CSR – obligation or altruism?


Ants are good citizens: they place group interests first. – Clarence Day


Social responsibility is ultimately our obligation if equity of opportunity is to be realised. I suspect it starts from altruism and, whatever the motivation of an organisation to build internal social structures and social strategic partnerships, ultimately the true test of CSR is the commitment bound within corporate guiding principles and mission statements.

Chembo Litana, Program Manager at ITEZO, questions whether corporate social responsibility is borne from altruism or an obligation. This is a great question. Organisations are beginning to build strategic partnerships between business and the community to support social CSR issues.  She speaks of firms building engagements in other countries and questions the results if every firm was obliged to engage in CSR.

I would like to add two additional dimensions – the shifting of obligation from an external body to the internally motivated goal of assisting others to self determination.  As for building engagement in other countries; yes, let’s do that but we can also shift engagement at home.  By employing a fully inclusive workforce, lifting barriers to gender, race, faith and ability and by lifting the good of the group to a high priority, management will engage with true corporate social responsibility.






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