Today, Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen T.D. announced the launch of a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on-line Tool for SMEs. This Tool is an initiative of the CSR Stakeholder Forum in conjunction with the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, which was set up to drive the objectives of the National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility.Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby enterprises integrate social and environmental concerns into their mainstream business operations on a voluntary basis.
This on-line tool will help SMEs understand more about CSR and provide further supports to adopt and implement responsible business practices. Completing the Tool will help SMEs recognize that many of the activities they already engage in represent best practice in CSR, will inspire new ways of operating responsibly, and will help towards understanding the benefits of embedding CSR into their day-to-day business operations. The Tool will also help confirm that the size of your company is not a factor in the ability of a business to make a positive impact in the world.
This collaborative project by the CSR Stakeholder Forum and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation is another step in raising awareness of CSR among the SME community.
Speaking at the launch Minister Breen said, “There is a perception that Corporate Social Responsibility is largely associated with big companies but it is as important for small and medium sized businesses. The benefits of CSR to a company are significant, especially for attracting and retaining talent. There are many other worthwhile benefits for companies, from becoming an intrinsic part of the local community within which they operate to saving on energy costs. I’m delighted to launch the Corporate Social Responsibility on – line Tool for SMEs which will assist SMEs in understand more about CSR. I would encourage all SMEs to become involved in Corporate Social Responsibility”. Embedding CSR into long-term business strategies can help towards ensuring that a business’s future is sustainable.”
To appreciate the relevance of CSR to your business, why not take the quick survey on the CSR SME On-line Tool at http://csrtool.csrhub.ie/ .
NOTES FOR EDITORS
What is CSR?
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept whereby enterprises integrate social and environmental concerns into their mainstream business operations on a voluntary basis. CSR goes beyond compliance with legislative requirements. It is a process which maximises the creation of shared value through collaboration with all stakeholders and ensures that the interests of enterprises and interests of wider society are mutually supportive.
National Plan on CSR
As part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, the Government published its first National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility - Good for Business, Good for the Community - in April 2014. The Plan covers the period 2014-2016.
The National Plan sets out the general framework within which CSR operates in Ireland and outlines the key principles and objectives which underpin the Government’s approach to CSR. The Plan is based on five Pillars: Workplace, Environment, Marketplace, Community and the Public Sector. The National Plan explains how CSR can contribute positively to a company’s business and highlights practical supports which are available to organisations that want to embark on, or make improvements in, this area. The Plan not only recognises the importance of CSR for enterprise, but also for the wider communities in which they operate.
The National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility supports the Government’s objective of making Ireland the best small country in which to do business by encouraging responsible and sustainable business practices.
Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility, Good for Business, Good for the Community, is available at: http://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Good-for-Business-Good-for-the-Community.pdf.
CSR Stakeholder Forum
A key deliverable in the National Plan on CSR was the establishment of a CSR Stakeholder Forum. The role of the Forum is to drive the objectives of the National Plan, to inform the further development of the CSR policy framework in Ireland, and ensure that the Plan remains relevant to evolving international best practice and thinking. The Forum comprises representatives of the business sector, key Government Departments and agencies and the wider community.
One of the key outputs of the CSR Stakeholder Forum has been the development of the CSR Hub website, www.csrhub.ie. The CSR Hub provides a central repository of information on CSR, and acts as a signpost to all of the key CSR resources in Ireland and at international level.
As well as providing the policy frameworks, guidance tools and resources on CSR, it also highlights case studies of best CSR practice.
CSR SME Tool
For most small and medium-sized enterprises, especially microenterprises, CSR is likely to remain informal and intuitive, whereas larger enterprises may have dedicated CSR resources and formal CSR programmes.
The CSR Stakeholder Forum have identified that CSR can be challenging for small businesses, but also recognises the that by being a responsible and sustainable business; any business of any size can save money (energy, packaging, etc.), win new business, increase customer retention, attract and retain talent, and encourage innovative business practices.
CSR issues for SMEs are essentially the same as for larger companies but many SMEs are intrinsically connected to the local communities in which they operate. For SMEs CSR is often simply part of how they operate as good citizens.
This on-line Tool has been developed to help and support SMEs in understanding that they may already engage in CSR practices, inspire new ways of operating responsibly and recognising the benefits of embedding CSR into their business operations.
The Tool can be accessed at http://csrtool.csrhub.ie/