The role of CSR as a sustainable function

28 November 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Marlize Horn

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a broad term, but in essence it is the ownership that a company takes for its role in society, how it conducts its business, and its impact on the environment.
The concept of CSR implies that a company must generate economic value (profit) responsibly, enabling the company to create sustainable opportunities for advancing and improving the social and economic conditions in its surrounding communities.
The benefits of CSR far exceed the “feel good” state of a company when positioned as a responsible and caring organisation. If done for the right reasons and in the right way, it will contribute to loyalty and goodwill from stakeholders, customers, and employees. Most employees would like to work for an employer that embraces its CSR role and positively impacts society.
That is why CSR has evolved over the years from a public relations tool and a “nice to have” to become a strategic imperative for the company’s future growth and sustainability.
But how do companies go about being more strategic and less tactical in their approach to CSR?

Long term
CSR is multidimensional and not only about philanthropy. It extends to how the company conducts itself and the value that it creates through doing business ethically and responsibly. To make a meaningful impact on society, companies should identify sustainable solutions to address systemic problems and their root causes.
For instance, in Namibia more than 20% of Namibians do not have food security. Many companies and welfare organisations are committed to providing relief to these impoverished Namibians by handing out food donations and supporting soup kitchens.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, this need became even bigger and most companies redirected their social programmes to fight poverty and hunger.
Is there, however, a more sustainable solution other than handing out food parcels? Should we not invest more of our resources into empowering communities to establish and maintain their own vegetable gardens to provide a constant food source? Is there a solution to the tonnes of food that is wasted every month in the hospitality and retail industry?
Capricorn Group’s flagship brand, Bank Windhoek, has a long track record of making meaningful impacts in society. One example of a long-term project that addressed a system issue was when the bank signed a cooperation agreement in 2004 with the then Ministry of Basic Education, Sport and Culture.
A need was identified to strengthen entrepreneurial skills development and training in the national education curriculum to train future entrepreneurs for Namibia. This led to the introduction of Entrepreneurship as a subject in Namibian secondary schools that still today equips learners with the skills and knowledge to perhaps start their own business. This contributes to job creation and alleviates unemployment.
These sustainable approaches deal with systemic projects in our communities and align the company’s objectives to that of the country’s National Development Plan and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. That way, your company is guaranteed to put its efforts and resources to have the biggest positive impact.

Short term
It is important to note that although a more strategic and long-term approach is more sustainable, the immediate needs in our communities cannot be ignored. The ideal is to have a balanced approach between addressing long-term systemic issues and supporting short-term social needs. The pandemic has taught us one thing about social investment: Plans can change.
For example, the national emergency regarding the shortage of medical oxygen in June 2021 in Namibia required a swift relevant response from the private sector to support government and diverted funds to support this initiative. Therefore, it is important to reflect on what needs to be done over the long-term to prevent a similar emergency situation.

Helen Keller said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”.
This holds merit, as our communities are intertwined, and there are most probably others in the business community focusing on the exact same social problems. Therefore, always consider the initiatives that you support or wish to support and how you can collaborate with like-minded institutions to address community-wide needs. The logic behind collaboration is that combined resources create the prospect of helping more people.

Employee volunteerism
Finally, involve your employees. The aspect of employee volunteerism adds value to corporate social investment initiatives. When a company is willing to allow its employees to volunteer their time to support communities, it shows its heart. Not only does it build brand pride and enhance engagement among employees resulting in more productivity, it also allows employees to become part of a purpose, and it proves your commitment to making a difference to your stakeholders.
For example, at Capricorn Group, our employees become part of the solution to many of our communities’ problems through our Changemaker programme that embodies our Group’s purpose to be Connectors of Positive Change.
There is still much that can be done to address the needs in society, but with every action taken, we are one step closer to creating a better tomorrow for everyone.
*Marlize Horn is the Capricorn Group’s Group Executive: Brand & Corporate Affairs.

Similar News


Giving the customer the experience they want

4 days ago - 18 January 2022 | Opinion

Windhoek • Kehad SnydewelIt is often said that we do not know what customer service is in Namibia.Well, I beg to differ.We definitely know what...

New year, same scams

1 week ago - 13 January 2022 | Opinion

Windhoek • Magreth MengoAs we enter the new year, we unfortunately still have the problem of dealing with scammers and fraudulent messages.We would have loved...

Cyber security protection tips for the new year

1 week ago - 12 January 2022 | Opinion

Windhoek • Martin HamukwayaThe Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has in recent years increased the shift and reliance in the use of information technology for...

Whistleblowing vs leaking information

1 week ago - 11 January 2022 | Opinion

Windhoek • Hilma Uutoni The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) has adopted a philosophy of zero tolerance towards unlawful conduct, or any form of dishonesty,...

Renewable energy imperative for Namibia’s future

1 week ago - 11 January 2022 | Opinion

The United Nations (UN) has identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that we as humanity should be trying to achieve. All are noble, all are...

Regroup and become resilient

1 week ago - 09 January 2022 | Opinion

Windhoek • Dr John SteytlerI recently started engaging and writing about mental health. A precarious topic upon which to tread, as there is so much...

The Namibian House needs to be inclusive

1 month - 07 December 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Mathew HashoongoOver the last few years there has been a lot of talk about building the Namibian House and making it an inclusive,...

Leader for a Lifetime

1 month - 06 December 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Lindo AntonioDecember 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day when the rights and well-being of all people with disabilities...

Savvy retirement

1 month - 02 December 2021 | Opinion

An unknown author once said, “retirement is wonderful if you have two essentials; much to live on and much to live for”.“With the Government Institutions...


1 month - 30 November 2021 | Opinion

Windhoek • Romanzo SteenkampNamibia braces itself for more socio-economic problems as food prices increase by 26.2%, but alcohol only with 12 %. Shocking! Does it...

Latest News

Chill with Windhoek Express

1 day - 21 January 2022 | Art and Entertainment

Recurring events• 07:00 Bio-Markt / Green Market at the Stephanus Church (Dr Kenneth Kaunda Street) in Windhoek until 12:00 every Saturday.• 16:00 Coffee and Cake...

Festival of classics at COTA

1 day - 21 January 2022 | Art and Entertainment

One of Namibia’s most gifted pianists, Johann van der Merwe, hosts a performance tomorrow (22 January) to raise money to support the Cancer Association of...

Raging river sweeps cars away

1 day - 21 January 2022 | Weather

Windhoek • [email protected] Elisenheim River swept motor vehicles away late on Wednesday night when a flash flood sped past the Farmers Kitchen restaurant at the...

La Niña still on a...

1 day - 21 January 2022 | Weather

Grootfontein • [email protected] the met office issued a warming for today for widespread thunderstorms over the western half of the interior, a meteorologist believes the...

Onreëlmatighede vertraag die aanstelling van...

1 day - 21 January 2022 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected] hoofstad se burgemeester, Sade Gawanas, sê daar is beweerde onreëlmatighede met betrekking tot die werwing van Stad Windhoek se uitvoerende hoof wat...

Judges dismiss same-sex marriage

2 days ago - 20 January 2022 | Local News

Jana-Mari SmithThree Windhoek High Court judges have dismissed the application by two Namibians and their foreign born spouses to have their marriages recognised in Namibia,...

Vyf damme kry water

2 days ago - 20 January 2022 | Environment

Elvira HattinghTeen gistermiddag om 14:50 het die Hardapdam nog sowat 289,3 m³ water per sekonde ingekry, terwyl nog drie ander nasionale damme sedert Maandag ‘n...

Am Weinberg joins Gondwana Collection

2 days ago - 20 January 2022 | Business

Come 1 February and the Am Weinberg Hotel will join the Gondwana portfolio in a management capacity. According to CEO Gys Joubert of Gondwana Collection...

Cycle lanes progressing well

2 days ago - 19 January 2022 | Infrastructure

The City of Windhoek in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ Namibia) continue working towards sustainable mobility in the city.Together, the parties...

Load More