Corporate social responsibility of a Nigerian polluter: the West African Portland Cement (WAPCO) Nigerian PLC's case
Purpose – Owing to the dearth of studies in Africa on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community satisfaction with them, this study aims to examine the case of WAPCO and its host communities. Design/methodology/approach – Through the use of a simple structured questionnaire, the authors collected data from key respondents including community development leaders, community chiefs, market women leaders, youth development leaders, religious leaders and other opinion leaders in and around the locations of WAPCO's Plants. The authors also extract some useful information from the company's annual reports. In analyzing the data, both a descriptive approach and some measures of linear association are adopted. Findings – The authors found that, although the proportion of resources committed to CSR is small, CSR expenditure rises with the firm's sales. Further, the host community displays a great knowledge of the adverse effects of the company's operation; however, reactions are minimal. This is attributed to the company's elaborate governance structure and CSR practices as well as to a high level of host community satisfaction with them. However, there is the budding predisposition for the company's activities to generate conflict with workers from the community and the community as a whole in the future. Research limitations/implications – The study is limited by the facts that some data extracted from the company's annual reports are taken as given, and by an inability to carry out a large-scale survey of opinions as planned due to unwillingness of the community individual members to cooperate. Besides, the study is based on a single firm in the manufacturing industry. Thus, caution should be exercised in the interpretation and generalization of these results. Practical implications – The company's CSR is rated as satisfactory; nonetheless, involving the community more in the design of its CSR programs is imperative. The idea of institutionalization of collective bargaining procedures in CSR activities is relevant not just to WAPCO, but also to other companies, especially those with much environmental impact, like the oil companies. It is also suggested that a grassroots approach be taken in studying the CSR profile of companies, especially in a developing economy, like Nigeria; in order to serve as early warning signs of conflicts. Originality/value – The study adopts both theoretical and empirical approaches to associate a company's CSR practice with the immediate community needs or satisfaction so as to forestall the replication of the kind of crisis observed in the Nigerian oil industry. To one's knowledge, no prior study in Africa has taken such a holistic and balanced approach.
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Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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