Perspectives on Best Practices of Sustainable Corporate

Perspectives on Best Practices of
Sustainable Corporate
Dr Uwem E. Ite
BSc (Uyo, Nigeria), MPhil & PhD (Cambridge, UK)
P O Box 690
Uyo, 520001
Akwa Ibom State
Tel: +234 803 8758775 or +234 802 4444653
Business enterprises have responsibilities to the wider society, and
not only to their shareholders.
Descriptions of role of business in the society include:
 corporate responsibility,
 corporate social responsibility,
 corporate citizenship,
 ethical corporation
 good corporate governance;
 corporate philanthropy
 corporate social responsiveness.
Defining CSR
“The continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and
contribute to economic development while improving the quality of
life of the workforce, and their families, as well as of the local
community and society at large.” (World Business Council for
Sustainable Development, 2000)
“Operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the
ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has
of business”. (Business for Social Responsibility, 1998)
Drivers of CSR
Values - a value shift has taken place within businesses where they
not only feel responsibility for wealth creation but also for social and
environmental goods.
Strategy - being more socially and environmentally responsible is
important for the strategic development of a company.
Public Pressure - pressure groups, consumers, media, the state and
other public bodies are pressing companies to become more socially
Corporate Benefits of CSR
Building a strong corporate reputation, image and clout as well as
strengthen brand positioning,
Attracting and retaining a motivated workforce,
Reducing risks and operating costs,
Reducing regulatory oversight by working closely with regulatory
agencies to meet or exceed guidelines,
Increased appeal to investors and financial analysts.
Building strong community relationships with organizations and
agencies that can provide technical expertise.
Key Components of CSR
Best Practices
Strategic Partnerships
Partnership = new development approach favoured by the
multilateral and bilateral donor community, industry, public and
private sector organizations.
Advantages include pooling resources, building respect and
understanding between potential adversaries, and transferring
Tri-sector partnerships requires business, government and civil
society to pull together complementary resources.
Stakeholder Engagement
Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have a vested interest
in a company’s operations, who interact with a company in one or
more of its activities and whose co-operation or active involvement a
company needs for its ‘license to operate’.
Engagement methods include consultation papers, perception
surveys, stakeholder workshops, public and private meetings, liaison
groups and academic roundtables.
The overall success of the engagement process will depend to a
large extent on corporate communication.
Public Sector Support
a) Mandating - define minimum standards for business performance.
b) Facilitating - provide incentives for companies to engage with the
CSR agenda.
c) Partnering - act as participants, convenors or facilitators.
d) Endorsing - direct recognition of the efforts of individual
enterprises through award schemes or ‘honourable mentions’ in
speeches by top government officials.
Examples of CSR Best Practices
Starbucks, USA
Leading retailer,
roaster and band of
specialty coffee in
the world
Has more than
12,000 companyoperated and
licensed locations in
North America, Latin
America, Europe,
the Middle East and
Asia Pacific.
Starbucks, USA
Entered into partnership with Conservation International in 1998.
The aim was to promote the adoption of agricultural practices that are
socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.
Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices (C.A.F.E. Practices) offer incentives
to suppliers who demonstrate independently verified performance of
environmental and social criteria.
C.A.F.E. Practices has become a model for addressing environmental
and social concerns through a company's supply chain.
Statoil, Venezuela
Statoil ASA was a Norwegian
petroleum company established in
1972, now part of StatoilHydro.
Had negative experience
involving human rights issues in
several countries, including
This prompted its subsequent
selection of human rights as a
core value of its business and the
focus of its CSR program.
Statoil, Venezuela
Partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),
Amnesty International to train local judges on basic human rights and the
legal processes in 1999.
Statoil made significant financial contributions for the training, but
maintained a low profile by monitoring progress rather than trying to control
the programme.
The reformed judicial system in 2001 was accompanied by new
legislation with a stronger human rights focus and a new penal code.
UNDP found the Venezuelan project as ‘a best-practice case’, for possible
replication in other countries.
CSR is an increasingly important part of the business environment.
Companies developing and implementing their policies must take
the socio-cultural context into consideration.
CSR needs to be integrated in core business strategies and should
not be seen as an add-on.
CSR is not a replacement for the rightful role of democratic
governments to set regulatory frameworks for the benefit of the
society and their people.