File picture: Philimon Bulawayo
CAPE TOWN - South African companies contributed R9 billion in corporate social investment (CSI) in 2016/2017, compared with only R1.5bn that was achieved two decades ago. 

This information is contained in the 20th annual publication of Business in Society Handbook, which was launched by CSI consultancy Trialogue in Johannesburg yesterday. 

Of the R9bn in contributions, education accounted for almost half the CSI spend, and this was followed by social and community development and health. 

The critical mining, financial and retail sectors accounted for 62% of total CSI expenditure; and median CSI spend increased to R22 million from the R19m registered last year. 

The majority of CSI spend was allocated to the economic hubs of Gauteng, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, according to Trialogue managing director Nick Rockey. 

“The proportion of companies (45%) that reported non-cash giving this year was also significantly higher than last year (35%),” he said. 

Companies mainly directed their CSI spending through non-profit organisations (NPOs) with the percentage of corporate giving to NPOs increasing to 89%, from last year’s 82percent. 

Rockey said future trends included increased integration of CSI with other divisions and functions in a company. He said companies would scale back on the number of initiatives that they support, to just one or a few flagship programmes, and “companies will be expected to take a stand on current social and political issues”. 

He added that alternative and blended financing models for development would become commonplace.

-BUSINESS REPORT