Framework (def.): principles, guidelines, standards, blue prints
CSR frameworks are by and large voluntary mechanisms to guide the formulation of Corporate Social Responsibility strategy and the tool kits to implement, monitor and evaluate CSR strategy.
There is no one size fits all framework, CSR implementation takes place in different environments with different demands and needs. Just a quick breakdown on various terms used by CSR frameworks:
- Principles – A fundamental truth(s) or law as the basis of reasoning or action. A personal ‘code of conduct’. Not enforceable, very interpretive and generally offers little guidance.
- Guidelines – A set of procedures which direct the user through the necessary steps that should be followed with respect to the given topic under consideration. Less enforceable and less prescriptive than standards.
- Standards – A more authoritative model or measure, a pattern for guidance, by comparison with which the quality, excellence, correctness etc. may be determined. Some contractual obligations, guidance, and performance measurement are generally included.
Some of the notable global CSR frameworks that have been localized in Africa include:
- United Nations Global Compact
- ISO 26000
- Global Reporting Initiative
- OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
It is important to have an understanding of these strategic policy frameworks for your organization to align its values with. By and large the frameworks operate along four core areas:
- Human rights
African firms are currently mandated by law or voluntarily embed the global principles of CSR. South Africa is the leading country in Africa with a notable corporate social responsibility adoption largely driven by the legal act which mandates companies to adopt the principles of corporate social responsibility. South African listed firms are encouraged to apply the King III Code of Governance Principles and the mandatory disclosure requirements of the JSE listing rules (KPMG, 2015).
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