Corporate Social Responsibility is a concept whereby businesses and other organisations integrate their social and environmental responsibilities into their mainstream business operations, and business decisions are made with reference to wider sustainability issues.
National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
In 2017, Ireland published its second national plan on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Towards Responsible Business: Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017-2020
The National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility sets out a vision 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.”
The second National Plan on CSR was produced in consultation with the CSR Stakeholder Forum and in line with EU and international best practice CSR policy.
The Plan contains 17 actions which will be overseen by the CSR Stakeholder Forum. The Plan will be further strengthened by a Work Programme which will be updated over time, as actions are delivered and new opportunities present themselves, to ensure the Plan remains relevant.
A key driver of our National Plan is the impact CSR can have as a lever for improving competitiveness and as a means to reduce costs and create new value. However the Plan also recognises the importance of CSR for enterprise and for the communities in which we live. We recognise the value of sustainable business practices in boosting employment, fostering social justice and protecting the environment.
The Plan contains an appendix of supports available to companies to develop CSR such as those available from a number of business representative bodies, networks and specialists including Business in the Community Ireland and Chambers Ireland.
CSR Stakeholder Forum
Since the launch of Ireland's first National Plan on CSR, The CSR Stakeholder Forum has been formed. The Forum is made of representatives from the private sector, government departments, academia and other relevant public bodies.
A CSR Stakeholder Forum was established in June 2014 to drive the objectives of the first National Plan on CSR 2014-2016. Members of the forum will develop and implement a Work Programme for the Forum in support of the second National Plan on CSR 2017-2020. This Work Programme will be updated over time, as actions are delivered and new opportunities present themselves, to ensure the Plan remains relevant. The Work Programme will delivered through a series of specialised working groups which will be formed by the Forum.
The CSR Stakeholder Forum and the department have developed online resources including an Online CSR Tool for SMEs, the www.csrhub.ie website, a quarterly email newsletter, and the Twitter account @CSRHubIrl. These bring together key CSR resources and help businesses in Ireland to learn more about sustainable and responsible business practices.
The Online CSR Tool for SMEs helps small and medium businesses to assess how well they engage in CSR activities. The tool was developed by CSR Stakeholder Members, Deloitte with the Working Group on CSR and SMEs.
CSRHub.ie provides information on sustainable business practices including monthly featured best practice case studies, links to useful organisations, and useful guidance tools and standards.
The @CSRHubIrl twitter account shares CSR related news stories and information on best practice in CSR.