Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


business gets more value from its corporate giving

November 2000

Corporate giving is growing significantly in the UK, but companies are putting more of their money into specific community projects rather than giving it straight to charity.

This year’s annual survey of corporate giving by Corporate Citizen magazine shows the worldwide community spend of UK companies during 1999/2000 stood at around £450million, an 11 per cent increase on the figure of £405m last year.

However, analysis of the figures by the Directory of Social Change, a training organization for the voluntary sector which publishes Corporate Citizen, has revealed that most companies among the top 50 givers are channelling more money through their own projects run jointly with charities and community groups.

‘The nature of the giving has changed strikingly, with a big shift from cash gifts to investment in cash and kind,’ said Alison Benjamin, Corporate Citizen editor. Benjamin cited the utility group Scottish Power as one example: last year the company used one of its main community giving vehicles, the PowerPartners initiative, to give £2m to six charities which will help Scottish Power to improve its services for customers with special needs .

The biggest UK-based worldwide community investor was BP Amoco, which gave £41m last year, while Rio Tinto (£25m) and Barclays (£21m) took second and third spots.

The rest of the top ten, in descending order, were: Diageo, Reuters, SmithKline Beecham, AstraZeneca, HSBC, Cable & Wireless and British American Tobacco.

Significant falls in global community spend were registered by British Airways, which dropped contributions by 12 per cent during a troubled financial year, and SmithKline Beecham, which said a 16 per cent drop was simply a return to normal levels of giving after an exceptional year in 1998/1999.

Cable & Wireless increased its worldwide donations by around £2m, or 43 per cent, following the introduction of its new international education sponsorship programme, which is aimed at students in the developing world.


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