Social Welfare Investment Most Attractive to Aussie Companies
19 November 2014 at 10:17 am
Social welfare charities and community programs were the greatest recipients of corporate community investments in 2014, according to the annual London Benchmarking Group (LBG) Australia and New Zealand Review.
Social welfare causes received over $47 million in contributions from 46 LBG reporting member companies, comprising 25 per cent of contributions.
It is the first time since 2008 social welfare received more than education/young people (22 per cent) and health (16 per cent), areas which previously dominated.
Published every year since 2006, the LBG Review presents data on the donations, investments and contributions made by some of Australian and New Zealand companies including QANTAS, Wesfarmers, ANZ, New Zealand Post, Woodside and Origin Energy.
LBG Director, Simon Robinson said he believed the rise in social welfare contributions was directly related to the lack of major natural disasters in recent years.
“In years of extreme natural disasters such as the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and Brisbane floods, we tend to see emergency relief donations rise at the expense of social welfare. With no major disasters since 2011, social welfare has been slowly gaining traction from its 2011 low point of 8 per cent of total contributions,” he said.
“Our members are also becoming more strategic in their investments; they are increasingly looking for true partnerships with mutual benefits. In 2014, 61 per cent of contributions were made towards long-term projects as opposed to one-off charitable donations which comprised 25 per cent of donations, with commercial initiatives at 15 per cent.”
In 2014, member companies reported over $188 million in community investments through the standardised LBG model, down from $237 million last year.
LBG said the 20 per cent decrease came despite a 7 per cent increase in the number of reporting members, and could primarily be attributed to the fact that one of last year’s largest reporters, Woolworths, did not report in 2014.
Over 1 million people estimated to have been supported by contributions in 2014.
LBG Chair and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Medibank, Rita Marigliani, said impact measurement continued to be a challenge and that the LBG methodology continued to evolve to address the issue.
“It is pleasing to see more companies attempting to understand the impacts of their investments, back to the business and to the communities in which they work. That said, we have a long way to go and the journey is not easy but it’s essential to increasing the quality and quantity of effective corporate community investment,” she said.
Other findings included:
Nearly 500,000 hours were volunteered by employees of reporting companies on company time, or 12 hours per employee
An average of $1.9 million was leveraged by each company in donations from third parties such as customers and employees
An estimated $77.7 million in revenue was forgone by LBG members for the community’s benefit.
An average of $573 was contributed per employee by reporting companies, up more than $150 from the 2013 average of $420.