The concept of corporate social responsibility is now being embraced by a large number of organizations in Nigeria across different sectors. In the past, CSR was considered by many to be a muddled mix of philanthropy, emergency relief, altruism, and charity. That skewed perception is graduallyshifting. Many organizations are beginning to adopt CSR as a business strategy that delivers measurable returns and allows them to give back to the local community.
ThistlePraxis Consulting in Nigeria recently published a study on the state of CSR in that country. The survey was carried out over a period of nine months and included over 700 respondents, with several senior decision-makers in prominent national organizations participating in it. The results of the study were as enlightening as they were encouraging.
Some of the survey highlights that present a positive picture of the state of CSR in the country include:
- Seven out of 10 businesses across various sectors are now engaged in CSR initiatives
- Sixty-nine percent of respondents state that CSR is important to their business strategy
- Fifty-seven percent of the organizations have a CSR policy in place
- Education (52.1%), Youth Development (35.56%), and Health (33.15%) rank highest in CSR spending
The survey also revealed the challenges that still remain in the area of corporate responsibility in Nigeria. Seventy-two percent of the respondents said that they do not measure return on investment (ROI) on CSR and do not consider it to be a strategic investment. Thirty-eight percent were of the opinion that CSR initiatives did not improve their revenues in any way. Only 62 percent of the organizations have managed to document their CSR policies.
While CSR is increasingly gaining acceptance in Nigeria as a whole, it still has a significant distance to go. Secrecy has always been a mainstay of Nigerian governance, and it is proving to be a major hindrance to the growth of CSR in the region. To be sustainable, CSR will have to accord priority to transparency, disclosure, and reporting.