According to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact all organisations should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility both economically and socially.
As part of environmental responsibility, companies invest in social commitment activities to improve the quality of life in developing disadvantaged communities. According to the International Economic Development Council every corporation has the responsibility to promote and advance the social and economic welfare of the public.
Corporate Social Investment (CSI) is usually aimed at benefiting the environment and developing communities affecting millions of people globally by making an impact in education, sustainability and health.
South Africa, as a developing country often associates CSI with addressing problems ranging from producing clean energy, creating jobs and building infrastructure to promoting education, providing training programs and supporting childhood development.
According to Trialogue annual research (CSI and sustainability consultancy), South African companies directed nearly R8 billion in cash, goods and services to corporate social investment in 2012/13.
This investment goes to sectors such as education, social, community development and health. According to this report, education again received the greatest share of CSI expenditure, with 89% of respondents supporting the sector and giving an average of 43% of their CSI expenditure to educational causes; while more than a third of companies run programmes in the food security, agriculture, entrepreneur, small business support and environment sectors.
Among these statistics, the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) continues to be a leading example of a socially responsible organization with more than 1.5% of Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) dedicated towards CSI. According to the dti, at least 1% of NPAT should go towards CSI.
CDC believes that CSI needs to have a demonstrable, positive developmental impact hence the organization is investing greatly in the communities in which it operates. Furthermore, the CDC aims to make long-term and sustainable investments in communities throughout the country, particularly focusing on the communities in which it operates with the focal point of rural development, health, crime and corruption prevention; and sport and recreation.
As an agent for championing of socio-economic development and driver of social change in South Africa, CDC contribute towards improving the country’s socio- economic environment in alignment to the country’s national pillars.
Over the years, CDC established and implemented a number of CSI programmes such as Maths and Science Programme, Disabled people employed at CDC, Social Assistance to Destitute Families, Women in Palmerton-Lusikisiki, Early Childhood Development Programme, and Driver Training Programme to name but a few.
These projects have been implemented with the main objective of making a measurable, positive impact on the communities in which the CDC operates through investing in the development of disadvantaged communities. All these programmes have a positive spin-off in education and skills development resulting in employment, economic growth and youth empowerment.
Maths and Science Programme is one of the CDC’s CSI programmes largely contributing to the community in terms of education, skills development and has yielded more learners undertaking studies in Science, Engineering and Technology, thereby reducing the gap between supply and demand of critical and scarce skills. This programme has taken learners who had given up on gaining university entrance due to poor results and given them a second chance to improve their results and thereby increasing their chances of a better future.
The programme has yielded impressive results for 2015 with a 98% pass rate achieved for both Maths and Physical Science.
Social Assistance to Destitute Families gives hope to families that have less by providing them with the basics, enhancing the image of these families, with learners receiving school uniforms from the organization therefore placing their focus on their studies. Furthermore, CDC implements winter campaigns which include donating blankets to families affected by the floods and those living in unfavorable conditions.
Driver Training Programme is giving unemployed youth between the ages of 18-35 years much needed skills boost and improved employability. The programme has continued with its positive impact through an impressive number of people obtaining their drivers licenses. In the FY2015/16 685 beneficiaries obtained their drivers licenses. In addition, the flagship programme managed to assist 2349 beneficiaries to obtain their learners licenses, while a further 1675 beneficiaries benefitted from the driver training using the simulator centre.
Disabled people employed at CDC restore the dignity of people with disabilities by providing them with skills they need to secure employment. It integrates them back into the economic stream where they earn their own living instead of depending on the government for grants. Up to this date CDC has managed to train and secure employment for over 18 employees living with disabilities.
Palmerton Women Empowerment Programme – Lusikisiki; the programme currently benefits over 30 women who have decided to take an active part in the growth of their communities. The programme provides skills development and training through business ventures such as entrepreneurship, training in shoe making, sewing, jewellery making, pottery etc.
Coega Internship Programme – the programme is targeted at youth, mainly young graduates who have completed their qualifications at institutions of higher learning. The CDC has in the FY 2015/16 employed 133 interns for a period of 18 months. The interns are afforded a mentor to guide and mentor them for the duration of their stay within the CDC.
In addition, we believe that the future of the Eastern Cape and the surrounding areas is being re-written by CDC, which is not only pouring billions into industrial and infrastructure development, but is also giving back to the province through high-impact corporate social investment projects that are changing thousands of lives.