CSR in Nigeria
Blog by Wayne Visser
A few thoughts after my trip to Lagos last month …
I am not naive enough to believe that CSR heralds a new dawn for Nigeria. The general consensus was that most companies are stuck in the Ages of Philanthropy and Marketing. Nevertheless, CSR has the potential to advance transparency and to create a platform to discuss the ethics of business and government. It also has the potential to be corrupted, which sadly is already happening in some instances where corporate sponsorship of government ‘CSR projects’ is practiced as an indirect form of bribery.
Shell Nigeria’s reputation seems as sullied as ever, 15 years after the Ken Saro Wiwa fiasco. It seems like a viscous cycle of destructive relations. According to Tony Attah, Manager of Sustainable Development and Community Relations, 90% of the oil spills in 2009/10 were as a result of saboteurs, vandals and those trying to steal oil from the pipelines. Also, the Nigerian government takes more than 90% of the earnings of the business through taxes, royalties and their own equities (it has a 55% equity stake in the company).
Of course, there are examples of good practice, such as the Global MOUs between companies and communities, and conservation projects like the Chevron preserved urban forest which I visited. Yet even here, one senses that these are fragile fortifications against a relentless tide of oil-slicked growth and car-jammed urbanisation. I was there during the scheduled first weekend of elections, but these were postponed due to printed ballot papers not arriving in time. The Nigerians take it all in their stride, as if fighting the behemoth of inefficiency is as futile as cursing the manic traffic.
One encouraging initiative is the Social Enterprise Reporting Awards (SERA), run by Trucontact …
[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”download” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/blog_nigeria_wvisser.pdf”]Pdf[/button] CSR in Nigeria (blog)
[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.waynevisser.com/books/the-age-of-responsibility”]Link[/button] The Age of Responsibility (book)
[button size=”small” color=”blue” style=”tick” new_window=”false” link=”http://www.csrinternational.org”]Link[/button] CSR International (website)
Cite this blog
Visser, W. (2011) CSR in Nigeria, Wayne Visser Blog Briefing, 26 April 2011.