What is CR? The corporate social responsibility (CR) of a business is the way it helps to create a sustainable environment outside of the business. The plan of action should improve the lives of the local people and the area where they live. This should produce a long-term improvement in the environment: it should be physically and socially sustainable. All business should be directly involved with other businesses and with the rest of society in helping to achieve this in the country. The corporate social responsibility of PwC is extremely important for the long-term future of our business.The strategy of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CR)
We combine the principles of sustainability into our central business operations. There are three core elements in our CR strategy – our plan of action.
Why is sustainability important for a firm like PwC?
"For us, sustainability is a strategic business issue."
Our view of sustainability is built on our central or core values; this controls our services to the business industry. Sustainability is therefore essential in our investment in our people and in the country. Sustainability is a strategic business issue; in other words, sustainability is part of our plan of action. We need to make a profit in our business. However, society expects us to achieve much more than that. Our business operations, our products and services, must do more than just making a profit. There must be benefits for our society, for the environment and for the general economy.
For PwC, sustainability means making sure that we remain a successful business in the foreseeable future. And we are looking a very long way ahead.
There have been many scandals about corporate governance, the ways dishonest people run their businesses; it happens in South Africa and in countries around the world. This has focused attention on the sustainability of business, and its accountability. These corporate governance scandals are connected to sustainability issues; the scandals are related to the behaviour of board directors and their clear lack of respect for their employees, the shareholders and other people involved with the business. One can see the effects that such behaviour has: the company can be bankrupt and all the staff can lose their jobs. Successful businesses and steady jobs for people are like the pillars of a important building. If the economic and social pillars of sustainability are broken, society may collapse.
Our sustainability is built on our core values, our industry-focused services and our investment in our people."The professional challenges
PwC and the rest of the accounting profession face many challenges, including these:Rebuilding public trust
Businesses must continue to put the principles of corporate social responsibility back into all our business practices.
We must actively encourage businesses to be accountable by explaining and justifying what they do; people in business must have integrity, being honest and having strong moral principles; and our business policies and its activities must be transparent, so that dishonesty can be discovered.
We have formally described a strategy of corporate sustainability, a plan of action in terms which we are committed to:
Our sustainability strategy focuses on three broad areas:
Because of the nature of our business, we have been careful in choosing the our corporate responsibility (CR) strategy: we focus on education and skills development. This deals directly with some of the social challenges that the country faces, such as poverty, unemployment and HIV/AIDS. Our staff have been leaders by starting projects to uplift the community; these projects have attempted to meet the basic needs of the communities around us.Our community investment
CIDA City Campus
CIDA City Campus offers talented students from disadvantaged communities a chance to prepare for a career. It receives strong support from the business community, including PwC.
We will be contributing over R1 million rand to Vulamasango over the next two years, both financially and by way of productive time. This includes creating an awareness of the profession, presenting extra lessons in accounting, identifying life skills needed by learners, opportunities for job shadowing and business orientation events, presenting courses to raise awareness of entrepreneurship, and general career guidance.Bursary allocation
Over the past four years we have awarded bursaries amounting to approximately R34 million to 245 students; these students came from disadvantaged communities, and they intended to pursue a career as chartered accountants.Business Orientation Programme
This initiative exposes black learners and students to the business of PwC and other companies with whom we do business.Thutuka initiative
The Thuthuka project is an initiative by SAICA (the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) to replace the CA’s Eden Trust. Its objective is to increase the number of qualified black and coloured chartered accountants in the country. Thuthuka initiatives take place at a number of levels, from schools to undergraduate and postgraduate initiatives. Through Thuthuka, there would be bursaries for 250 or more students, from 2005 onwards. The Thuthuka project places the bursars with selected educational institutions. PwC has undertaken to support the Thuthuka bursary fund; we are actively involved in the selection and sponsorship of Thuthuka students.Presentations to learners at schools
Presentations to learners at schools should improve their understanding of the accounting and auditing profession. This will help them to make informed choices when they select a future career. It is very important to have more chartered accountants from previously disadvantaged communities. We also provide capacity building for accounting and finance teachers. This will help them to pass the knowledge on to learners.The Aha-Thuto Secondary School
The Aha-Thuto Secondary School is located in a township south of Johannesburg. Like other township schools in South Africa, Aha-Thuto needed help with both financial and human resources. Since we partnered with the school, there have been great changes; the learners have been given hope for a brighter future. This was clear in their impressive 86% matric pass rate in 2003, considered high for a school in such an area. Initially, we funded the renovation of the school’s library and awarded a bursary to a student (see the case study that follows). We continuously expose the learners to the accounting profession and the business world in general through our job shadowing and Business Orientation Programme (BOP), as well as helping the Grade 11 and 12 learners with extra lessons in Accounting.The Siyabona Education Trust
The "Ready for Business" programme was established in 1998 in Port Elizabeth. It was designed to expose selected high school learners (Grades 11 and 12) from disadvantaged backgrounds to basic business concepts. These concepts form the foundation for more advanced tertiary studies.