This paper explores and compares the political effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector in Zambia, Ghana and Peru. It adopts a political settlements approach to the question: How do the CSR practices of mining companies affect local and national political settlements? After setting out the main tenets of the political settlements approach, this is articulated with literature on the politics of natural resource extraction and CSR. It then sets the wider context of the international drivers of increased attention to CSR in the extractive sector, before exploring the impact of the CSR practices of mining companies on the political settlement in Ghana, Peru and Zambia at national and local levels.
The final sections offer a comparative discussion of findings’ implications for understanding CSR’s role in inclusive development and natural resource governance. The paper argues that recent increased CSR expenditure does not necessarily translate into development for those living near mining companies, particularly in contexts of exclusionary political settlements, of which all case studies exhibited characteristics. There are many institutional and contextual limitations placed on the ability of CSR to deliver development for affected communities. Across the case studies, the opportunities that CSR programmes afford tended to be aimed at those with the greatest capacity to disrupt operations, rather than those with the greatest need.
In concluding, the author argue that, despite some obvious limitations, the political settlements approach can generate new insights through its focus on the politics of development, and, in particular, the politics of stability.
This output was funded under the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre programme
Frederiksen, T. (2017) Corporate social responsibility and political settlements in the mining sector in Ghana, Zambia and Peru. ESID working paper no. 74. Manchester: Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, The University of Manchester, 41p