News & Events

Minister Humphreys highlights the benefits of CSR for small businesses

National CSR Stakeholder Forum meets in Cootehill, Co Cavan

The National Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Stakeholder Forum met in Cootehill, Co Cavan today (17th September) and hosted a CSR networking event for local businesses to drive awareness of CSR for SMEs.  

The CSR Stakeholder Forum is comprised of business, public sector and Government Department representatives. Forum members act as CSR Ambassadors and share their CSR practice and experience with their peers to encourage businesses of all sizes to adopt responsible business practices vis á vis their community, workplace, marketplace and environment. This is the second outreach event organised by the CSR Forum to take place outside of Dublin where Forum members meet with local businesses to discuss CSR.

The CSR Networking event, hosted by Abbott Nutrition Ireland (members of the CSR Stakeholder Forum), was attended by local SMEs and Forum members, and had a special focus on environmental sustainability.

Addressing local SMEs about CSR the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD said:

“Not only is CSR the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. I want all local businesses, especially SMES, to realise that engaging with CSR results in a win/win situation for everyone involved because, by supporting your community and environment, you also make your business more competitive.

My Department has a dedicated website where you can find many great examples from companies and organisations around the country who have put CSR at the heart of their operations with fantastic results. I would strongly encourage local businesses to take a look and find out more.

The Minister added: “Today’s networking event is an opportunity for businesses here in Cavan, Monaghan and the North East region to learn from each other about the benefits of CSR, and to inspire their peers.”

The CSR Stakeholder Forum keeps up to date on relevant and topical issues in the CSR field and uses the CSR Networking events as an opportunity to share learning and exchange ideas.

Catherine Heaney, Chairperson of the CSR Stakeholder Forum and Managing Director of DHR Communications said: “For business to be competitive, maintain talent and to become resilient in a globalised economy, being a good corporate citizen is a now an imperative. Issues like climate-change impact on all businesses. Consumer sentiment away from unnecessary packaging is as much as an issue for a café or sandwich shop, as it is for big supermarket chains.

Implementing good CSR practice allows businesses go beyond compliance and make them more sustainable and resilient to changes around them. Today’s opportunity to share how business, big and small, are implementing good business practice will – I hope – result in more showcasing and sharing of some of the great practice that already exists in Cavan and its surrounding counties.”

Topical issues covered at this event included Sustainability, the Circular Economy, the EU Plastics Strategy and Green Public Procurement. Abbott, opened the panel session by speaking about their award-winning CSR practice and their drive to maximise the positive impact of Abbott’s business in helping people build better lives and stronger communities.

The audience also heard how local award-winning business, Áine Hand-Made Chocolate, based in Stradone Village, Cavan understands the value of sustainability for their business. One of Abbott’s milk suppliers, LacPatrick, talked about the importance of a sustainable food chain and the relationship between their business and the environment.

Green Business, who administer the highly effective Resource Efficiency Tool, provided useful guidance for SMEs on how to cut costs, increase savings and support the environment by becoming more energy efficient.   The Green Business Programme, which is a free service for business funded under the National Waste Prevention Programme has identified over €10 million worth of savings for businesses.

The event concluded with a Q & A session between the audience and panel speakers.


For further information:

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What is CSR?

The European Commission defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as ‘the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society’. CSR includes voluntary initiatives or practices that a business or organisation engage in which go “beyond compliance”.  

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) and CSR

The Government, as set out in Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017-2020, wants to ensure that businesses, in particular SMEs, understand the economic and social benefits that CSR can bring to businesses, large and small. Businesses and organisations that embed CSR at the heart of their business planning can improve their competitiveness, sustainability, attract and retain talent, whilst fostering social cohesion and protecting the environment.

National Plans on CSR (April 2014 and June 2016)

As part of the Action Plan for Jobs 2013, the Government undertook to publish a National Plan for CSR. The First Plan ‘Good for Business, Good for the Community’ was published in 2014 and aimed to raise awareness of the benefits of CSR to Business and all stakeholders in society. The Second Plan ‘Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017-2020 was published in June 2017. The Plan aims, over three years, to position Ireland as a ‘Centre of Excellence for responsible and sustainable business practice through the adoption of best practice in CSR’. It focuses on four dimensions - Workplace, Marketplace, Environment and Community and identifies seventeen actions. The actions are implemented by DBEI via the CSR Stakeholder Forum. DBEI provides secretariat to the Forum. The Plan also highlights the link between CSR and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

What is the CSR Stakeholder Forum?

The CSR Stakeholder Forum is a voluntary Body and its membership comprises of representatives of the business sector, key Government Departments and agencies and the wider community. The Chairperson of the Forum is Catherine Heaney, MD, DHR Communications, an Irish SME. The Forum meets four times a year - three meetings are Forum meetings and the fourth meeting is the CEO/Leaders’ Breakfast Meeting. Minutes from the three Forum meetings are published on

DBEI manages the Forum’s omnichannel of communications including @csrhubirl and The is integral to the work of the Forum and the implementation of the actions in the Plan.

CSR CEO/Leaders’ Breakfast Meeting 28th June 2018

To reinforce the concept of best practice of CSR through leadership and to address Action 7 in the Plan, a CEO/Leaders’ Breakfast meeting was held on the 28th June 2018, Iveagh House, Dublin. Over 100 leaders from across Government, private and public sectors came together at the inaugural CSR CEO / Leaders’ breakfast meeting. The event was hosted by the DBEI in conjunction with the CSR Stakeholder Forum on the one-year anniversary of the launch of Ireland’s National Plan. The aim of the meeting was to call upon business leaders to drive the CSR agenda so that Ireland be recognised as a Centre of Excellence for responsible and sustainable business practice through the adoption and implementation of best practice in CSR. The first CSR Check 2018 prepared by DBEI on behalf of the CSR Stakeholder Forum was presented at the meeting. The CSR Check reports on the activity of the Forum throughout the previous year and sets the direction of focus for the Forum for the coming year, in line with the National Plan. The Check will be produced on an annual basis (2018/2019) with a concluding check in 2020.

About DBEI

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.