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The Advantage CSR can bring to SMEs

 CSR is not a new concept for SMEs,  it is generally less formal and more intuitive than in larger enterprises, but that does not make it less valuable.  SMEs generally identify themselves closely with the region or town where they are located and it is at this level that the positive impact of practicing CSR can best be felt. 

SMEs from the same community or sector often face common social and environmental issues.  Addressing these issues collectively can reduce the costs of action and result in improvements that an individual SME acting alone may find more difficult to achieve. 

Case Study:  Hotel Doolin is an active member of Doolin Tourism, Doolin Tidy Towns, Doolin Heritage, Burren Slow Food Festival, Burren Ecotourism Network (BEN) and also supports and has sponsored many local events, schools, GAA teams and local surfers within the community. Aiditional info on Hotel Doolin's approach to CSR can be found on the case studies page.

CSR is not a short-cut to business success, but an investment that can pay off in the long term. 

Some benefits include:

  • Staff development and motivation
  • Staff retention and recruitment
  • Customer loyalty
  • Reduced expenditure on energy
  • Building a good reputation

 
A recent survey by Ricoh found that:

"Almost seven out of ten Irish consumers are more likely to buy from companies that act in a responsible way even when compared to cheaper alternatives"

CSR is about continuous improvement and should be seen as part of the modern model of business excellence. Not all SMEs are the same, the fact that SMEs are an extremely diverse group in terms of size, sector, ownership etc., calls for a range of different approaches and strategies to encourage and support the uptake of CSR.

Organizations such as ISME and BITCI provide advice and support for SMEs embarking on their CSR journey or building on practices already in place, check out their supports for growing your business responsibly:

BITCI's Responsible Business for SMEs, ISME's CSR Advice Centre, and their collaboration Why Doing Good is Good for Business.