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The core value of Corporate Social Responsibility is never profit, it’s always purpose

The core value of Corporate Social Responsibility is never profit, it’s always purpose

By Natasja Beyleveld, Managing Director of NaMedia.

Responding to corporates’ social investments (be it free products, food, houses, you name it); one of the reactions that I had to get ‘accustomed’ to is this: “What a waste, why don’t they do ____ (fill in blanc) or just lower their price or invest in better service avenues”.

This response usually ties with companies in either a season or a general state of a bad public reputation. Think of popular parastatals, either in a good or dire financial straits and the social investment choices they have made that you either agree or disagree with. I’m thinking about T-Shirts here.

If our investment choices are ad-hoc, poorly linked to the core of our business, and unsustainable (feeding fish but not training a fisherman), we will end up spending a lot of money to find out what we’re doing wrong, and why it’s wrong for you.

Friday we learned more about living a good reputation, by being authentic. If corporate social responsibility concerns your values on society, then how do you see these values reflected in the sponsorships that you’re committed to? Answer with ‘we’re into _______’. You’ll be surprised to learn that enormous companies are dedicated to sponsoring failing initiatives because they have created dependency, or because they feel obliged to and have no specific alternative or means to change direction (bureaucracy, or fake red tape).

Remember, there are four types of CSR with which we can align strategy: environmental sustainability, direct philanthropic giving, ethical business practise, and economic responsibility. Given Namibia’s current economic circumstances, aligning CSR/I policy with the latter has become most popular throughout media. Are you being Harambee. Back to social; if it’s social in nature it means that you’re working with other people to make the sponsorship work. You’re not Oprah Winfrey dishing out product or cash (even though it’s a nice surprise). Therefore, failing relationships are many a time at the core of failing sponsorships.

Think about that.

It’s an ethical theory where individuals are held accountable for leading actions that are to the benefit of society. See it as a weighing scale, and the need to create equilibrium between economic growth and the welfare of society and the environment. Are your sponsorship choices creating equilibrium, and is it contributing to the welfare of the society you’re invested in? It’s not supposed to be an easy question, but it’s a valid question.

In essence, and when viewing our sponsorship choices as being socially fair or unfair, we ask whether our employees and the environment are held equal to our company’s economics. It takes us back to the drawing board (more than once, and ongoing). Fact drop: transparency is leading the moral consciousness that actualises social responsibility. Do you read about and know good things about good companies in Namibia? But you remember the times those brands were mentioned for discrimination, poor workplace ethics, (angry) labour union involvement, corruption, and scandals. True story!

Ok; let’s focus. Large or small enactments for positive change really is the good stuff. It’s the stuff that gives you Goosebumps or fabulous ideas. It’s campaigns fuelled with high-level awareness and public support that are trusted and bring about social change. If leaders manage to steer social investments that change mindsets and change circumstances, then they’re in a winning loop, open to ongoing improvement, monitoring, and impact.

It’s significant to know that 92% of consumers have a more positive image of companies that support social issues and environmental protection. It’s more than the >70% on average, which is the degree to which the reputation of the chief executive directly reflects on the reputation of the company. It’s 1-3% of company spend, but it’s a marathon (enduring) investment in the company’s reputation.

Millennials Want to See More Corporate Social Responsibility. Yes, of course I’m bringing millennials into this piece.

For millennials and Generation Z, socially responsible companies are LIT (if you’re a mature wine; this means that something is ‘legitimately cool’). They believe companies should be invested in improving society and look for solutions that will assist in those improvements. Is your sponsorship improving society in the form of sport, culture, living conditions (you name it)?

We’re into media monitoring and public communications, and I truly understand why it’s crucial for companies to share how they are trying to make a positive impact on the country (world), so the public can see the pro-social initiatives they are winning at. Showcasing efforts will ultimately impact the choices millennials make as consumers.

Remember, you guide how you’re perceived, lest it be honest. Our pro-social and pro-environment conscious efforts have an impact on consumer perceptions. Full stop. And it definitely bares impact not only on the bottom line but on the chance that others will begin initiatives of their own. So bring it on; bring it to the media agenda, onto public platforms, and into the Potjiekos we serve Namibia.




About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.