Corporate Social Responsibility in the Congolese mining companies

Corporate Social Responsibility in the Congolese mining companies

Emmanuelle Devuyst, RPAN-OCIPE

Two events have prompted a field mission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the project “Relational Peace Advocacy Network” (RPAN) of OCIPE in June 2010.

First, the CEPAS, our partner in the Congo in the triangulation Brussels – Kinshasa and Washington, organized two workshops on social responsibility of extracting companies; and second, a team of three researchers collected the information necessary for academic research on practices of mining companies in Katanga.

The two workshops dealt with the social responsibility of mining companies in DRC, subject approached from the perspective of domestic law and international standards, by different technicians and specialists in the field. These workshops led to interesting exchanges between civil society, local authorities, representatives of international organizations and experts. They have enabled us to illustrate the paradox Congolese, being one of the few states that have laws very concrete in terms of corporate social responsibility but the judicial system has not the capacity, at all, to ensure its compliance.
The project manager of RPAN, Ms. Devuyst presented the OECD guidelines for multinational companies. She had the opportunity to stress the importance of this text and the limits of progressive status of “soft law”. The event was also the opportunity to inaugurate the office of CEPAS Katanga, now also present in Lubumbashi.

Professor Josep Maria SJ, form ESADE Business School in Barcelona (Spain), together with Mr. Christian Bwenda, director of environmental NGO Premi-Congo, and Ms. Devuyst conducted field research in Katanga. This academic survey focused, in the Gecamines owned state monopolistic company closed era, on the practices of social responsibility of the mining companies in Katanga.

In terms of methodology, the starting point for research is the definition of corporate social responsibility adopted by the European Commission in its Green Paper of 2001. A questionnaire was drafted and sent previously to selected mining companies; it focuses on aspects of corporate social responsibility as legal, economic, social, and environmental and relations with stakeholders. The researches met representatives from the companies, the workers and other stakeholders as local and regional authorities.

Five mining companies, producers of copper and cobalt, agreed to meet with us and to answer our questions in a spirit of transparency. These interviews provided good information about the real commitments of these companies in the area of social responsibility, especially in the unstable context of Congo and also at a time when the economic crisis is reducing the prices of minerals. The interviews with other stakeholders allowed us to meet also workers; representatives of the Congolese civil society as religious communities, NGOs; and representatives of political parties or local authorities. It was very useful this exercise of crossing information as it showed the different perceptions to the inherent obligations due to a reasonable corporate social responsibility.


3 thoughts on “Corporate Social Responsibility in the Congolese mining companies

  1. Dear Kizito I am proud of your research on CSR in DRC and wonder if we could together explore the possibility of hosting in Kinshasa an intentional conference on CSR in DR Congo.

    Ibased in London and you can reach me on 447448644575

  2. To whom it mabe directed. I will be very glad and gratefull if anybody xcan supply me with the triangular conference on CSR in the DRC (my country of origine) as well as others useful material related to CSR in the DRC as I’m completing a study upon with my Phd at the university of Pretoria, Faculty of law.
    Kizito Kabengele
    South Africa

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