Big Business Continues to Invest in Community – Report
18 November 2015 at 11:08 am
A new report has revealed that even during uncertain economic times, top businesses across Australia and New Zealand have increased the amount they spend on community projects and initiatives to over $222 million a year – up by $34 million on 2014 figures.
Global benchmarking framework, the London Benchmarking Group (LBG), has marked its 10 year anniversary by releasing the LBG State of Corporate Giving Report, which provides insights into high-profile corporate giving in Australia and New Zealand.
“Even with a shaky economy, businesses are able to turn to community projects and initiatives (CCI) as a way to invest in their reputation – something which is essential to maintain throughout any financial instability in the market,” Director of LBG for ANZ, Simon Robinson, said.
The report found that companies would continue to invest or maintain the amount they were spending on CCI over the next year. Some 90 per cent of survey respondents expect their CCI budgets to remain the same or increase over the next year.
Two thirds of respondents also expected the number of flagship partners they support to remain unchanged. However, 20 per cent said they will cut back on their key partnerships and the remainder anticipate increasing them.
“This is a clear indicator that community investment is no longer ‘a nice to have’ but rather a non-negotiable aspect of core business,” Robinson said.
Robinson said that to create CCI that contributes positively to a business’ reputation companies need to measure the genuine impact of that investment.
“The global LBG framework provides organisations with one, globally recognised, way to measure, assess and report the effectiveness of their community programs,” he said.
The LBG report however found that companies still did not give at the same levels as their contemporaries in European markets, pre-tax profits donations increased to 0.6 per cent.
On average companies spend $228,000 per flagship partnership. The report used examples such as the Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation, Good Shepherd Microfinance and The Alannah Madeline Foundation.
The report found that the Financial Services sector is the largest contributor to the community, followed by Retail and Wholesale and the Energy sector.
The areas that benefited the most from corporate giving in 2015 included the Education, Health and Social Welfare sectors.
“One of the most important areas of development which our benchmarking data has captured over a ten year period is the contribution and impact that employees make to the community,” Robinson said.
“Employees are the ones who have increased their workplace giving and volunteering effort and LBG members have wholeheartedly supported them in doing this.
“Collectively, this has resulted in the number of people participating in community projects and initiatives double this year to 7 per cent and an increase in the number of working hours increasing from 498,077 to 832,750 – a trend that’s set to continue.”
LBG was developed over 21 years ago in the UK. Since then, the global network has expanded to cover 130 countries and over 200 companies worldwide.
In Australian and New Zealand, Robinson said the membership of the network had grown from 10 to 50, which included a number of ASX 100 companies including Woodside Energy, NAB, Qantas and Medibank.