CSR communication in a South African agricultural company
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The current land reform programme in South Africa is a prime example of the manner in which corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives can be applied in the agricultural sector. Land reform creates an opportunity for agricultural companies to develop CSR initiatives aimed at assisting emerging farmers by using their expertise to help them develop farming skills. For CSR initiatives to help build positive relationships between companies and their stakeholders, effective CSR communication is indispensable. This article discusses how agricultural companies should be conducting CSR communication, thanks to a number of normative guidelines. It also explores the manner in which Senwes, an agricultural company, communicates regarding CSR – particularly about programmes aimed at assisting emerging farmers – with one of its most important strategic stakeholders, commercial farmers. The findings suggest that Senwes’ CSR communication can be more comprehensive and continuous, that the annual and sustainability reports are not sufficient, and that additional information on assistance to emerging farmers should be communicated throughout the year. Senwes positively utilises a variety of media to communicate its CSR initiatives, which seems appropriate for, and accessible to, commercial farmers. It does, however, seem as if its CSR communication can be used even more effectively to contribute to stakeholder engagement, and to build and sustain positive relationships with commercial farmers.
- Faculty of Humanities