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Review of CSR Policies in Mtius

Review of CSR Policies in Mtius

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Published by: gobar on May 06, 2011
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  • 1 Introduction
  • 1.1 Background information
  • 1.2 Structure of the Report
  • 2 Methodology
  • 2.1 Data collection: secondary data review
  • 2.2 Data collection: CSR review survey
  • 2.2.1 Planning activities
  • 2.2.2 Design of survey
  • 2.2.3 Sampling
  • 2.2.4 Conduct of survey
  • 2.3 Discussion forums and working sessions
  • 2.4 Interviews
  • 2.5 International benchmarking
  • 3 Overview of CSR
  • 4 Findings – large organisations
  • 4.1 Strategic approach to CSR
  • 4.2 Internal CSR
  • 4.3 Framework for external CSR activities
  • 4.4 Evaluation of implementation of CSR activities
  • 4.5 Philanthropic and sponsorship activities
  • 4.6 Partnerships with other organisations
  • 4.7 Corporate views on NGO
  • 4.8 Potential partnerships
  • 4.9 Interest in policy dialogues
  • 4.10 Concluding comments
  • 4.11 Summary of key findings
  • 5 Findings - SMEs
  • 5.1 Strategic approach to CSR
  • 5.2 Internal CSR
  • 5.3 Framework for external CSR activities
  • 5.4 Evaluation of implementation of CSR activities
  • 5.5 Philanthropic and sponsorship activities
  • 5.6 Partnerships with other organisations
  • 5.7 End word
  • 5.8 Summary of key findings
  • 6 Findings – Rodrigues
  • 7 Legal review
  • 7.1 Existing regulatory framework
  • 7.2 Local voluntary codes of conduct and ethical standards
  • 7.2.1 Joint Economic Council – Model of Conduct
  • 7.2.2 Mauritius Code of Ethics
  • 7.2.3 Code of Corporate Governance
  • 7.3 International codes and guidelines
  • 7.3.1 United Nations Global Compact
  • 7.3.2 OECD Guidelines
  • 7.3.3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (GRI Guidelines)
  • 7.4 Mechanisms of control from the State and civil society
  • 7.4.1 Ministry of Environment and National Development Unit
  • 7.4.2 Ministry of Labour and Industrial Relations
  • 7.4.4 Registrar of Companies
  • 7.4.5 The Office of the Ombudsman
  • 8 Recommendations
  • 8.1 Overview
  • 8.2 An enabling framework for partnerships
  • 8.3 Initiatives at individual sector level
  • 8.3.1 Overview
  • 8.3.2 Private sector initiatives
  • 8.3.3 Government initiatives
  • 8.3.4 Reform at NGO level
  • 8.4 Joint partnership initiatives
  • 8.4.1 Government and private sector dialogue
  • 8.4.2 Private sector and NGO sector dialogue
  • 8.4.3 Government and NGO sector dialogue
  • 8.5 Towards a three-sector partnership model
  • 8.5.1 Mission
  • 8.5.2 Membership
  • 8.5.3 Specific objectives
  • 8.5.4 The modus operandi
  • 8.6 The Rodrigues case
  • 9 Thematic areas of potential partnerships
  • 10 Conclusion

History of CSR in Mauritius

CSR across the modern world traces its origin back to governmental regulation shaping
personnel and environmental issues back in the 1970s. At that time, CSR activities
were mainly confined to compliance with prevailing laws and regulations. Since then,
CSR has become embedded into the organisational culture, strategy and operations
across frontiers.

Chart 1

History of the company's engagement in CSR

Since start-up

About 20 years

About 10 years

Recently (~3 years)

Others (include
vague answers and

CSR initiatives go quite a long way back in Corporate Mauritius as well, up to 20 years
back. Involvement in CSR has started at varying points in time for the companies
surveyed. In order to assess the history of CSR and its trend over time, companies
were surveyed on their engagement in CSR activities. It is interesting to note that the
highest percentage of respondents (39%) have started CSR activities since their star-
up. 25% of companies engaged in CSR activities since recently only (less than 3
years) confirming the belief that CSR is an emerging trend in the country.


Introduction of CSR in Mauritian companies

Chart 2












Global Policy

Enhance image vis-à-vis
internal community

Enhance image vis-à-vis
external community

Why did you start at all?

CSR seeped into Mauritian enterprises for various reasons. Most organisations initially
engaged in CSR activities mainly to enhance their image vis-à-vis (i) the internal
community (60.3%) and (ii) the external community (54%). The CSR adoption was
thus mainly for image building. Multinationals engaged in CSR not only to enhance
their image but also because they have to abide by their global policy.

Other reasons put forward by organisations include: transparency, compulsory banking
guidelines, preservation of jobs, corporate reputation and image, employee retention
and loyalty.

Evolution of CSR

There is, thus, overwhelming evidence that private sector firms across the world and in
Mauritius and Rodrigues are aware that they have to balance, if not reconcile, their
obligations to shareholders with explicit contributions to the external community.
However, the way they make these contributions differs greatly. Different firms may
be at different stages of awareness of and work on CSR, which will dictate the contents
of their strategy: some may decide to adopt a "minimum necessary" stance. Others
may wish to make strategic forays into particular areas.

In its most basic application, CSR may be viewed as compliance with laws and the
presence of corporate ethics as laid out in codes of ethics / codes of conduct / codes of
corporate governance. These codes:

♦ Set forth norms for corporate behaviour and behaviour to be observed by each
director and employee;


♦ Set the rules for outlining the responsibilities of or proper practices for all in the
organisation; and

♦ Shape organisational behaviour towards employees and society at large.

The survey has revealed that more than 73% of large organisations have a code of
conduct/ethics/corporate governance. This is positive as the existing knowledge on
codes and their applications by large organisations can be a stepping stone towards the
adoption of good CSR practices. However, the fact that more than one quarter of large
organisations surveyed does not have any code demonstrates that there is room for
improvement to populate this practice.

CSR policy

A CSR strategy is a road map for moving ahead on CSR issues. It sets the direction
and scope over the long term with regard to CSR, allowing the organisation to be
successful by using its resources within its unique environment to meet market needs
and fulfil stakeholder objectives. A good CSR strategy identifies the following:

♦ overall direction for where the firm wishes to go in its CSR work

♦ a basic approach for proceeding

♦ specific priority areas

♦ immediate next steps.

Despite the long history of CSR in Mauritius & Rodrigues, only 22% of organisations
surveyed have a formal policy towards CSR. As such, there is no formal framework for
CSR initiatives in Mauritius and Rodrigues. This is evidence that CSR is not yet
embedded in the culture of many organisations in Mauritius and Rodrigues. This finding
conveys other strong messages such as:

♦ A proper CSR structure is not a priority for many organisations in Mauritius and
Rodrigues. Hence, in the future, while many organisations will continue to engage
in CSR, their approach will not be planned and formal.

♦ The majority of organisations do not realise the importance of a coherent and
systematic CSR undertaking on their organisational performance.



Does your company have a formal policy towards CSR?

22% 78%

Engagement in Strategic CSR Partnership at community level


Engagement in Strategic CSR Partnership at national level


♦ Out of the 22% of respondents that have a formal CSR policy, more than 80% of
them engage in strategic CSR partnership at community level while more than 60%
do so at national level. This implies a strong positive correlation for existence of a


formal CSR policy and an engagement in strategic CSR partnership at community
and national level.

♦ This is a key finding as it reveals that organisations that have a structured and
disciplined approach to CSR find it easier to engage in strategic partnerships both
at community and national level.

Motives behind developing a CSR policy

The organisations which have developed a formal CSR policy were asked about the real
motives driving this policy adoption.

Chart 3

Motives behind developing CSR policy

Enhancement of society

Social reponsibility

Image of company


♦ More than 50% of companies have done so (either formal or informal) in order to
be socially responsible, 14% aim to enhance the general well-being of the society,
14% to enhance the image of their organisations. Other reasons include welfare of
employees and stakeholder value as shown in the above chart.

♦ It is clear that there has been a shift in CSR motives, from originally to improve
corporate image, to achieving social objectives.

♦ Organisations with CSR policy/policies have had to adapt such policy/policies over
time as shown below.

Out of these, 62% have reviewed their policy/policies

Out of these 85% of the organisations developed
their own policies and the rest having recourse to
external consultants



having a


Out of these 54% have a designated person to ensure
compliance with law and international codes



Coupled with CSR policies, organisations surveyed were prompted on the existence of
any risk management policies. As mentioned earlier in the literature review, some
rating companies have argued that an organisation’s equity risk premium may be lower
with the implementation of a comprehensive CSR programme.

It is encouraging to note that a majority, 65%, of companies surveyed have risk
management policies. This confirms the belief that CSR is still in its most basic
application: compliance with laws. Risk management is a positive indication that large
companies are well geared to protect themselves against risks such as money
laundering (predominantly in the financial sector), unethical behaviour by employees
and clients, fraud amongst others. The current Mauritian business community wants to
be known by its international counterparts as a clean jurisdiction to do business.
However the remaining 35% of companies not having risk management policies shows
that there is still room for improvement in this area.

Furthermore, only 52% of the companies surveyed were able to appreciate the bearing
CSR may have on risk management. This clearly shows that a lot of companies may
not really understand what CSR encompasses and are underestimating its importance,
and thus fail to see CSR as a key tool for risk management.


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