Minister Bruton launches National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mr. Richard Bruton T.D., today (Wednesday, 9 April,2014) launched “Good for Business, Good for the Community, Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2014-2016.

One of the Government’s key objectives is to make Ireland the best small country in which to do business. The National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) supports this objective and articulates a vision for Ireland to be recognised as a Centre of Excellence for responsible and sustainable business practices.

Among the measures contained in the plan are:

  • Establish a Stakeholder Forum on CSR to support the development of CSR in Ireland, in the first half of 2014
  • Establish a baseline of CSR activity in Ireland, through the National Standards Association of Ireland
  • Work with stakeholders to raise awareness of CSR and support best practice CSR
  • Explore how IDA and Enterprise Ireland can promote CSR with their client companies
  • Support programmes to develop CSR in the SME sector.

The publication of this, the first ever National Plan on CSR for Ireland, represents a milestone in raising the profile of CSR in the country.  Speaking at the launch today, Minister Bruton said:

 “We in Government are very conscious of the valuable role that Corporate Social Responsibility can play in contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery.  Increasingly, good CSR practices are distinguishing the best companies from their competitors, and are having a positive impact on their competitiveness.  The way that businesses integrate social and environmental concerns into their engagement with customers, suppliers, employees and local communities is becoming hugely important to the sustainability of their business.

“The National Plan we are publishing today, as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, outlines the key principles and objectives which underpin the Government’s approach to CSR, and sets out a series of actions for 2014. We will shortly establish a CSR Stakeholder Forum to drive development of this sector. I thank all involved in preparing this plan, and I encourage all stakeholders to get involved in this process which can be hugely positive for the development of their business.”

CSR has been practiced by companies, large and small, throughout Ireland for many years. The breadth of CSR activity in Ireland is widespread and is recognised through programmes such as Business in the Community Ireland’s “Business Working Responsibly Mark” and Chambers Ireland’s Annual CSR Awards.

Welcoming the publication of the National Action Plan, Tina Roche, CEO, Business in the Community Ireland, Ireland’s national network for corporate responsibility, said:

“Resource efficiency, increased productivity, staff motivation, consumer confidence, trust and reputation are the main priorities for Irish business leaders. The need for growth, jobs, particularly youth employment, environmental sustainability and social resilience at a time of economic difficulty are the foremost priorities of government. Corporate responsibility is uniquely positioned to contribute to these priorities and a robust National Action Plan driving its benefits for both business and society will help work towards ensuring its potential is realised.

Ireland’s National Action Plan sets out clear roles and responsibilities of both government and business. Business in the Community Ireland will continue to work with the Government and its members to implement these principles and we commit to promoting understanding of how addressing corporate responsibility can help build business excellence”.

Also speaking at the launch, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said:

“Given the level of growth in CSR activities in Ireland over the last number of years, we are delighted that the Government has committed to fostering CSR by launching this plan. We regard our role in promoting and highlighting best practice as one of great importance. While we believe that it should remain a voluntary activity, guidance from the Government in this area will only strengthen the already large number of companies who embrace CSR across the country. Sustainable and responsible business practices have now become the norm rather than the exception and we encourage as many companies as possible to learn more about how they can get involved.”

The National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility is an initiative under the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.  The Plan is available at: www.enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Good-for-Business-Good-for-the-Community.pdf