1.1 At ifac, we consider corporate social responsibility (CSR) to be an important part of the manner in which we conduct our business. CSR means we acknowledge that, as a business, we have a responsibility to our clients, our employees, independent contractors, suppliers and other stakeholders as well as the broader community in which we operate. We aim, through our firm’s practices and policies, to create value for our employees and clients, minimise our impact on the environment and improve the quality of the local community.
2 Our strategy
2.1 We believe that having a clear and focused CSR strategy with clear aims and objectives has real benefits for our business.
2.2 We rely on having a healthy, diverse and talented workforce and seek to recruit and retain the best people. We must also ensure we are known for offering a high level of service to our clients. We aim, therefore, for our business to reflect the environmental and social issues that are important to our employees and our clients, as well as other relevant stakeholders. We also acknowledge that, for long-term commercial success, we rely to an extent on the health of the environment and the economic strength of our local community.
2.3 We aim to align CSR with our business strategies and operations.
2.4 By putting CSR into practice, we are committed, wherever possible, to:
2.4.1 having high standards of governance and risk management within our business.
2.4.2 conducting ourselves responsibly and in an ethical manner.
2.4.3 creating a positive and supportive working environment.
2.4.4 having an active role in supporting local communities.
2.4.5 improving service levels to clients.
2.4.6 acting fairly in our dealings with suppliers and other third parties.
2.4.7 minimising the impact on our environment.
3 Overview of our CSR strategy planning process
3.1 Our key stakeholders are our employees, independent contractors, board members, clients, suppliers, charities and local communities.
3.2 We have direct input from our stakeholders to ensure that our strategy reflects the environmental and social issues that are important to our stakeholders.
4.1 We shall communicate this policy to our employees, clients and other stakeholders.
4.2 We provide our staff with training on our CSR strategy and this policy and seek to raise awareness of any negative impacts of our business and methods to reduce them.
5 Responsibility and review
5.1 John Donoghue, CEO, has the overall responsibility for our CSR strategy and for implementing this policy.
5.2 All employees have a role to play in complying with our CSR objectives and are encouraged to make suggestions in relation to initiatives we could undertake.
5.3 We are fully committed to the highest possible standards of openness, honesty and accountability.
5.4 We are committed to ensuring our policy remains effective. As part of our ongoing commitment, this policy is reviewed at least annually to verify its effective operation. Records of the reviews are maintained, and any necessary amendments are made to the policy, as appropriate.
6 Our commitments
6.1 We are committed to taking responsibility for our actions and to encourage a positive contribution towards improving standards for our employees and clients, minimising our impact on the environment and improving the quality of the local community. The ways in which we intend to give effect to this are outlined below.
6.2 Governance and risk management:
6.2.1 We are committed to ensuring a high standard of governance in our firm.
6.2.2 We are committed to ensuring compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements and professional standards.
6.2.3 We also acknowledge the importance of managing risks as it helps us ensure we are running a successful business and are committed to properly managing all risks that may affect our practice.
6.3 Our conduct:
6.3.1 We aim to adopt the highest professional standards and not to act in such a way as to compromise our firm’s integrity.
6.3.2 We are authorised and regulated by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland and comply with all ICPA requirements.
6.3.3 We actively promote respect amongst our employees in their dealings with each other and with clients and other third parties.
6.4 Our working environment:
6.4.1 We recognise that our employees are our most important resource. We actively seek to offer our employees a positive and healthy working environment and ensure that they have rewarding careers and job satisfaction.
6.4.2 We seek to offer competitive salary and benefit packages that are commensurate with the marketplace, and which properly and fairly rewards our employees’ efforts.
6.4.3 We seek to ensure that all employees have access to the learning and development they need for their own personal development, to meet their regulatory obligations and to ensure they can deliver a high-quality service
6.5 Our community:
6.5.1 We appreciate the importance of our role in supporting the local community in which we work, and we believe that it is right to use some of our expertise and resources for that benefit.
6.5.2 We have resolved to sponsor or otherwise support local and national charities.
6.5.3 We have resolved to offer work placements to students from local schools and colleges.
6.6 Our clients:
6.6.1 We are committed to delivering a high level of service to all our clients. We understand that our business exists in a very competitive market and in order to retain our clients we need to deliver a professional and courteous service.
6.6.2 Wherever possible, we take steps to promote equal opportunity in relation to access to the legal services that we provide. We take account of the diversity of the communities we serve in order to ensure that, subject to funding constraints, our services are accessible to all clients.
6.6.3 We take account of the needs of clients with a disability and clients who are unable to communicate effectively.
6.6.4 We consider whether particular groups are predominant within our client base and, where possible, ensure their needs are met.
6.6.5 We take steps to identify the needs of clients in the community and develop plans and procedures setting out how we meet these needs and ensuring the services that we provide are accessible for all.
6.7.1 We are committed to eliminating unlawful discrimination and to promoting equality and diversity in our professional dealings with suppliers and other third parties.
6.7.2 We endeavour to enter into clear and fair contracts with our suppliers. We commit to the timely settlement of suppliers’ invoices.
6.7.3 Wherever possible, we aim to support the local economy by contracting with local suppliers.
6.8.1 We are committed to behaving responsibly and to minimising our impact on the environment.
6.8.2 In considering the environment, we shall:
(a) encourage environmental responsibility among our independent contractors, suppliers and employees and include environmental considerations in our purchasing and procurement processes and in business travel.
(b) minimise our consumption of natural resources and manage waste through responsible disposal, reusing and recycling, including paper and toner ink cartridges.