“Whoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times.”

Niccolo Machiavelli

Change is an inevitable part of life. With change comes new beginnings and perhaps better ones at that.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is no different. From a time when CSR was pursued with greed as the driving force to now when CSR is more aligned with the strategy of the best companies, there has been a continuous call for corporates to change too.

My analysis of CSR in Kenya with respect to a sample of 70 companies showed that there has been a shift in what companies do mention on their websites with regard to CSR. In order to inform this inference, my team at CSR Consultancy and I, we built on the MA thesis of Emma Gilbert for the University of Nottingham in 2008, where she assessed CSR in Kenya in terms of mention of CSR on the company’s websites. We carried out the same research looking at the same companies in 2015.

There was a notable decrease in the number of companies that mentioned Philanthropy as their CSR process. There was in turn an increase in the mention of Corporate Governance, Volunteering and Partnerships. The findings pointed to the slow but sure change in the perspective of CSR/Sustainability in Kenya.

That is where my company, “Beyond Kenya Limited”, comes in. We offer professional guidance on CSR. We encourage our clients to look to align CSR with their everyday business, consider the interests of key stakeholders and maximize their impact. Clients can ideate, implement, measure impact and finally report on these initiatives.

For us the onset of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offers the private sector an opportunity to transform the world through the ambitious targets set.

First, our Kenyan companies need to look to integrate the SDGs in their strategy. An example has been set by Safaricom, the leading telecom company, through which they wish to address 9 out of the 17 goals.

Secondly, they need to look at partnerships as an ideal avenue of achieving the goals. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) can work but with particular attention of cultivating good relationships through trust and delivering on promises made.

Third, we need inspired leadership. For any change to work effectively, we need leaders who will chart the way and inspire the rest to keep charting the way forward. This needs to happen at a corporate level, at an industry level, at a policy level, at a civil society level and at an academic level.

Championing SDGs should be a holistic affair.

 Rosemary Wahome

Rosemary Wahome is an alumnus of the 4th edition of the E4Impact MBA in Nairobi (Kenya). She runs  “Beyond Profit Kenya Limited”, a dream that she has actualized during the MBA programme. Her business has been featured in the local dailies and on TV. Have a look at the link below: