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CSR in a time of Corona – ZCCM IH steps up to be counted

Many corporates have answered the call for assistance from Zambia’s Ministry of Health during these difficult times of the COVID-19 Pandemic. On 2nd April 2020, ZCCM IH led by their CEO Mabvuto Chipata step up to the cause in a significant way by donating a Mercedes Benz ambulance to help in fight against the deadly virus.

ZCCM-IH joins Government in the fight against Covid-19 by donating a Mercedes Benz Ambulance. Source ZCCM IH Twitter @zccmihplc

At the moment, in all continents of the world, the health care infrastructures of various nations have been tested and stretched by the Pandemic. Although it’s been described as a black swan moment, the needs of the healthcare supply chains, which for many have reached breaking points, are in desperate need of apparatus (masks, hand sanitizer, ventilator, and mobility) to aid in this crisis.

Corporates have choices when it comes to making donations for causes such as this one. Some have opted to give sizable cheques to meet funding needs for this specific period of the crisis. However, others such as ZCCM IH have a CSR strategy that seeks to build on the infrastructure of the entities directly responsible for dealing with the crisis with a long term view in mind.

A review of ZCCM IH’s 2019 annual report reveals that through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes, the investment group continued meeting social obligations by supporting access to clean water to enhance sanitation and support health and education programmes among others. One such contribution was to support Ndola Teaching Hospital by sinking two commercial water boreholes and setting up a complete water reticulation system to support water to critical areas of the hospital including the operating theatres and wards which were known to have experienced severe water shortage (crisis) in the past.

Ministry of Health officials examining the apparatus

Therefore, the recent donation of an ambulance further exposes the DNA of ZCCM IH’s ongoing CSR strategy which focuses more on building supporting infrastructure that ensures long term sustainability.

But pundits far and wide will still ask the question “Why is it so important for corporates such as ZCCM IH and others in Zambia’s private sector to step up during this moment”. In strategic management literature, the debate over the social responsibilities of companies has been both contentious and confusing. On the one hand, which is a property conception views the company as a set of assets owned by the shareholders, whereas on the other hand, which is the social entity conception, views the company as the community of individuals that is sustained and supported by its relationships with its social, political, economic and natural environment. However, both opposing opinions must recognize that for an entity to survive and earn a profit it must maintain social legitimacy. Therefore, it is prudent for corporate entities such as ZCCM IH to purse CSR strategies that will inadvertently support their long term strategic goals.

With ZCCM IH now firmly redefining the gold mining ecosystem in Zambia by embracing artisan miners, ensuring their health at this moment in its development is crucial as having a healthy human capital base will secure long term success for both the corporation and the wider community.

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