Top firms double charity donations

Britain’s largest companies have doubled the amount of pre-tax profit
donated to charities and community projects, according to the latest research.

A study by the Guardian newspaper shows that 0.95 per cent of pre-tax profit
was donated by companies in the FTSE 100 during 2001-02, a rise of 0.4 per cent
from the previous year.

However, according to the research, most of the increase is explained by
falling profitability, better measurement and the reporting of worldwide,
rather than UK, contributions.

A wider review of the top 400 firms reveals that levels of giving are at
0.42 per cent of pre-tax profits overall – the same as a decade ago.

These static figures add to the mixed messages on corporate social
responsibility (CSR) as companies struggle to compete in the current economic

Donations dropped to 0.29 per cent in 1995-96 but have now climbed up to the
1990-91 levels.

James Graham, a manager at Business in the Community – the organisation
pushing for increased CSR – is optimistic that companies are giving more back
to communities.

BIC’s own research shows the amount of employee time dedicated to good
causes has risen from 28.7m to 38.6m over the last 12 months.

"The time and skills of employees dedicated to charities and
communities is more valuable than money. Staff also develop new skills,"
he said.

Graham said more firms were now getting involved in CSR because of the
recognised and proven business benefits.

He said firms understand that an employer brand can be largely based on CSR
and that consumers do choose ethical products and companies.

By Ross Wigham

Charity contributions by
top organisations

Company                                 % of pre-         cash
support    staff time         gifts in kind     management   total                 pre-tax
profit payroll giving
tax profits                   £                                                                      time

Reuters Group                         12.7                 6.4m               
                      13.7m                                    20.1m

Northern Rock                        5.0                   14.8m
                      14.8m             295.20m

Kingfisher                               4.64
                      1.3m                28.00m           

Unilever                                  3.4
                  8.83m              0.25m              0.26m              0.32m              9.66m              284.09m         

Smith & Nephew                     3.3                   0.42m
             0.08m              0.18m             
                      0.68m              2.25m              11,000

Legal & General                     3.1                   1.67m
             0.04m              0.05m              0.16m
             1.92m              62.00m            193,000

Rio Tinto                                 2.8
                  15.72m            0.55m              0.62m              4.14m
             21.03m            1,367.59m      

Shell Tran’ & Trading            
2.3                  58.62m                                 
                                            58.62m            2,548.00m      

Cadbury Schweppes                2.0                   1.1m
               0.24m              0.23m              0.26m              1.82m

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