Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Community Development. A Case Study of AngloGold Ashanti, Adieyie and Teberebie, Ghana
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives have become widespread in the extractive industry, including in Africa. CSR opponents and proponents hold conflicting positions on the conceptualisation, importance and ability of CSR to effectively address the negative ramification of the extractive industry and promote development in resource rich communities. Proponents of CSR hold that corporations can create shared wealth and promote long-term sustainable development. On the other hand, CSR opponents state that CSR is a greenwashing mechanism intended to guarantee corporations the social license to operate (SLO), and to allow continuation of usual business practices. This study sought to empirically investigate whether a global dominance of CSR has distorted or silenced ongoing knowledge of and protest against the negative externalities of the mining industry in Ghana. The study further assessed stakeholders’ perception of CSR as contributing to long term development. The study employed an ethnographic approach using key informant interviews and community surveys to examine the social interaction between relevant state institutions, AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) and Adieyie and Teberebie communities. By using the environmental justice (EJ) framework to critically analyse the impacts of the mining industry, it was revealed that Adieyie and Teberebie bear disproportionately high levels of the cost of the operation of the activities of AGA while benefiting minimally despite ongoing CSR initiatives. Key informants who viewed CSR as a greenwashing mechanism held that current CSR initiatives cannot contribute to long-term community development but more important is corporation’s compliance to the rules and regulations that govern the industry. Other key informants were of the view that for sustainable development to occur, current CSR initiatives must be aligned to national and community development agendas and create shared value. The study proposes a comprehensive assessment of the impacts of resource extraction on resource rich communities using the EJ framework so as to identify and find solutions to the true drivers of the marginalisation and exploitation of these communities. Furthermore, the government of Ghana should effectively perform its development responsibility to resource rich communities. In line with the arguments of Hermann (2004), the study proposes that CSR should be standardised and legislated with effective enforcement of standards and laws and also be aligned to the development agendas of the country and communities.
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