Here I am, writing as a rookie in consultancy; to be more specific, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Consultancy. What does it mean to be a consultant or be in the consulting industry?
First, a simple understanding of a consultant is a professional who offers expert advice in a particular or various areas such as management, accountancy, law or security, to mention a few.
On the job, I have learned that most corporate organizations appear to approach CSR with a basic template to execute. So they renovate a school, build a few boreholes, provides scholarship to students, sponsor a youth programme, and brand it as CSR. This is then pushed to the media to present to the general public as a way of boosting its reputation; therefore, creating brand awareness where necessary. This is based on the fact that organizations don’t have an in-built CSR strategy, but an add-on strategy, which is usually handled under their Corporate Communications Departments.
From my perspective, it is obvious that this traditional approach to CSR has to be replaced by a strategy built into a business strategy. Corporate organizations would have to consider the impact CSR initiatives would have for the organization (short and long-term benefits for the organization in terms of ROI, Brand awareness and the like) and also the impact on the stakeholders.
With a focus on Africa as the next major frontier for development, corporate organizations in Africa need to learn from their counterparts in other continents who have recently just started building sustainability into their frameworks.
This is the time for corporations to separate CSR (Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility) as a stand-alone department and also integrate strategy into its business strategy.
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