‘Corporate social investment is the investment a company makes above the business development, legislated employee development and marketing budget for social and environmental purposes.’*
The term investment has expanded its meaning and increasingly includes human alongside financial capital with an aim to create long-term social, environmental and economic value.
Corporate social investment (CSI) implies a return for investment and can be viewed as an important part of any integrated sustainability strategy with the potential to add significantly to a range of sustainability activities.
A purpose build business interests’ aligned CSI strategy assists in raising awareness of sustainability issues at all levels internally and pushes these issues towards the core of business strategy – importantly – it makes sense for the business and all its stakeholders and goes beyond making philanthropic contributions to random social causes. Indeed, if we really want to address some of the most pressing sustainability issues, and it is high time that we do, it is paramount to move beyond the ‘spray and pray mentality’.
The extend to which a CSI programme can create real improvements at the local, national and/or international level depends on the degree of its integration into the business, its level of connectedness with other players in the same field and its longevity among other issues.
Momentum specializes in designing and implementing integrated CSI programmes. We also evaluate existing corporate giving programmes ranging from one-off philanthropic projects to comprehensive strategies run by corporate foundations with a view to bringing these into alignment with corporate sustainability expectations.*Introduction to Corporate Social Investment, Ulrike Schuermann, Momentum International Partnership, 2003. Unpublished paper prepared for the Centre for Philanthropy and Social Investment, Swinburne University, CSI postgraduate course.