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CSR and sustainable community development in Nigeria: WAPCO, a case from the cement industry

  • Adeolu O. Adewuyi
  • Afolabi E. Olowookere
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    Purpose – Following the scarcity of studies in the developing countries, particularly Africa, on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainable community development, this paper intends to examine the case of a major cement company, WAPCO plc, and its host communities. Design/methodology/approach – A total of 15 CSR factors covering the three elements of sustainable development (economic, social and environment) were adopted, and with data extracted from the company's annual reports the contributions of WAPCO to sustainable development in the host communities in Nigeria were analysed. Findings – Analysis of 15 CSR factors shows that WAPCO has gone beyond assistance and community development per se to sustainable development in the host communities; its recent inclusion as a member of Lafarge SA may have attributed to this. However, the position of WAPCO seems not to be clear in the area of social and environmental reporting, and codes of conduct on bribery and corruption. Some areas such as health seem not to be given priority in the WAPCO's CSR expenditure. Further, WAPCO's CSR activities are observed to be directly related with its turnover; however, CSR as a ratio of turnover is less than 0.5 per cent throughout the study period. Research limitations/implications – The limitation of this study lies in the fact that although the firm used as a case study accounted for over half of the output in the industry, this study is based on a single firm in the cement manufacturing industry. Besides, data extracted from the company's annual reports are taken as given. Thus, caution needs to be exercised in the interpretation and generalisation of the results and conclusions/recommendations. Practical implications – WAPCO and polluting firms in general should devote more resources to CSR activities. Besides, there is the need to design a clear policy/strategy and enforcement mechanism in the area of social and environmental reporting, and codes of conduct on bribery and corruption. The area of health needs to be given priority in a firm's CSR expenditure and regulations. Originality/value – The study adopts both theoretical and empirical approaches to analyse the contributions of a firm (which generates negative externalities) to sustainable development of its host communities so as to forestall crisis between the two stakeholders. To the authors' knowledge, no previous study in a developing continent such as Africa has taken such an approach to analyse the case of a firm in the cement industry.

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    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Social Responsibility Journal.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 522-535

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    Handle: RePEc:eme:srjpps:v:6:y:2010:i:4:p:522-535
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    1. Uwem E. Ite, 2007. "Changing times and strategies: Shell's contribution to sustainable community development in the Niger Delta, Nigeria," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 1-14.
    2. Jeremy Moon, 2007. "The contribution of corporate social responsibility to sustainable development," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 296-306.
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