The Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis, in partnership with Project on Middle East Democracy organized a round-table discussion on “Corporate Social Responsibility in Morocco: What can Jerrada teach us?” on March 8, 2019. The goal behind this round-table discussion was to rethink and debate current corporate social responsibility policies in Morocco, especially in light of the recent events occurring in the Moroccan city of Jerrada.
The event started with an opening speech by Dr. Mohammed Masbah, in which he highlighted the importance of the subject of corporate social responsibility. After MIPA completed a series of publications on corporate social responsibility in Morocco, with a focus on Jerrada, the institution was optimistic that the round-table discussion would further expand the public debate on the issue, engage new questions, and most importantly generate alternative CSR policies. It is MIPA’s goal to bridge the gap between academia and sensible governance.
After the welcome note by Dr. Masbah, Kathya Berrada presented her paper on “Jerrada beyond the Mine: A Sustainability Approach”. In her presentation, Berrada explained how the recent popular protest movement, sparked by the tragic death of two brothers in one of the mines in Jerrada invites reflection on the social responsibility of corporations. A mining business is not a permanent enterprise, since natural resources do not last forever. Berrada states that with this in mind, it becomes a responsibility for mining corporations to think of the future of the communities within which they operate. This is where the importance of CSR policies should be realized, given that they are self-regulated companies.
Furthermore, Berrada shared how the paper departs from the recent popular protest movement in Jerrada which was sparked by the tragic death of two miners, unveiling decades of socioeconomic marginalization. Historically, mining companies have made no serious attempt to integrate themselves in the communities within which they operate. Berrada concludes with fact that the incidents of Jerrada and other ghost towns have led several companies to reconsider their practices in light of the increasing importance of sustainability and social responsibility.
The argument in Kathya’s paper is motivated by the need to go beyond the role of the state in understanding the case of Jerrada. Jerrada is a reminder of the absence of CSR, which are shared responsibilities between the state, the private sector (mining companies) and civil society. Yet, this does not entail that the role of the state can be substituted, given that CSR is just the expression of social engagement from the part of the companies. CSR in this context can be understood as the expression of economic agents’ engagement in long term sustainability approaches.
CSR is an under-debated issue in Morocco and it is the responsibility of researchers, policy makers and the different stakeholders to debate and rethink existing policies and practices in order to come up with alternative solutions. Several questions remain unaddressed: what have different stakeholders done? What can they do for a sustainable approach? What differences are there between “state” corporations and “private” corporation when it comes to CSR? Is the state transferring its responsibility regarding CSR to corporations?