More and more companies have continued to express commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reporting by consistently publishing a compendium of their activities every year. In reiterating this dedication to sharing best practices with both its internal and external stakeholders, Total Nigeria continues what has become a corporate tradition with the 2016 Social Performance publication.
Total Nigeria’s CSR activities are categorised and critiqued according to impact on three (3) themes – Citizenship, Human & Social Development and Local Economic Development. Although the value of fiscal expenditure on CSR for 2016 is not revealed in the report, local economic development incurred the highest share (54%), followed by human and social development (44%) while citizenship incurred the least (2%). What this suggests therefore is that economic development – through which a business case for investment can be made as well as return on investment to the multinational ‘investor’ – is perhaps the greatest area of need, not only in the Niger Delta region but also across the country, where interventions are almost evenly spread.
The report further captures the impact of the company’s investments in ten (10) core areas of safety and environment, local content development, human resources, diversity and inclusion, education, health, youth development, partnership, enterprise development, and arts and culture. With the use of relevant graphs, and images, it gives a concise background to the content of each project, showcasing milestones, key achievements, stakeholder testimonies, as well as certifications, where applicable. However, it fails to hint a justification for these investments in the first place as well as history of past investments to demonstrate long-term commitment to ensure sustainable impact rather than periodic charitable giving.
A high point for the report is the dedication of a section to how Total has embedded the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its CSR programmes. It shows and explains the business themes and company’s actions towards each of the seventeen (17) goals. Nonetheless, there are other conventions featured in past reports that are missing in the 2016 report. This decision to stick to only the UN SDGs is not explained in the report.
Although comprehensive, a sectional presentation of each project aligned with the area under the impact themes would have given readers a better comparative analysis of impact for the year. In an economy where corporate reporting is only fledging, Total must be commended for reporting, and challenged to demonstrate improvements and growth with each passing year.
Publisher: The Upstream Companies of Total in Nigeria
Year of Publication: 2017