Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting in the Mining Sector of Tanzania: (Lack of) Government Regulatory Controls and NGO Activism

Lauwo, S; 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 and Accountability Journal, 29(6), pp. 1038-1074. ISSN 0951-3574 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Purpose – The paper aims to contribute to the ongoing debate on governance, accountability, transparency and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector within 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 nationally organised non-governmental organisation (NGO) advocacy and campaigning with respect to promoting corporate social reporting practices.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on the political economy perspective to consider how the neo-liberal ideologies of the global capitalist economy, as manifested in Tanzania’s regulatory framework and in NGO activism, have serious implications 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 on CSR in the Tanzanian mining sector within a more familiar literature on social accounting. The data for the case study were obtained from interviews and from the analysis of documents such as annual reports, social responsibility reports, newspaper clips, NGO reports and other publicly available documents.

Findings – The analysis of interviews, press clips and NGO reports draws attention to the 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 residing in the mining areas, they often remain invisible within the mining companies’ social disclosures. The increasing evidence of social and environmental ills raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the regulatory frameworks and also the role played by NGOs and other pressure groups in Tanzania.

Practical implications – By empowering local NGOs through educational, capacity-building, technological and other support, NGOs’ advocacy, campaigning and networking with other civil society groups can have a pivot 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 can help to improve the lives of many poor people living in developing countries in general and Tanzania in particular.

Originality/value – The paper contributes to the existing literature on CSR in the mining sector by bringing some insights from gold-mining activities in Tanzania. It also contributes to political economy theory by locating CSR reporting within the socio-political and regulatory context within which mining operations take place in Tanzania. It argues that, for CSR reporting to be effective, there must be robust regulations and enforcement and stronger political pressure in place for it to complement.

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Corporate social responsibility, Globalization, Neo-liberalism, Transnational corporations, Regulatory structures, Non-government organisations (NGOs), Tanzania

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Institute of Management Studies


20 October 2016Published

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Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2018 15:48

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:59

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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