Social Enterprise and the "Triple Bottom Line"

Social enterprise is a business model that puts people and community first, ahead of private or personal gain, while operating in a commercially viable and sustainable way.

Many reuse and recycling companies operate as social enterprises that provide sustainable and meaningful employment for people who might not otherwise have access to it. In doing so, they contribute to the environment, the economy and to the needs of our society and community, or the “triple bottom line.”

As the majority of CRNI’s members are not for profit environmental and social enterprises, the triple bottom line is an important tool to communicate the impacts that they have on society.

Promoting Equality

CRNI members work to promote equality by supporting individuals or groups that are long-term unemployed, people with disabilities, ex-offenders, people coming from drug rehabilitation and disadvantaged communities—such as members of the Traveller and Roma community—through employment schemes, such as CSP, Tús, RSS, CE and others. These employment and training opportunities can help lift people out of poverty, enter the job market and learn new skills that can support career progression.


The personal impact of these services on trainees can be seen through our video, Inclusive Communities at Work, found on CRNI’s videos page: https://www.crni.ie/videos/

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Addressing Poverty and Social Inclusion

CRNI retail members work to address poverty by providing refurbished or reused goods at affordable prices and in some cases, at a significant discount. This enables low-income families to meet their needs without incurring debts or making do without essential items. CRNI members also create volunteer opportunities, which helps to address social exclusion by offering a sense of community, purpose and belonging to those who are lonely or otherwise excluded.


According to a Volunteer Ireland study, 55% of respondents to an online national survey of volunteers stated that their mental health and well-being had increased following their volunteering experience. See the study on the Publications page: https://www.crni.ie/publications/


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