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AUTHORS: Mrs. Esther Rhoda Ababio and John Linscell Yen
This position paper aims at raising critical issues on Corporate Social Responsibility and thereby drawing the attention of the University Management of its potential as a tool for development. Doing more engagement and building partnerships with our suppliers and businesses operating on campus will definitely impact positively on the financial position and ultimately help in the development drive of the University of Cape Coast. Many individuals are of the opinion that corporate social responsibility should be voluntary and a discretionary issue and therefore the concerns of organizations should be to make profits and declare dividends and not bother so much about being socially responsible. Below are some key points that refute such claims:
Though others have argued that it is not economically feasible for organizations to engage in corporate social responsibility because their primary aim and mandate is to make profit for shareholders. This assertion is closely associated with the argument by an American economist Milton Friedman as cited by (Barnett, 2018) who has argued that the primary responsibility of business is to make a profit for its owners. Increasingly, organizations are called upon not only to comply with the law, international norms and conform to ethical standards but also they should have self-regulating mechanism that implements social goodwill that goes beyond profitability and what is inscribed in law (Schnietz & Epstein, 2004 as cited by UK Essays, 2013). Apart from business ventures that do their businesses on the University of Cape Coast campus, they are several businesses in Ghana that create environmental and other social problems for example some mining companies are worst culprits. There have been several complaints about environmental pollution like cyanide spillage etc. It must be noted that corporate social responsibility over the years has evolved to go beyond just being environmentally responsible. It means being a corporate citizen, being sustainable, a stakeholder, a partner for development The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) seems to agree with many literature on the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility by stating that Corporate Social Responsibility is “continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large” (WBCSD, 2006). Therefore, it is expected that organizations set aside a small percentage of their net profit to take care of corporate social responsibility. It must be emphasized that organizations by their very nature have responsibilities (i.e., economic, ethical, legal and social) assigned to them by law, shareholders and other stakeholders and the society at large (Carroll, 1979; Brummer, 1991; Peattie, 1992). We believe with a paradigm shift from the status quo and incorporating Corporate Social Responsibility activities in our efforts, University of Cape Coast will be able to boost its income in order to support its development agenda. Therefore, no effort should be spared to adopt a strategy that will galvanize and mobilize support from the business community on campus. This is even more compelling due to the fact that increasingly government’s role in funding tertiary education is shrinking is very fast. We know that there are other fundraising initiatives that are already in place to rake in the needed revenue to respond to our financial needs, but it will do a lot of good, if we could tie in this strategy to complement those existing efforts.

It is also argued that corporate social responsibility creates a situation for some businesses to be at a disadvantage than their competitors who are not involved in corporate social responsibility activities. They see CSR as a hurdle to their being competitive in the industry because it imposes additional financial burden on them. Helping the society through Corporate Social Responsibility in the long run will help them benefit more in terms of increasing the society’s interest in their business. Increasingly, consumers tend to patronize products of companies that are responsible. Also companies that do CSR tend to avert the unpleasant situation of strict governmental regulations or even regulations from the University of Cape Coast and being aware of this businesses will be willing to donate to support in our development drive (Barnett, 2018). The College of Health and Allied Sciences benefitted from a number of donations from suppliers of our university, we think this should be deliberate policy well strategized and a desk established to harness more resources towards development of the University of Cape Coast.

Furthermore, there is another school of thought that the corporate world cannot add the issues of corporate social responsibility to their duties and that they are others who are well equipped to do that. Corporations should focus on earning a profit for their shareholders and leave social issues to others (Tim Barnett, 2018).
Though companies already have a lot to do in order to fulfil their mandate of making profit and declaring dividends to their shareholders, it is a fact that companies make a lot of money from businesses they do and can afford to set aside a small percentage of their net profits to help solve some of our problems. I think organizations operating within our environs can emulate the example of a Canadian leading Mountain Equipment Company (MEC) which donates one 1% of its net profit for the planet (Schwartz, 20018). As stakeholders; businesses on campus and our suppliers benefit a lot from us and therefore, it is only fair and proper for them to give a little back to society.
Policy formulation on Corporate Social Responsibility
Looking at the above arguments, there will be the need to formulate policy on Corporate Social Responsibility to help address the issues. Like other policies, this will serve as a roadmap to guide how this concept of Corporal Social Responsibility will be implemented. With this document the University will be better placed to engage the firms concerned to support the activities of the University. As a matter of urgency this document must be obtained to facility the process of an additional of source of income for the University.
As identified earlier in this write-up, the idea of Corporate Social Responsibility is to help develop the community in which the organization or business carries out its operations. Many companies and other organizations do recognize their responsibility towards the society as part of their core values and therefore make significant budgetary allocations towards that. Against this background, it is important that businesses operating on campus of the University forge a development partnership with the University management. This will afford organizations on campus opportunity to give back to society or contribute towards the welfare of the members of the university community and its environs. These contributions could be in the form of cash donation or support for physical infrastructure for example library, lecture theaters etc. Logistics for example, medical equipment, laboratory, projectors, computers. It could also be in the form of service support to the University.

It is suggested that business on campus follow the trail-blazers like Guinness Ghana Ltd, Vodafone Ghana Ltd, and Unilever Ghana Ltd. etc., who have been doing this in their areas of operations. The banks for example could support the University with some form of scholarships or donate items to some departments in the University or even give cash to the University to carry out some its activities.

On campus, there are books and stationery companies like EPP and Kingdom books Ltd. etc. They could also provide for some critical needs of the University. It is important that the University management discuss with the major stakeholders already mentioned to find a way of galvanizing significant resources to help the university and its environs. Meanwhile it is worth noting that, some of our partners over the years have made contributions to the welfare of the University. Though some few organizations have been making donations to the University more would have come from the business community on campus. Looking at the dwindling resource support from Government and the increasing demand for more resources to take care of the needs of the university, it is pertinent that management looks elsewhere apart from the traditional source for financial and other forms of support in order to effectively run the affairs of the University.
Having raised a number of issues regarding Corporate Social Responsibility and its possible potential impact on communities, we wish to give the following recommendations that will help the drive for additional resources for the university to carry out its academic and social activities.

The University should as a matter of urgency get a corporate social responsibility policy that will serve as a guide to the University in its engagement with the business community on campus.

The University should get a database of all businesses on campus that will help provide critical information for action.

Management should try and identify other entities outside campus that are engaged in business transaction with the university to contribute their quota as their corporate social responsibility towards development of the University taking into cognizance the dwindling Central Government budgetary support.

To be able to effectively deal with this issue, the University must set up a desk that will be responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility issues.
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