A Conceptual Framework for Effective Corporate Social Responsibility for Companies in the Nigerian Extractive Industry
University of Lagos School of Postgraduate Studies Phd Thesis and Dissertation
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a popular concept but disparately conceived and operationalized amongst practitioners within business communities and across different jurisdictions. While CSR in Nigeria is restrictively conceived as voluntary corporate charity or community development projects, more industrialized economies consider the subject in terms of an overarching business management philosophy. This study interrogates and clarifies the CSR concept in Nigeria and addresses regulatory and enforcement challenges towards embedding effective CSR practices in Nigeria, especially amongst companies in the extractive industry. The study analyses the theoretical underpinnings of corporate actions and CSR practices within a socio-legal context; juxtaposed against acceptable objectives of law within the society, the study queries the dominant corporate law ideology which appears to encourage corporate law isolation from other disciplines in the provision of effective remedies for human rights, economic rights and environmental abuses using the corporate form. Relevant legal and regulatory techniques (at the domestic level, in selected foreign jurisdictions and international organizations) towards embedding effective CSR are also critically examined. The study clarifies that CSR is a neutral construct to which different regulatory mechanisms (voluntary or mandatory) may be applicable. The study finds that the majority of regulatory techniques feature self-regulatory, internal and voluntary mechanisms which appear to have undermined CSR regulation and enforcement having occasioned the opportunity by many businesses to ‘greenwash’ CSR. In the end and by way of response to the inadequacies of prevalent self-regulatory CSR framework, the study synthesizes a corporate law theory called the Responsible Stakeholder Model (RSM). Based on the assumptions of the RSM, the thesis suggests an alternative meta-regulatory CSR framework in Nigeria within which much more corporate social responsible operations may be anticipated, even from the so-called ‘greenwashing’ companies.