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Management Series: charity

CGAP Briefing Note 9 - UK corporate citizenship in the 21st century

What is the private sector's role in society? Does it extend beyond creating employment, providing goods and services, and generating profit for shareholders?

Author(s): Catherine Walker - STEAM (Sector Trends Evidence Analysis & Metrics) at the Directory of Social Change (DSC); Cathy Pharoah - Cass Business School; Denise Lillya - Directory of Social Change (DSC); Marina Marmolejo - Together

This briefing paper outlines the history of its wider role, referred to here as corporate citizenship, and, bringing together a new analysis of corporate giving data, focuses specifically on the ways in which UK‑listed companies currently support the communities in which they operate.

The key findings are:

  • Corporate donations to UK charities are estimated at around £1.6 billion annually.
  • Cash donations make up around 70% of the top companies' community support portfolios to good causes and charities in the UK, with the rest being in‑kind: eg donations of goods and services, specialist pro bono contributions and employee time.
  • Donations to good causes and charities in the UK from the top 300 UK‑listed companies are estimated to make up around 70% of their overall worldwide community investment portfolio (excluding major product donations) with the remaining 30% going to causes around the world.
  • Corporate donations by the top givers to UK charities fell by 4.3% in real terms between 2007/08 and 2008/09.
  • Donations to communities around the world fell by 1.4% over the same period (excluding major product donations), and picked up slightly by 0.7% in 2009/10
  • One trend which seems to have been accelerated by the ongoing recession is a shift away from cash donations to in‑kind giving.
  • Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are the top corporate givers; when the large product donations of these companies are taken out of the equation, however, the financial and mining sectors dominate.
  • Reporting of corporate giving is highly variable, with relatively low take‑up of any one standard measure, making accurate assessment of the complete picture difficult.
  • Research evidence suggests that companies with a more social focus do better business in the long run and could help in recession‑proofing those good corporate citizens.
{CGAP Briefing Note 9 - UK corporate citizenship in the 21st century}{https://www.cass.city.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/366871/CGAP-BN9-corporate-giving.pdf}
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