CSR practice in Ghana; the need for policy framework

The overall contributions of businesses to sustainable development underpin the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (UNES 2007). It is termed differently in several circles. While companies prefer using the term CSR or Corporate citizenship, non-governmental organizations and some governments prefer social investment. Some, in recent times, prefer sustainable development in order to demonstrate their consciousness and commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Whatever the term used, be it corporate citizenship, philanthropy, corporate responsibility, social investment or triple bottom line, generally it connotes the contribution of businesses to development in a country.
Currently, CSR has become a popular acronym in the Ghanaian media and means many things to many companies. It is often used by companies at the slightest show of philanthropy to society no matter the worth of what they give out. And with the UN’s declaration of the Sustainable Development Goals it has become even more imperative that companies prove their commitment. Regardless, companies cannot be blamed for the exploitation of the term if they have committed resources in any quantum to address societal issues. Where there are no clear guidelines and structured framework for CSR practice in a country, the misuse of the term is inevitable and that could expose the all-important role of public policy in shaping CSR practice in Ghana.

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