Leaders’ Breakfast discusses Corporate Social Responsibility in Ireland today - progress report launched by Minister Humphreys - 27th June 2019

130 leaders from across Government, private and public sectors came together at the CSR CEO / Leaders’ breakfast on the 27th June 2019, at the Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. The event, aimed at raising awareness about the business benefits of CSR, was hosted by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation in conjunction with the CSR Stakeholder Forum, and is part of the roll-out of ‘Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on CSR 2017-2020. Minister Humphreys launched 'CSR Check 2019' at the event which is the Forum’s 2nd Progress Report on implementation of the National Plan. The report includes CSR case studies, information about the Forum’s activities, and interesting articles about CSR in Ireland today.


The theme of the event was ‘CSR in Ireland today’ with a focus on CSR from the business/organisation perspective and the impact of CSR in society.


Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation gave the opening address and encouraged all those present to continue to promote CSR through their engagement with the Forum; their management structures and boardroom and with their employees, business networks and wider community. Addressing the event, she said that ‘CSR is a win-win for everyone involved’ and that ‘a socially responsible business is a more sustainable and successful business’.

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left to right: Catherine Heaney, Chairperson, CSR Stakeholder Forum and MD DHR Communications, Minister Humphreys.


Dr Orlaigh Quinn, Secretary General also addressed the audience about the ‘workforce of the future’ that will promote equality, diversity and inclusion, reflect society, is innovative and engaged and supported by strong leadership, culture and values. She also highlighted some of the DBEI CSR initiatives including the establishment of; TeamCSR who will lead on the development of a CSR strategy for the Department, Green Team, DBEI LGBT+ Network - Pride in Business, Wellbeing Programme, Innovation Culture Group, and Knowledge Management Group.


The Chairperson, Catherine Heaney, MD DHR Communications thanked Forum members for their voluntary engagement throughout the year and talked about the Forum’s ambition for the work programme for 2019/2020.


The event included two keynote speakers and two panels. Conall O’Móráin moderated the event.

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Minister Heather Humphreys (centre) with the two keynote speakers (left to Right) Dr Rory Sullivan, London School of Economic and Political Science and Chronos sustainability and Tomás Sercovich, CEO, Business in the Community Ireland

Keynote 1: ‘Environmental, Social and Governance Factors’ (ESG)
Dr Rory Sullivan, London School of Economics and Political Science and Chronos Sustainability was the first keynote speaker. He is an internationally recognised expert on climate change, human rights and investment. Rory spoke about responsible investment and specifically, economic social and governance (ESG) factors and their relevance to investment decision making. Rory’s article on ESG can be found in Chapter 4 of the CSR Check 2019.

Panel 1: Business/Organisation Perspectives on CSR

3 Min and Panel 1

Left to right Oliver Loomes, Diageo, Grace O’Shaughnessy, Java Republic, Minister Humphreys, Vivienne Kavanagh, Dublin Bus, Bernard Sheridan, Central Bank of Ireland.

The Panel speakers were
• Vivienne Kavanagh, Employment Development and Equality Executive, Dublin Bus
• Oliver Loomes, Country Director, Diageo
• Grace O’Shaughnessy, Managing Director, Java Republic
• Bernard Sheridan, Director of Corporate Affairs, Central Bank of Ireland.

Each speaker was given an opportunity to highlight their CSR Programmes. The audience had the opportunity to hear about Dublin Bus’s Workplace Gender Transition Policy, Diageo’s Open Doors Initiative, Java Republic’s Carbon Neutral plant and the Central Bank of Ireland’s CSR Programme. A Q&A session, which was opened to the floor, covered current topics in CSR including; staff recruitment and retention, energy savings, SDGs and other CSR initiatives.

Keynote 2 – ‘Progressing Towards Meaningful CSR’
Tomás Sercovich, Chief Executive Officer, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) was the second keynote speaker. He spoke about the challenges ahead for business and all organisations in responding to climate change and wider societal issues. Tomás’s article on ‘Progressing Towards Meaningful CSR’ can be found in Chapter 5 of the CSR Check 2019.

Panel 2 – Impact of CSR in Society

4 Min and Panel 2

Left to right Stephen O’Hare, Transgender Equality Network Ireland, Iseult Ward, Food Cloud, Jennifer Glansford, Age Action, John Logue, Suas, Niall Heneghan, St Joseph’s Co-ed Primary School

The panel speakers were:
• Iseult Ward, Cofounder, Food Cloud
• John Logue, Chief Executive officer, Suas
• Jennifer Glansford, National Development Manager, Getting Started, Age Action
• Niall Heneghan, Principal, St Joseph’s Co-ed Primary School, East Wall
• Stephen O’Hare, Chief Executive Officer, Transgender Equality Network Ireland

Each of the speakers spoke about the importance of CSR and how they have been able to progress very impactful initiatives through their engagement with the business community. The audience heard about St Joseph’s library built by A&L Goodbody, the rights and equality of trans people and their families by TENI, the volunteers from Deloitte in Age Action’s over 55’s computer literacy programme, Suas’s children’s literacy programme, and the reduction of food waste by Food Cloud. The session was then opened up to the floor for questions on topics ranging from how to start your CSR journey, volunteering and formalising CSR programmes with communities.

Driving awareness of CSR in Ireland is a key priority for the CSR Stakeholder Forum supported by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. If your business is already engaged in CSR or would like to start on the journey, please contact us.

Download a copy of the CSR Check 2019 here.

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