The Business Trust is funding the development of software that will plot corporate social investment (CSI) projects on Google Earth, helping to enhance the impact of CSI by showing the extent of investment in relation to socio-economic need.
Every year, companies in South Africa channel substantial funds into projects targeting beneficiaries in poor communities – some estimates put the total CSI spend in this country at R4,1-billion for 2007/08.
The Business Trust's Social Mapping Project will display information by geographic region and development sector on a Google Earth platform, allowing the user to zoom
down from a view of South Africa, to a specific street or building.
The map will allow organisations to analyse information by providing a profile of the communities in which a project is being implemented (population, poverty rate, malnutrition, access to services etc.).
They will also be able to visual information, allowing them to demonstrate the impact of social investment on different sectors and in different parts of the country, live in presentations or copied into reports.
Armed with this information, companies will be better able to co-perate with one another, aligning social investment with other corporate or government programmes, by using this tool to identify areas of potential cooperation.