Surprise jump in big business social investment spending

South Africa’s large companies spent about R9.7-billion on corporate social investment (CSI) in 2018, the bulk of which went to projects or causes in education, social development and health.

CSI expenditure was 7% higher than the R9.1-billion spent in 2017, and after accounting for inflation, it also had the first real increase in social responsibility spend in five years, according to the CSI and sustainability consultancy Trialogue.

In the 21st edition of Trialogue’s Business in Society Handbook, the consultancy found that 92% of the companies surveyed spent money on education, which accounted for 44% of their social spend. But this is less than the 2014 record figure, when education accounted for 49% of social expenditure.

Cathy Duff, the director at Trialogue, said education had consistently remained the biggest social expenditure item.

“It fluctuates by a few percentage points each year, but I think it sits at around half of spend and it’s where most companies are investing because companies need these skills for their future employees and economic pipelines.” Social development was the second-most supported sector, which received funding from 74% of the companies surveyed, while health received funding from 53% of the companies.

Seventy-four companies and 254 nonprofit organisations participated in the survey.

Of the companies surveyed by Trialogue, 62% reported an increase in CSI expenditure in 2018, 24% reported a decrease and 14% said expenditure remained unchanged.

Duff said the most common reason companies increased CSI spending was when projects required it, which differed from previous years when increases were linked to profits.

“Interestingly, those who reported a decrease this year said it was due to falling profits.

“So you can see that there’s a tough economic environment that has led to some companies reducing spend, but more companies actually increased spend,” she said.


Projects in urban and peri-urban areas received 57% of CSI expenditure; rural areas received 39%.

“The finding is quite encouraging because almost 40% of expenditure is going to rural areas. The majority of our population live in urban areas [where] even though there might be a lot of access to certain things, but there are still a lot of barriers and social issues,” Duke said.

She added that a reason companies favoured urban funding was that they largely funded projects near their operations. For instance, Gauteng and the Western Cape received the highest spend of CSI expenditure at 16% and 12% respectively. National projects which are operating in two or more provinces, received 46% of social spend.

Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust business journalist at the M&G

This has been amended to reflect the correct amounts

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Tebogo Tshwane
Tebogo Tshwane

Tebogo Tshwane is an Adamela Trust financial journalism trainee at the Mail & Guardian. She was previously a general news intern at Eyewitness News and a current affairs show presenter at the Voice of Wits FM. Tshwane is passionate about socioeconomic issues and understanding how macroeconomic activities affect ordinary people. She holds a journalism honours degree from Wits University. 

Advertising

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations

Senwes launches Agri Value Chain Food Umbrella

South African farmers can now help to feed the needy by donating part of their bumper maize crop to delivery number 418668

Ethics and internal financial controls add value to the public sector

National treasury is rolling out accounting technician training programmes to upskill those who work in its finance units in public sector accounting principles

Lessons from South Korea for Africa’s development

'Leaders can push people through, through their vision and inspiration, based on their exemplary actions'

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday