Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


listening approach improves performance

January 2008

Corporate community investment programmes are becoming more effective because companies are now listening to the people who are intended to benefit from them.

The Charities Aid Foundation, which advises on corporate giving, says its latest research shows that businesses at the forefront of this field 'are increasingly engaging stakeholders, including customers, employees and local communities, in the development and delivery of their community programmes'.

This has helped the businesses to create 'more effective programmes that have a greater social impact'.

The findings, published last month, are based on interviews with managers of community investment programmes at 12 'best practice' UK companies, including Anglo American, BT, Cadbury Trebor Bassett and Sainsbury's.

The report says companies have learned to tailor programmes to their own expertise and to match their line of business. It quotes Barclays as saying that they realized 'we could write a cheque to save donkeys in Egypt, but we don't know anything else about donkeys in Egypt, so have nothing more to contribute - whereas with financial inclusion ... we can make a very practical and valuable contribution'.

Last month CAF gave Barclays its main award for 'effective company giving', chiefly for its Banking on Brighter Futures programme, which makes it easier for disadvantaged people to gain financial independence.

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