Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Towards Responsible Business: Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017-2020, retains the vision established in the first National Plan on CSR that “Ireland will be recognised as a Centre of Excellence for responsible and sustainable business practice through the adoption and implementation of best practice in CSR in enterprises and organisations.” Toward Responsible Business is an action-orientated plan with 17 actions aimed at supporting businesses and organisations of all sizes and all sectors to adopt responsible business practices.
The plan centres on Four Core Dimensions of CSR;
- The Community
- The Environment
- The Marketplace
- The Workplace
There is a growing awareness amongst businesses in Ireland of Corporate Social Responsibility, 84% of business view CSR as being moderately or very important to business. As a member of the CSR Stakeholder Forum, EI is working with other Government Departments and Agencies, representatives of the business sector and civil society, and the wider community to assist with achieving the Strategic Goals identified in Towards Responsible Business;
Awareness: Help employers and employees better understand the benefits of embedding CSR and responsible business practices into the day-to-day activities of businesses operating in Ireland
Access: Support the development of effective CSR practices in business through accessible and appropriate information resources
Support: Support organisations by promoting and highlighting best practice CSR, CSR news and events
Policy Alignment: Advocate and support relevant policy priorities across Government Departments and their agencies, specifically those which complement CSR, including implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, Business and Human Rights, Healthy Workplaces Framework, etc.
Towards Responsible Business: Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017-2020
CSR and SMEs
The term Corporate Social Responsibility is often seen as something only done by large corporates, however it has huge benefits for SMEs and micro enterprises too. Acting in a way that shows a level of care for staff, community and customers is a good start to a strong CSR ethos. For most small and medium-sized enterprises, especially micro enterprises, CSR is likely to remain informal and intuitive, whereas larger enterprises may have dedicated CSR resources and formal CSR programme. Carefully implemented CSR policies can deliver tangible benefits to SMEs, helping them to:
- Win new business and increase customer retention;
- Develop and enhance relationships with suppliers and networks;
- Attract, retain and maintain a happy workforce and become an employer of choice;
- Save money on energy and operating costs and manage risk;
- Improve your business reputation;
- Attract investment and funding opportunities.
Additional information on CSR for SMEs can be found through the CSR Hub which provides examples of best practice case studies and advice and support for businesses who are interested in learning more about Corporate Social Responsibility.