The Guardian: Nearly one percent: “The top 100 companies listed on the London stock exchange are collectively pushing towards the 1% mark for community involvement and good causes.”: “The biggest giver this year is GlaxoSmithKline, weighing in with £144m, followed by Shell with £57m and BP with £50m. The same three come in the same order with cash donations.” (ShellNews.net) 8 Nov 04
Monday November 8, 2004
The top 100 companies listed on the London stock exchange are collectively pushing towards the 1% mark for community involvement and good causes. This year's Giving List, which ranks Footsie members according to the percentage of pre-tax profits they give straight back to the community, reveals an average of 0.97%, bringing the rate of giving back to its 2002 level when 0.95% was recorded. Last year it had fallen to 0.8%.
Top place goes to the UK operation of the international insurance company, Royal and Sun Alliance, which donated 8.7%. ITV plc, the product of a merger between Granada and Carlton, comes in at second place with 6.8%. Northern Rock, last year's number one, sits at number three with 5%. This is an annual donation for the bank, which converted from a mutual in 1997. A foundation was established as part of the deal and 5% of the company's pre-tax profits is diverted there every year. Reuters shares the 5% spot with donations worth £2.5m. The Reuters Foundation was created 24 years ago to support journalists from developing countries. Today it runs a wide range of educational and environmental projects. The news and financial information company had dropped out of the ranking last year after posting a loss, but in 2002 it had topped the table with a hefty 12.7%. Schroders stays in the top five, also with 5%, having occupied the number two spot last year with 3.4%.
The biggest giver this year is GlaxoSmithKline, weighing in with £144m, followed by Shell with £57m and BP with £50m. The same three come in the same order with cash donations. Two of them also record the highest management costs in operating their corporate responsibility programmes, with GSK posting almost £17m or nearly 12% of total contributions; BP follows with an admin bill of £8.6m, more than 17% of the budget; and BHP Billiton is the third biggest spender in this area at £5.3m. The cash total is smaller but the proportion eaten up in costs is greater, at 20.5%. The average management cost for the whole table is about 8p in the pound but, since fewer than half measure this, the actual cost is likely to be greater.
This is the first year we have separated management costs and the value of volunteering time for staff during working hours, so comparisons with earlier years are difficult. Together, they have decreased by about £2.5m since last year but their combined value since 2002 has tripled. So there is no obvious trend in the separate strands yet but staff time by itself seems to tell a developing story. Just under half of the FTSE 100 now measure this investment in expertise and enthusiasm.
Sometimes the figures are big, like Standard Chartered's £4.1m. The bank had a community week in 2003 when every one of the 30,000 staff worldwide gave two days to projects in different countries. Staff time is also involved in the bank's Seeing is Believing project with Sightsavers International, which aims to restore vision to a million people. It also ran a Living with HIV week and an environmental Clean and Green week. But the smaller projects, such as school mentoring and reading with pupils, that cost Scottish Power £710,000, are just as effective.
Total cash donations increased slightly from £637m last year to £643m today. But that, too, has risen by a healthy quarter since 2002. Probably the most noticable change this year is the growth of gifts in kind. They were valued at £88.6m in 2002, then rose a little to £89.8m last year. But this year they have soared to £135.7m.
Overall, 34 of the businesses contributed 1% or more of pre-tax profits, compared with 25 last year. The bottom 14 gave 0.1% or less. A further two loss-makers, who cannot be ranked, nevertheless gave handsomely - Abbey with £2.2m and Vodafone at £10.5m. There were eight loss-makers in last year's table. Finally, only one Footsie member, Enterprise Inns, is unclassified because of non-disclosure this year compared with four in 2003.