Thursday, 17th October 2013: This morning over 150 of Ireland’s CEOs gathered in the Guinness Storehouse to witness the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D. address and announce the companies to have achieved the prestigious Business Working Responsibly Mark. The Mark which is run by Business in the Community Ireland is valid for two years and is audited by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI).
CRH Ireland, ESB, Intel Ireland and Microsoft Ireland are being re-accredited with the Mark and joining them for the first time this year are Boots Retail (Ireland) Ltd., Gas Networks Ireland and Deloitte Ireland.
Announcing the recipient companies, Minister Bruton said:
“An important part of our plan to create sustainable jobs is ensuring that our businesses are well run, treat their staff well and act responsibly towards the communities in which they operate. Business in the Community does excellent work in promoting and encouraging responsible corporate activity, and I am very happy that my Department, through the NSAI, supports this mission and provides recognition to companies who fulfil this mandate. I congratulate all those involved. I am determined to ensure that we continue to incentivise companies to act responsibly as this will play a key role in creating the sustainable jobs we need”.
This is the seventh year of the annual CEO Forum run by Business in the Community Ireland with the purpose of bringing cutting edge developments in the area of sustainability to Irish CEOs. In a year where business reputation has been firmly in the spotlight – Leadership and Reputation is this year’s theme of Responsible Business Week which is running from October 14th -to 18th, the highlight of the week being the CEO Forum.
Speaking at the event that acts as Ireland’s premier corporate arena for discussion surrounding corporate responsibility and sustainability, Tina Roche, CEO, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) said:
“Responsible and Sustainable management is an investment in an intangible – reputation. 80% of most ‘best brands’ balance sheets are intangible. Leaders need to understand that building deeper relationships with employees and other key stakeholders is a must and not for the PR value but because it is the most effective way of running a business”
Roche congratulating the companies that have achieved the Mark added:
“In the past ten years we have seen a real sea change in the attitudes of Irish companies towards Corporate Responsibility. We launched the Mark over three years ago and it is the standard for responsible business practice. This year has seen the most companies achieving The Mark to date. It is a good start to see so many companies using the Mark and working hard to embed corporate responsibility at the heart of what they do. Now we need all companies to act in this way”
This year’s keynote speaker, Mike Barry, Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencers and developer of M&S’s ground breaking sustainability strategy Plan A shared his insights into why sustainability matters to business and how it creates profits at Marks & Spencers. In May 2011 he was named the Guardian’s inaugural Sustainable Business Innovator of the Year. He is Chair of the World Environment Center, a Visiting Fellow at the Smith Centre for Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University and a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability.
Internationally renowned climate change expert, Professor John Sweeney, NUI Maynooth addressed the delegates on the impact that business leadership can evoke on the issue of climate change. Professor Sweeney has over 30 years’ experience in this field. He has served on numerous national and on international academic societies as an Irish representative. He is a contributing Author of the recently published Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The companies’ receiving their Mark certificates today are leading in the area of sustainability in Ireland. Many other companies use the Mark as a measurement and gap analysis tool and although not yet at the high standards set out in the Mark, it is providing these companies with a roadmap of how to improve their internal practices and policies. The Mark is awarded after third party verification audit by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) and is based on ISO 26000. It is open to all large companies.
Pictured above were Brendan Jennings, Deloitte; Pat O’Doherty, ESB; Debbie Smith, Boots Retail Ireland; Joe Ffrench, Microsoft Ireland; Brendan Cannon, Intel Ireland; Jim Mintern, CRH Ireland, Padraic O’Connell, Bord Gáis Networks. Picture Jason Clarke Photography.