Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How a company can comply with the Constitution

I believe that more than ever before the issue of the constitution should not be about blaming and claiming. It should be dialogue based, both public and private companies are part of this dialogue. It should be about shaping opinions and working towards promoting human dignity for all.

Already there has been debate about the one third gender rule in the boards of public companies. The National Gender Commission has been actively following this matter. Recently, the Limuru Golf Club has been in a case of discrimination against women some of whom are very prominent and influential in the financial services sector. These in my view are only drops in the ocean.

All people want to feel respected and valued and companies must now proactively promote the realization of fundamental rights within their ranks. I believe that corporate can carry out some crucial measures which can be classified in three stages.

The first step should be a due diligence audit to answer the question, Where are we? This will involve looking at the current operation structure and how they appreciate such principles as justice, fairness, equality, accountability and good governance. The company should also examine its human rights policy, if any.

The next important stage will be to conduct an audit of the constitution and the many new laws that were enacted by the tenth parliament. This will enable a company understand the new legal and constitutional environment in which it operates. This should also be accompanied by an audit of recent decisions from our reformed judiciary. Why? Because Kenyan courts have demonstrated that they will be firm in defending the constitution. This will enable a company understand the judicial philosophy of reform and how the company can best prepare in the event of a suit, but most importantly mitigate against such risk.

The last stage is to combine the first two stages. The goal will be to align systems and structures within the organization with the new rules and regulations.

In conclusion, corporate organizations will reap more benefits by carrying out a human rights/constitutional due diligence audit. The other side of the coin is that the new dispensation also comes with many opportunities especially as you think of county governments and companies must be ready to take advantage of emerging investment opportunities. Lastly, young and promising entrepreneurs should also position themselves to take advantage of the opportunities and operate their new ventures in a rights-compliant manner.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Excuse me..treat me well!

Anytime I take a lunch break and encounter a group of colleagues chatting about their work place, the conversations center around complaints about t'he boss'. I am sure you have eavesdropped on such conversations. I am currently writing an article on dignity at the work place....read part of it...

The issue of poor wages even among professionals keeps arising, many complaining that wages are inadequate. But while they do not have a trade union to plead their case, more often it is a case of “everybody for himself and God for us all”.


However let us ask ourselves, does this have to be the case. Must we have employees who grumble? What can management do to ensure happy and satisfied employees? The journey to finding answers starts with understanding the role of human dignity in managing employee relations.


The aim is to provoke the thoughts of managers and business leaders on the concept of human dignity and the importance making decisions that safeguard and promote dignity for internal clients (employees). It is made on the larger concept of balancing between corporate rights and human rights both within the public and private sector.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why Corporate Social Investments??

A wave of change has been sweeping the corporate stage. Today we see a shift from the traditional Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) towards Corporate Social Investments (CSI). This is a new form of engagement with societal needs and trying to formulate long term solutions to local and national problems.

Unlike CSI, CSR is more concerned about corporate organizations getting involved in addressing needs in the society, they may range from food donations, rehabilitation of hospitals and schools. Companies will pride themselves in such projects since they demonstrate a concern for the people and most importantly that a positive action has been taken to change the circumstance. CRI has a long term view of the desired impact. CSR has a shorter term perspective.

However it is time to move towards long term projects that transform generations.
While still in school, somewhere on the slopes of Mt Kenya, I learnt of the Nation Media Group’s initiative to elect an electric fence around the Aberdare Forest. I had also witnesses the destruction caused by elephants by ravaging agricultural plantations and sometimes causing human death when visiting relatives who love near the forest (my cousins teased often me at night my imitating the steps of an elephant). 
Such a project not only eradicated the danger of more deaths, but it transformed a local economy which depends on agriculture. Once the fence was elected, farmers were able to plant and harvest without the fear of losing their investment.

Another instance is the ongoing general elections. Many corporate organizations have only been vigilantly involved in campaigns for a peaceful country. This is a very important initiative but should be made a long term affair. Companies can for instance have an annual day of peace, where they encourage their customers and partners to focus on the importance of peace in the country.

There are many examples of corporate social investments in our continent but the bottom line is that for Africa to grow, we must move from the culture of social donations towards social investments.
Africa arise...


Generational Investing: focus on children

Life should taught me one important lesson, that it is important to provide for present generations and secure a sustainable future for latter generations. The balance between the interests and rights of corporations and the rights of the people they serve is therefore critical.

Companies exist to make profit and increase shareholder’s value. They however do not exist or operate in a vacuum since they are managed and driven by people. In addition, they either offer goods or render services to human beings or even explore resources among indigenous people. People can collectively be referred to as community.

Communities on the other hand are interested in companies that improve their standards of living, those that contribute towards a better future for their children and children’s children. Although communities are interested in monetary gain, they have a higher purpose which is to safeguard their dignity and that of their children.

It therefore follows that the corporations should invest in such a way that they promote the welfare of their community. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives are good but not sufficient. A move towards Corporate Social Investments (CSI) should be encouraged. Community good should be the engine of all activities the goal of profit notwithstanding. Investing in education, health, infrastructure, agriculture is part of it. Corporations should also invest for the good of society.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Investing the Rights Way!

A new report by the Institute for Human Rights and Business which is useful for investors has been released.

The report 'Investing the Rights Way: A guide for Investors on Business and Human Rights' is a great guide for investors on how to integrate human rights due dilligence while investing.

Follow the link below and enjoy reading.