What is CSR

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

There are many definitions of Corporate Social Responsibility out there and various terminologies are used, from CSR to Corporate Citizenship, from sustainability to triple-bottom-line initiatives.

At Business in the Community Ireland, we follow the EU Commission definition:

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is defined by the European Commission as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. To fully meet this responsibility, the Commission states that, in addition to respect for applicable legislation and collective agreements between social partners, enterprises “should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders, with the aim of maximising the creation of shared value for their owners/shareholders, other stakeholders and society at large, and identifying, preventing and mitigating their possible adverse impacts”.

Corporate social responsibility practices can impact and influence many areas of a business and revolves around five pillars:


The Community pillar relates to how businesses interact with community and voluntary organisations in their local communities. Building trust and developing strategic partnerships in the communities businesses operate in is essential to secure long-term sustainability. It can increase staff loyalty, attract new talent whilst making a positive impact on society.


The Workplace pillar is concerned with how a business supports, engages and motivates their employees. It looks at issues such as work-life balance, employee health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, organisational culture and volunteering. Motivated and engaged employees are more productive and people prefer to work for employers they can trust.


The Marketplace pillar relates to how an organisation manages its relationship with its customers and suppliers. Buying and selling products or services is intrinsic to business - ensuring this is done in an ethical and sustainable manner is key to a company’s reputation and long-term viability.

Governance & Communications

The governance and communication pillar relates to how businesses support, manage and communicate their responsible and sustainable business practices within their organisations. A fundamental aspect is the involvement of stakeholders in identifying the most material areas that responsible/sustainable activities should address.


The Environment pillar relates to the management of a company’s impact on the environment. Leading businesses know that they have a role to play in managing the world’s resources efficiently and in combating climate change. Sound environmental strategies are essential to the sustainability of a business and can also reduce costs.

The business case for CSR

The business benefits of being a responsible business are many, from attracting and retaining talent to increasing competitiveness and mitigating risks. We have developed a publication to enhance the understanding of the business case for CSR. The report reviews key trends in CSR and identifies the direct and indirect benefits of businesses engaging in strategic CSR practices. Below you will find a series of extracts from the publication.

If you would like to receive the full report by email, please contact our Membership Executive Lorraine O’Toole at lotoole@bitc.ie.