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CSR for SMEs

In today's challenging business environment businesses need to drive their competitive advantage to succeed - but in a responsible manner. CSR is about going 'beyond compliance' and not just meeting regulation but exceeding it - making businesses more competitive and resilient.

Businesses and organisations that embed CSR at the heart of their business can become more resilient by:

  • Driving sustainability
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • Fostering social cohesion
  • Protecting the environment.

In the past Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was often thought of as being something for large organisations as they had greater resources to draw from. For most small and medium-sized enterprises, especially microenterprises, CSR is likely to remain informal and intuitive, whereas larger enterprises may have dedicated CSR resources and formal CSR programmes.

A key aim of the CSR Stakeholder Forum through the implementation of ‘Towards Responsible Business’ Ireland’s National Plan on Corporate Social Responsibility 2017-2020 is to increase the level of awareness amongst SMEs and micro enterprises of existing supports and resources on CSR practices, and to demonstrate that CSR is a win:win no matter what size a business is.

CSR for SMEs - Information Leaflet

The Corporate Social Responsibility leaflet for SMEs was prepared by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to offer SMEs an overview of CSR and provides information and guidance on how to activate CSR initiatives in your SME.

SME Case Studies

Sharing good practice is a way to highlight the value of CSR and motivate other companies, particularly SMEs into adopting a CSR strategy for their business. This culture of sharing, uniquely facilitated by the Forum, seeks to transform how business operates in Ireland and in return – the workplace, the marketplace, the community and the environment.

The collection of case studies on csrhub.ie from SMEs continues to grow. The case studies, which can be accessed or downloaded for free, provide insight and knowledge on how to get started or how to develop your CSR journey for your business. The CSR Stakeholder Forum supports this model of peer learning.

There is a lot of good practice amongst SMEs including;

If you wish to complete a case study, please click here.

CSR Network

The CSR Network is for businesses and organisations across Ireland active in CSR who want be part of a growing network to share and drive best practice CSR. Network members receive regular updates, invitations to outreach events, Forum events and the annual CEO/Leaders Breakfast. If you wish to share your CSR story, learn from your peers and become part of a growing community please contact us at csrhub@dbei.gov.ie

Membership is free and open to all businesses and organisations that are active in CSR and can provide a CSR case study for the csrhub.ie

CSR Newsletter

The CSR Newsletter issues quarterly by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. The newsletter regularly features: best practice CSR case studies, information on CSR policy issues and Global CSR trends. Subscribe here.


The CSR Stakeholder Forum is keen to encourage more research in the car of CSR and in particular CSR in the SME sector. CSR Stakeholder Forum member DR Briga Hynes, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick contributed an article to CSR Check 2019 ‘Unpacking the Dimensions of CSR in Irish SMEs – building the evidence base’

Additional Resources

  • Business in the Community Ireland has a webpage focused specifically on the needs of SMEs and which provides a range of useful resources.
  • Chambers Ireland CSR Guide for SMEs. The Chambers Ireland Annual CSR Awards have a category specifically for SMEs.
  • Department of Communication, Climate Action and Environment has lead responsibility on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).