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F or many businesses in South Africa, corporate social investment (CSI) is a checkbox item. It’s one of those things that has to be done to satisfy a scorecard. However, there’s a growing call to rethink the role of business and the purpose of CSI spend in a broader context. 

In the rest of the world, the term CSI is rarely used. Instead, those in the field use the term “corporate citizenship” – an approach where companies take their whole impact on society and the environment into consideration, not just their effect on the economy. In addition, a strong business case for corporate citizenship is increasingly being put forward. Good corporate citizenship has positive spin-offs for reputation management, risk profile and risk management, investor relations and access to capital, and even operational efficiency, among others