The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the ongoing debate on governance, accountability, transparency and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector of a developing country context. It examines the reporting practices of the two largest transnational gold-mining companies in Tanzania in order to draw attention to the role played by local government regulations and advocacy and campaigning by nationally organised non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with respect to promoting corporate social reporting practices.
The paper takes a political economy perspective to consider the serious implications of the neo-liberal ideologies of the global capitalist economy, as manifested in Tanzania’s regulatory framework and in NGO activism, for the corporate disclosure, accountability and responsibility of transnational companies (TNCs). A qualitative field case study methodology is adopted to locate the largely unfamiliar issues of CSR in the Tanzanian mining sector within a more familiar literature on social accounting. Data for the case study were obtained from interviews and from analysis of documents such as annual reports, social responsibility reports, newspapers, NGO reports and other publicly available documents.
Analysis of interviews, press clips and NGO reports draws attention to social and environmental problems in the Tanzanian mining sector, which are arguably linked to the manifestation of the broader crisis of neo-liberal agendas. While these issues have serious impacts on local populations in the mining areas, they often remain invisible in mining companies’ social disclosures. Increasing evidence of social and environmental ills raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the regulatory frameworks, as well as the roles played by NGOs and other pressure groups in Tanzania.
By empowering local NGOs through educational, capacity building, technological and other support, NGOs’ advocacy, campaigning and networking with other civil society groups can play a pivotal role in encouraging corporations, especially TNCs, to adopt more socially and environmentally responsible business practices and to adhere to international and local standards, which in turn may help to improve the lives of many poor people living in developing countries in general, and Tanzania in particular.
This paper contributes insights from gold-mining activities in Tanzania to the existing literature on CSR in the mining sector. It also contributes to political economy theory by locating CSR reporting within the socio-political and regulatory context in which mining operations take place in Tanzania. It is argued that, for CSR reporting to be effective, robust regulations and enforcement and stronger political pressure must be put in place.
The authors are grateful to Prem Sikka, Keith Hoskin, participants in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Accounting Conference, 11-13 July 2012 held at the University of Cardiff, anonymous reviewers and editors for their support, encouragement and insightful comments which have been instrumental in the development of this paper.
Lauwo, S.G., Otusanya, O.J. and Bakre, O. (2016), "Corporate social responsibility reporting in the mining sector of Tanzania: (Lack of) government regulatory controls and NGO activism", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 1038-1074. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-06-2013-1380
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