A Social Impact Assessment is imperative for sustainable investments.YolandaAD
Over the last few years education has become a key focal point for the private sector’s CSR in South Africa. As a result, several deserving learners and students have been the lucky recipients of bursaries and scholarships allocated by large corporates. Many of these bursary recipients have gone on to become sought-after professionals with impressive careers. And while the growing number of educated and skilled professionals in South Africa can be attributed to the private sector’s investments in education, one cannot help but wonder what the driving force is. What’s in it for corporate South Africa?
Sustainable corporate social investment is still gaining traction on the African continent. At face value, it may seem as though several companies operating on African soil have cracked the true essence of CSI, but in reality, many of them are unable to account for the impact that their CSR initiatives have made in their respective communities. Many organisations still view corporate social investment as an add-on and not a business line function with KPIs. This is precisely how ROI and social impact assessment falls through the cracks.
Multi-national companies such as Deloitte, Unilever, and Sasol, just to name a few, have invested heavily in the higher education and training of the South African youth. At face value one would think that these corporations do not directly reap the rewards of their noble efforts, but that is the furthest thing from reality.
For a lot of companies, CSI is about intangibles such as relationships, reputation and responsibility. However, when done correctly CSI can also yield tangible results. This is often achieved through a thorough social impact assessment which is often only performed when CSI is positioned as a bona fide line function with goals and targets. These institutions do not implement CSI projects in isolation, they know that they also stand to gain from their efforts in the future.
By investing in the wellbeing of the communities in which they operate, a company can increase their bottom line. This can be achieved by securing the availability of future skills required by the business. Their investments can also broaden the customer and client pool that they wish to attract in the future, and differentiate their business from their competitors.
Sustainable and impactful CSR strategies that deliver a significant return on investment are seldom achieved alone. The expertise of a corporate social investment consultancy can bridge the gap between a good CSR project and a sustainable CSR project. Five Tulips has the knowledge and experience to conceptualise, plan, implement and assess CSR strategies that provide tangible outcomes in sustainable investment programmes, while also positively impacting your business as a good corporate citizen.
About the Author:
Yolanda Gossel is the Founder and Programme Director at Five Tulips, a South African based sustainability and corporate social investment (CSI) consultancy. Five Tulips forges partnerships between communities, public and private sectors and individuals for social upliftment and preservation of our planets resources and ecosystems.
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