The role of corporate social responsibility on sustainabledevelopment : a case study of the mining community in the Obuasi municipality
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The thesis explores and explains Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its impact on the sustainable development of people living in a gold mining community, Obuasi in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Through observations, document analysis and conduction of interviews of the local citizens, it seeks to assess the impact of gold mining operations on various aspects of the lives of the local people. Usually described the gateway to Africa, Ghana is known as a peaceful and democratic country in the sub region with fairly strong economic indicators (CIA, 2009). Generally described as the oldest surviving mines in the country, the Obuasi mine is over a century old and is still counting, having gone through various phases and methods of gold mining Various theorists and institutions, including international institutions such as the IFC, and DFID have defined sustainable development in their own context but in this thesis, the definition of sustainable development is drawn from the Rio conference; Our Common Future which defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland, 1987: 43). In another way, it could be defined as development that conserves and protects our resources. An interesting way of testing this definition is the case study of a natural resource rich (specifically gold) community. The virtue of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as the voluntary incorporation of social and environmental concerns into business conduct has established itself as an international norm. Businesses, intellectuals, local and international development agencies like the USAID have embraced this concept with the hope that it could bring about sustainable development to developing countries. Although the company mining the Obuasi mine - AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) seems to uphold the concept of social responsibility, their willingness and zeal to ensure the reality of such policies are almost non-existent. CSR is best practiced when done in partnership with the local community, but in the case of AGA, the formulation and implementation of the policies are done by the company with very little consultation with the people. Nonetheless, it expects the community to accept their stretched hand of philanthropy as a favour from them and not complain about the economic, cultural, social and environmental hazards that they have to endure as a result of the operations of the mine. Being a signatory to the Global Compact agreement and the ISO 14001, the company has tried to consistently improve their social commitment but they still have a very long way to go, if we want to see sustainable development in the Obuasi municipality as defined by the Rio conference.
Master thesis in development management- Universitetet i Agder 2009