Corporate social responsibility in resource companies – opportunities for developing positive benefits and lasting legacies
KeywordsCorporate social responsibility
enduring community value
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AbstractA key aspiration for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the resource sector is to leave behind a lasting and positive legacy for local and regional communities, which is referred to here as Enduring Community Value (ECV). This paper examines the capacity of resource companies to create ECV for local communities within three jurisdictions in Australia drawing on perspectives from resource company employees and key stakeholders including individuals and groups in local communities. The capacity to implement ECV was tracked through the planning, overnance, implementation and evaluation phases of CSR for companies of different sizes, stage of mining life-cycle and degree of remoteness of mining operations. ECV was found to be a critical value of CSR for resource company employees and stakeholders, providing a common ground for engagement and cooperation. Company employees, also saw ECV as a necessary tool to help navigate the complexities of CSR within a local community context. Personal moral and ethical values of resource employees and stakeholders, including motivations to improve local community outcomes and to achieve sustainability drove the adoption of ECV. This was supported to varying degrees by resource companies’ culture and goals, organisational values of stakeholder organisations, regulatory and legislative frameworks, guidelines and standards. Through the application of Giddens’ structuration theory it was identified that there was a high reliance on human agency to drive outcomes, with a lack of consistent institutional structures and relevant processes being in place. This meant that planning for ECV often occurred late in the mine life-cycle, reducing the potential benefits. Further institutional support, such as through robust planning tools, guidelines and standards and resourced stakeholder forums where lessons, experiences and assessments are shared, could help drive outcomes more clearly toward ECV. The implications of models for CSR and sustainable development perspectives are also presented.
Anne Elizabeth Fordham, Guy M.Robinson, Boyd Dirk Blackwell
Resources Policy, 2017; 52:366-376