Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the business world’s buzzwords and hot topic policies. But it is also something that most small companies have been doing in one form or another for many years. At Dmac Media, we have embraced our Corporate Social Responisibility since our doors opened some 15 years ago. We just called it something else.
Corportate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a voluntary business model where a company goes beyond compliance and legislative requirements and invests in being socially responsible. Its a form of private business self regulation. At Dmac Media we called it something other than CSR. Or we didn’t call it anything at all. But like many small companies, we have always engaged fully in the concept. Even in the early days of business, when getting money into the bank for overheads was the main and urgent focus, there was always time to ‘give back’ and at least try to do things right. Sporting sponsorship, direct charity donations, a paper free office and supporting local educational and training bodies were among some of the early contributions to Dmac Media’s social responsibility policy. Before we called it a policy. They are still among our main philanthropic initiatives although we now include it all under that good healthy CSR umbrella. Like a lot of businesses, we endeavour to look out for our staff , the communities in which they live, and the wider world.
CSR is generally categorized under four headings: the environment, the marketplace, the workplace, and the community. For SME’s this means mindfully deciding to do your philanthropic part for global, local, and social issues and for your own employees. It includes reducing the company carbon footprint, improving policies on inclusion and good work practices. It embraces community volunteering, (which is usually virtual in Dmac Media, where our skills are used to assist local groups with their online presence) and encourages charitable donations. A company adopting CSR will improve or introduce ethical strategies for diversity, inclusion and for socially and environmentally conscious investments. Ireland introduced a strategic plan on CSR as long ago as 2017, and (updated in 2021) have a vision of Ireland becoming a global Centre of Excellence for responsible and sustainable business practices. The Department of Enterprise and Innovation, through the CSR Stakeholder Forum, are encouraging businesses to embed CSR practices in the workplace, making them an employer of choice, attracting, and retaining talent and giving competitive advantage over other businesses.
“Fully integrating CSR into a business’s core functions can act as a magnet and catalyst for talent and investment, increase market share, and make businesses more resilient to external shocks. Embedding good CSR practices can have a beneficial impact on both the competitiveness of individual enterprises and Ireland’s national position on the international competitiveness rankings over the coming years”
– Frances Fitzgerald TD Minister for Enterprise and Innovation
Cynics might say that this is all brand awareness, cheap advertising and a brazen method of scoring brownie points with potential clients and the general public. It could be argued too that having nine year olds playing GAA with your company name on their shirts, or separating the recyling from the general waste is probably not the most effective methods of advertising. Certainly there is an enhancement of the companies reputation through CSR policies, and it is one of the main incentives. The company puts the effort in, garners well earned goodwill and everyone is happy. At Dmac Media, we have a sense of self-satisfied well being as we wave a happy student off to college with a Dmac bursury in their pocket. We were also delighted to have designed and hosted the local community garden website. The feel good factor is as important as the kudos gained. There are also other financial gains in adopting socially responbsible models which need to be considered alongside obvious altruism. Tax incentives and financial savings,especially on environmentally sympathetic changes are enticing for companies. Moving to an electric fleet, installing solar panels and not using the printer unnecesarily are heavily motivated by budgetry impulses. But we would like to think that they are also rooted in a global and local commitment to act responsibly for the environment as a whole.
“CSR can be seen as a cynical box tick, but if you listen to the things your employees, neighbours and friends talk about, you can bring a bit more meaning to the corporate exercise. CSR is not that tricky when you have employees that want to stand for more than a commercial cause.”
– Dave McEvoy. Director at Dmac Media Ltd
The nature of corporate social responsibility has evolved over the years. Just as we in Dmac Media moved from a looser policy of good support for staff and donating to local fund raising to a more dedicated plan, CSR has evolved to become an integral part of how organisations and businesses practice good governance and positive influences for society as a whole. Potential employees are now choosing companies with a track record in social responsibility. A top down approach to corporate social responsibility generally indicates that a company is ethical, fair and transparent when dealing with their staff and the world in general. CSR is here to stay. It is a win win strategy for business, delivering long term benefits to reputation, encouraging a good working environment with a strong ethos while boosting local and global communities. Dmac Media will continue to support local schools, businesses, and organisations with the donation of expertise and the sharing of skills. We will be actively supporting indoor and outdoor activities from mountaineering to tag rugby and those 9 year old GAA heads. It is now our Corporate Social Responsibility policy.