A Kenyan Focus
Though the SUSBIZ Kenya programme builds on international principles and conceptions of CSR, the programme emphasises consideration of the specific Kenyan context.
In the Kenyan CSR tradition, CSR is predominantly about philanthropy and community engagement. These can be important aspects of CSR for countries such as Kenya, that does not have a very strong welfare state. Despite the need for corporate philanthropy and community engagement, responsible practices in relation to core business activities are also an essential CSR concerns that companies must address. Hence, a potential exists for contributing positively to the traditional Kenyan conceptualisation of CSR. In addition, many Kenyan companies have a reactive approach to CSR, i.e. adjusting to CSR demands from consumers, business partners and other stakeholders. Thus, a potential for working with CSR along more proactive and strategic lines exists in many Kenyan companies.
In many sectors, international buyers increasingly turn their eye on Africa. As international buyers’ concern for CSR in their supply chains has been growing during the last 1-2 decades – and still is – promoting the concept of strategic CSR can play a vital role in supporting global sourcing from Kenya and thus contribute to the overall sustainable development of the country’s private sector.
Furthermore, Kenya is a driving force for private sector growth in the East African Community (EAC) and several foreign companies operate in East Africa from here. Hence, business practices in Kenya have great impacts on business practices in the rest of the region, making the country an optimal choice for disseminating knowledge on strategic CSR to the rest of the EAC.