visser

This article has two primary objectives: 1) To use Archie Carroll’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Pyramid to illustrate the nature of CSR in Africa; and 2) To use the context of Africa to demonstrate the limitations of Carroll’s CSR Pyramid as a framework for understanding CSR. Anglo American is used as a case study to illustrate the debate.

The African Context

The debate over Africa’s future has taken centre stage recently, with the publication of Our Common Interest, the report of the UK’s Commission for Africa. The report calls for improved governance and capacity building, the pursuit of peace and security, investment in people, economic growth and poverty reduction, and increased and fairer trade. It is not hard to see that business has a key role to play in this transformation process, with much of its contribution capable of being to be framed in terms of CSR.

Despite generally negative press, there has been significant progress on the continent over the past decade. Fifteen countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, have been growing on average more than 5% per year since the mid-1990s. And foreign direct investment (FDI) rose to $8.5 billion in 2004, up from $7.8 billion the previous year. At the same time, Africa’s new generation of leaders, through initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Union and the East African Community, are taking responsibility for development.

Nevertheless, Africa remains a marginal region in global terms: With 12% of the world’s population (around 750 million people) in 53 countries, Africa accounts for less than 2% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and FDI, and less than 10% of FDI to all developing countries. Of the 81 poorest countries prioritised by the International Development Association, almost half are in Africa. And even within Africa, there is highly skewed development, with the largest ten economies accounting for 75% of the continent’s GDP.

The extent of the challenge for CSR in Africa becomes even clearer when we are reminded of the scale of social needs that still exist, despite decades of aid and development effort: Life expectancy in Africa is still only 50 years on average (and as low as 38 years in some countries), Gross National Income per capita averages $650 (and drops as low as $90 in some countries) and the adult literacy rate is less than 20% in some countries. At the current pace of development, Sub-Saharan Africa would not reach the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction until 2147 and for child mortality until 2165; and as for HIV/Aids and hunger, trends in the region are heading up, not down.

The Role of Business

The track record of big business in Africa is mixed at best. There is certainly no shortage of examples of corporate complicity in political corruption, environmental destruction, labour exploitation and social disruption, stretching back more than 100 years. Equally, however, there is …

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[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/article_africa_pyramid_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid (article)

Related websites

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)

[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”info” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/corporate-citizenship-in-africa”]Page[/button] Corporate Citizenship in Africa (book)

Cite this article

Adapted from: Visser, W. (2005) Revisiting Carroll’s CSR Pyramid: An African Perspective. In Corporate Citizenship in a Development Perspective, edited by Esben Rahbek Pedersen & Mahad Huniche, Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.

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