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Exclusive: Corporate Social Responsibility Campaigns – Not a Marketing Tool

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns have become an essential part of business operations in modern society. Most companies are now giving back to the communities in which they operate through CSR campaigns. Global statistics reveal that in 2020, 90% of S&P 500 companies published CSR reports, up from 20% in 2011 showing just how popular CSR campaigns are in this age of the customer. The popularity of CSR campaigns has, in turn, resulted in many organisations establishing foundations and initiatives to support various social causes.

While CSR campaigns can yield significant benefits when executed genuinely, a recent Harvard Business Review study found a positive correlation between CSR and a company’s financial performance. However, concerns arise when companies exploit them for marketing purposes. In the case of betting companies, there is growing concern that their CSR activities are not genuine. Instead of helping those in need, some gaming companies are using their CSR campaigns as a marketing tool to attract more customers. More so, including young school-going children, to their gambling services.

This has raised questions about the ethical implications of betting companies using CSR to promote their brand. Considering such concerns, regulators need to impose legal mandates requiring betting companies to run their corporate social responsibility campaigns through their foundations. This will prevent betting companies from using CSR as a strategy to promote their gambling services.

Need to Regulate CSR in Africa

Regulation in the CSR sector is particularly important in Africa. Many betting companies operate in countries where regulations are lax, which increases the potential for the exploitation of vulnerable populations. Betting companies should be legally obligated to engage in meaningful  CSR activities to avoid the use of such campaigns as tools for marketing their products and promoting their brands to attract more customers. Many betting companies have been criticised for exploiting social issues for their own economic gains. 

This can be particularly damaging when the target audience includes young school-going children, who may be influenced by the messaging and images used in these campaigns. By legally requiring that all betting companies run their CSR campaigns through their foundations, regulators can ensure that the focus remains on genuine social responsibility, rather than on brand promotion.

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Such regulations will go a long way in helping to protect vulnerable individuals, such as young children, from being targeted by marketing tactics disguised as CSR initiatives. Furthermore, betting companies should use separate names for their foundations to distinguish them from their gambling brands. This will reduce confusion among consumers and will ensure that focus remains on the charitable work being done. Rather than promoting the betting company itself.

In addition, betting companies should not use images or videos from their CSR activities for marketing or promotional purposes. This will ensure that the focus remains on the impact of the charitable work being done, rather than on using it as a marketing tool to attract more customers. By separating CSR activities from marketing initiatives, betting companies can demonstrate a genuine commitment to social responsibility.

Integration of Social Impact Assessments

Social impact assessments play a crucial role in ensuring the effectiveness and legitimacy of CSR practices within the betting industry. By systematically evaluating the impact of their initiatives on various stakeholders and communities, companies can demonstrate tangible benefits and outcomes, thereby fostering trust and credibility. Corporate Social Responsibility

These assessments involve thorough evaluations of the social, economic, and environmental effects of CSR projects. Companies can measure indicators such as job creation, community development, environmental sustainability, and improvements in quality of life to gauge the extent of their social impact. By collecting relevant data and engaging with stakeholders, including local communities, NGOs, government agencies, and employees, companies can obtain valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of their CSR programs.

Moreover, social impact assessments enable companies to identify areas for improvement and refine their CSR strategies accordingly. By identifying gaps or areas of concern, companies can take proactive measures to address social issues effectively and maximise their positive impact. This iterative process of assessment and improvement is essential for ensuring that CSR efforts remain relevant, responsive, and aligned with the evolving needs of society.

In conclusion, by promoting genuine social responsibility, ensuring transparency and accountability, and conducting rigorous social impact assessments, betting companies can contribute positively to society while upholding ethical standards and building trust with stakeholders. Regulatory frameworks, stakeholder engagement, and responsible business practices are also key to fostering a culture of ethical CSR within the betting industry and beyond.

Author: Jeremiah Maangi

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