Over the years, oil and gas companies in Nigeria have adopted several policy approaches to corporate social responsibility (CSR) to complement their stakeholder relations strategy. These include corporate philanthropy, strategic CSR as well as partnership schemes. Some companies have also gone further to demonstrate significant commitment and interest for CSR delivery by increasing their expenditure on CSR. To derive maximum value, companies need to report with certainty, the direct and indirect impact of their contributions to sustainable development. Yet, there are challenges in determining the actual impact and outcomes of CSR initiatives, and reporting same to internal and external stakeholders, without greenwashing. Many CSR projects have been known to fail shortly after completion and handing over to beneficiaries. This is partly due to initial failure to incorporate a robust set of sustainability criteria into the design and implementation process. On the other hand, attempts to measure project impacts after completion sometimes do not yield the desired results for effective CSR communication due to deployment of poorly designed methodology for data collection and analysis. This paper provides guidance on sustainability assurance and evaluation criteria which can assist companies to move beyond the annual reporting on the number of completed projects and amount of money spent (i.e. quantity delivered), to telling the story of the impact of projects on beneficiaries as well as the macroeconomic, social and environmental effects (i.e. quality and value-added). The paper concludes that the knowledge and full understanding of the impacts and effects of completed community development projects are crucial inputs for effective CSR communication as well as lessons for the planning and delivery of subsequent projects.

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