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Broadway Bakery’s Brand of Corporate Social Responsibility; A Different Kind Of Bread.

A Thika-based bread manufacturer has demonstrated a rare brand of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) that is bound to make customers and stakeholders ask for a second helping of its wide range of products.
Over the December holidays, Broadway Bakery offered jobs for twelve Broadway High school students from Kiandutu Slums where life can only be described, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.
Being a holiday, there wasn’t much to do for the boys and girls in terms of homework or tuition, and the alternative for such restless, adventurous youth was to experiment in some unpalatable activities that range from drugs to cheap alcohol. That was until the management of Broadway Bakery came calling with the exciting job offer. This has been a rewarding experience for the students because it doubles as both a paid attachment and mentorship.
For anyone growing in the slums, role models and opportunities for mentorship are scarce and exposure to the outside world is limited, not only due to lack of networks but also the cost implications. Apart from learning values such as discipline, hard work and teamwork, the students expressed their appreciation for the daily pay of sh. 450, which they used to supplement Christmas shopping for their families, saving the rest for their school tuition and other personal requirements.
Ms. Risper Affisi, a senior representative from Broadways reiterated the need for companies to give back to communities, emphasizing the fact that companies thrive because of people. She intimated that the decision by their management to build Broadway High school for the Thika community was a strategic decision aimed at sharing the growth of the company with residents, and whose second phase will be complimented by sponsorship for needy students in higher education.
But why the involvement in CSR?
The days when business success used to be measured only on how much profits it made seem to be past. The currency of business success is now tied to a myriad of indices that include a company’s commitment to social causes and seems to have drawn support from business leaders seeking to sustain trust from customers and stakeholders. According to the 2016 PwC Global CEO Survey, (1,409 CEOs interviewed in 83 countries)  76% of CEOs define business success by more than financial profit while 64% of CEOs say that “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is core to their business rather than being a stand-alone program”. Social instability is also cited as a concern among 65% of CEOs interviewed, giving credence to initiatives such as the one taken by Broadway Bakery.
While many may want to stick to the conventional school of thought that businesses exist to make profits, there is an overwhelming body of research that validate the rationale for giving  back to communities. It is estimated that Fortune 500 Companies (the largest US-based companies by revenue and not to be confused with Fortune Global 500 Companies) spend over USD15 billion annually in CSR, reinforcing the correlation between doing well and doing good.

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