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Irish Times: A weighty proposition

Ciaran Hancock
Published: Jul 09, 2007

CSR: The merits of corporate social responsibility have been debated for decades but the concept is becoming popular in corporate Ireland.

Earlier this month, energy giant Shell said it had spent $273 million (201 million) worldwide on CSR in 2006.

Susan Shannon, who heads Shell’s social investment initiatives in Ireland, says independent research it has commissioned recently suggests that trust is gradually being rebuilt after recent low points in public relations over its plans to build a natural gasline in Co Mayo.

“Others would argue that that isn’t the case but we feel strongly that it is the case and we have independent studies to back it up.”

Shell recently announced a university scholarship programme with four secondary schools in Mayo that will benefit 10 students. The cost is about 500,000 to the company. It also employs a number of community liaison officers.

Shannon admits, however, that it is difficult for companies to quantify the benefit to their business from CSR. “You can’t measure it . . . but this is not really an option for businesses anymore. It’s a must-have in today’s world,” Shannon says.

The above are extracts relevant to Shell…

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