Corporate Social Investments and the Sustainability of Business Initiatives

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“In a legal sense a company is a person and the question arises: how human is it in its actions, how big is its heart and what services does it offer to the community in which it has its being and from which it derives its profit?” – Anton Rupert (as cited in [1]) “Great corporations exist only because they are created and safe-guarded by our institutions; and it is our right and our duty to see that they work in harmony with these institutions” – Theodore Roosevelt in 1901 (as cited in [2])

Changing Expectations

The formula for business success has traditionally been “maximise profits while providing good conditions and security for employees and supplying customers with products or services at a price they are prepared to pay” [3]. Businesses in general held an autocratic view of themselves as a castle or island and felt that outside interest should not prescribe to it [4]. Thus, although businesses made philanthropic contributions to society since the early 19th century, social problems were considered the responsibility of government and society in general, since “the business of business is business”.

Driving Forces for Incorporating Business Sustainability

Four different types of drivers for incorporating sustainable development principles in business practices were identified [34]. An adaptation of the identified drivers is illustrated in Figure 1-1.

The reaction of business to the sustainability challenge

The concept of sustainable development is inherently vague [83]. Although, understood intuitively, it
remains difficult to express in concrete, operational terms [84]. In 1992 there were already more than 70 definitions for sustainable development [85]. The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) realised that the concept of sustainable development should be defined in terms familiar to the business community. This resulted in sustainable development for business, i.e. business sustainability, being defined as “adopting business strategies and activities that meet the needs of the enterprise and its stakeholders today, while protecting, sustaining and enhancing the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future” [86]. There are nevertheless also more than one definition for business or corporate sustainability. A few of these definitions are listed in Table 1-2. Appendix C provides a detailed description of business sustainability as well as an overview of the business path towards corporate responsibility.


1. Introduction
1.1 Changing Expectations
1.1.1 Driving Forces for Incorporating Business Sustainability
1.2 The reaction of business to the sustainability challenge
1.3 Current Status of Sustainable Project Life Cycle Management (SPLCM)
1.3.1 Project Management
1.3.2 Sustainable Project Life Cycle Management
1.4 Research Problem and Approach
1.4.1 Research Problem
1.4.2 Research Questions and Objectives
1.4.3 Research Approach
1.5 Structure of the Thesis
1.6 Conclusion
2. Life Cycles Involved in Projects
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Project Life Cycle
2.3 Asset Life Cycle
2.4 Product Life Cycle
2.5 Conclusion: Life Cycle Interaction
3. Social Sustainability Framework
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Prerequisites for the Framework
3.2.1 Institutional Sustainability and Business Strategy
3.2.2 Corporate Social Investments and the Sustainability of Business Initiatives
3.3 Economic and Environmental Dimensions
3.3.1 Economic Business Sustainability
3.3.2 Environmental Business Sustainability
3.4 Social Business Sustainability
3.4.1 Criteria for Social Business Sustainability
3.4.2 Internal Human Resources
3.4.3 External Population
3.4.4 Macro Social Performance
3.4.5 Stakeholder Participation
3.5 Conclusion
4. Verification of the Social Sustainability Assessment Framework
4.1 Framework Verification Part 1: Construction Phase
4.1.1 Oil Service Stations
4.1.2 Open Cast Mine next to the Vaal River
4.1.3 Natural Gas Project
4.1.4 Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility Project
4.1.5 Conclusion
4.2 Framework Verification Part 2: Operation Phase
4.2.1 Record of Complaints
4.2.2 Analysis of Sustainable Development Reports
4.2.3 Conclusion
4.3 Framework Verification Part 3: Decommissioning Phase
4.3.1 Cyanide Production Facility in Mpumalanga
4.3.2 Acrylic Fibre Plant
4.3.3 Open Cast Mine
4.3.4 Conclusion
4.4 Conclusion
5. Validation of the Social Sustainability Assessment Framework
5.1 Relevance to Business
5.1.1 Survey Structure and Participant Profile
5.1.2 Survey Results
5.2 Relevance to the Asset Life Cycle
5.3 Relevance to Project Management
5.4 Conclusion
6. Social Criteria in Project Management
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Social Impact and Social Risk Assessment
6.2.1 Evaluation Method for Predicted Social Impact
6.2.2 Checklists and Questionnaires
6.2.3 Conclusion
6.3 Project Evaluation Methods
6.3.1 Gate Readiness Reviews
6.3.2 Decision-Making Techniques for Business Sustainability
6.4 Conclusions
7. Conclusions
7.1 How: Methods to Adopt Project Management Methodologies
7.2 What: Proposed Social Sustainability Framework
7.2.1 Sustainability Framework as a Target
7.2.2 Sustainability Wall
7.2.3 Russian Doll
7.2.4 Hierarchical Model
7.3 Which: Life Cycles to Consider
7.4 Why: Importance of Social Sustainability to Business
8. References


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