The relevance, importance and applicability of corporate social and environmental responsibility: South African case studies

Louw, Marie-Louise (2007-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Sustainable Development Planning and Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


At the beginning of the new millennium, the world faces various challenges. Global warming is an all too familiar word, global terrorism is a threat to many countries that always felt safe and an ever looming oil crisis just does not want to go away. No longer can it be argued that nature is a never-ending provider of resources. In order for humanity to co-exist with nature, it is of great importance that we take our responsibility towards nature and other human beings seriously. In the midst of all these, the most prominent institution in the world, the corporation, plays a very significant role. They are the biggest traders in resources and they are also the institutions that affect our lives more than any other. It is because of the influence that corporations have in our lives and on the natural environment they operate in, that they need to take their social and environmental responsibility serious. This thesis focuses on the corporate social and environmental responsibility of two prominent corporations that operate in and around Stellenbosch: the University of Stellenbosch and Spier Holdings. The validity of the reasons behind corporate social responsibility is also investigated through literature before it is “tested” at the two corporations mentioned above. In terms of its findings, the thesis established the effectiveness of the way the university is dealing with social and environmental issues. Opposed to this, Spier is studied as a corporation that deals with the same challenges in an environmental and socially sensitive manner. The thesis also shows that there is a moral and business case for corporate social and environmental responsibility that is applicable to corporations in general and that those reasons are valid and relevant. The thesis found that becoming a more sustainable corporation is beneficial for the corporation, the society in which it operates as well as the natural environment.

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