Responsibility for What, to Whom? A Critical Assessment of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of Kinross and Newmont in Ghana

  • Author / Creator
    Andrews, Nathan
  • Once transnational companies take over concessions of land or sea for their business, they are usually expected to provide certain socio-economic mechanisms aimed at cushioning the affected people and communities. This popular expectation or phenomenon is captured as corporate social responsibility (CSR). Yet despite the plethora of books, journal articles, blogs, newsletters, and even corporations’ own CSR offices, the concept remains underdeveloped, particularly within the context of Africa. This study specifically delves into this issue by assessing the CSR of two foreign gold mining companies in Ghana, Newmont and Kinross. Although these two companies have received awards in recognition of their CSR agendas, there is little scholarly literature that details the scope, nature and outcome of their programs. And since there is no identifiably rigorous institutional framework for CSR in Ghana, the rationale for companies’ programs and initiatives is undefined. The overarching objective of this study is to assess the diverse meanings CSR has for its different stakeholders, that is, companies, government and communities. Employing critical discourse analysis as the analytical framework, I argue that CSR is a discourse that “responsibilizes” corporations by making them accountable for their own actions and alienated from tangible external oversight although it is contested in specific sites on the ground. To advance this stance, I supplement existing literature with qualitative data collected through fieldwork in Ghana involving over 40 mining stakeholders including community leaders, youth leaders, community-based organizations, government ministry officials, and company officers. I also draw upon two focus group discussions held with women to ascertain the gender-specific ramifications of mining and CSR. My findings suggest that the current state of CSR is not suited to incorporating the needs and concerns of affected communities in an effective manner, much less pursuing a developmental agenda. I, therefore, offer suggestions on ways forward to help “re-responsibilize” mining corporations in a manner that could make them truly accountable to all stakeholders. These suggestions are based on self-identified recommendations from research participants.

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  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Parkins, John (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Kahane, David (Exam Chair - Political Science)
    • Okeke, Philomina (Women and Gender Studies)
    • Brodie, Janine (Political Science)
    • Shaw, Timothy (Global Studies - University of Massachusetts, Boston)