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 environment.
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.
Charity contributions by top organisations
Company % of pre- cash
support staff time gifts in kind management total pre-tax
profit payroll giving
tax profits £