Annual HPO LBG Benchmarking Report - Corporate Community Support Grows in Difficult Times
12 November 2009 at 2:12 pm
The Benchmarking Report found that the total community contribution for LBG member companies in 2009 was $295 million – an 86% increase from $158 million in 2008.
The London Benchmarking Group (LBG) was established in the United Kingdom in 1994, when six companies came together to develop a framework to measure, manage and assess the value of their charitable contributions. The Australia/New Zealand LBG branch started in 2005 and is facilitated by Haystac Positive Outcomes (HPO).
The ANZ’s Michelle Commandeur is the Steering Group Chair for LBG Australia/New Zealand.
Commandeur says the past year has been challenging on a number of fronts with both business and communities hit by various effects of the global financial crisis.
However she says despite the volatility the total community contribution of the group has grown significantly.
As well LBG membership has grown to 45 companies, an 18 percent increase from the previous year.
Commandeur says not only has the level of corporate community investment generally weathered the storm, but companies are increasingly seeking to adopt a more rigorous method of accounting for their community contributions and demonstrating the benefits of this to consumers, employees and shareholders.
In February 2009, Victoria experienced one of the most devastating natural disasters in our nation’s history. The response from the Australian community to the bushfire crisis was unprecedented.
Commandeur says the LBG members contributed more than $36,064,150.
She says with an outpouring of public and corporate support for the cause, many members responded innovatively, reflecting on how their business could provide tangible help beyond cash donations.
The report says the trend over recent years towards a shift from cash contributions to in-kind support has continued in 2009. It says a contributing factor to the marked increase in in-kind contributions (up by 13% from 2008) this year was the unprecedented and unplanned contribution by member companies to emergency relief following the Queensland floods and Victorian bushfires.
However, it says the three-year decline in cash as a percentage of total contributions also reflects a strategic approach by members to move away from cash donations and find ways of making use of their own resources and capabilities to benefit the community.
Education and young people, heath, and social welfare continue to be the main areas of focus for corporates. The notable changes this year were a 7% reduction in the proportion of contributions going to social welfare but are weighted against an increase in emergency relief support.
The Report says across the group a total of 37,356 employees actively participated in community activities during paid working time, equating to almost $20 million in value. It says the average community contribution per employee has increased year on year with its biggest leap up occurring during 2009 from $372 to $653 – an increase of 57%. The impact of the Victorian bushfires is a significant contributing factor to the increase.
The report also says the corporate contribution as a percentage of pre-tax profits is 0.77% and contributions as a percentage of total revenue is 0.11%.
It says this year, contributions as a percentage of pre-tax profit increased in Australia/ New Zealand to be more in line with the UK (0.82%). This is a significant change from the previous year, when the result was less than half of the UK benchmark.
Commandeur says a key objective for the coming year will be a sharper focus on the assessment of outputs and impacts. LBG UK has developed an impact assessment tool, which assesses the achievements of community projects in a consistent way and they will adapt this tool for use in Australian and New Zealand following a pilot by Steering Group members.
The HBO LBG Benchmarking Report is published in a special pull-out section of The Australian Newspaper on Thursday 12th of November. It can be downloaded at: http://www.lbg-australia.com/