With over $188 million in contributions from 46 of Australia and New Zealand’s largest and most iconic companies, the corporate community investment report, produced by Shared Value Project member LBG Australia and New Zealand, stands as an excellent snapshot of the state of corporate giving in 2014.
Published every year since 2006, the LBG Review presents data on the donations, investments and contributions made by some of Australia and New Zealand’s most influential and high-profile companies including QANTAS, Wesfarmers, ANZ, New Zealand Post, Woodside and Origin Energy.
In 2014, LBG member companies reported over $188 million in community investments through the standardised LBG model. For the first time since 2008, social welfare received the lion’s share of contributions (25%) ahead of education/young people (22%) and health (16%) which have dominated previous year’s reviews.
LBG Director, Simon J Robinson believes the rise in social welfare contributions is directly related to the fact we have escaped major natural disasters in recent years.
“In years of extreme natural disasters such as the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and Brisbane floods, we tend to see emergency relief donations rise at the expense of social welfare. With no major disasters since 2011, social welfare has been slowly gaining traction from its 2011 low point of 8% of total contributions,” he said.
“Our members are also becoming more strategic in their investments; they are increasingly looking for true partnerships with mutual benefits. In 2014, 61% of contributions were made towards long-term projects as opposed to one-off charitable donations which comprised 25% of donations, with commercial initiatives at 15%,” he said.
More companies are endeavouring to close the loop and measure the actual impact of contributions made to the community, with over 1 million people estimated to have been supported by contributions in 2014.
LBG Chair and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Medibank, Rita Marigliani, says impact measurement continues to be a challenge and the LBG methodology continues to evolve to address this.
“It is pleasing to see more companies attempting to understand the impacts of their investments, back to the business and to the communities in which they work. That said, we have a long way to go and the journey is not easy but it’s essential to increasing the quality and quantity of effective corporate community investment,” she said.
Other findings included:
- Nearly 500,000 hours were volunteered by employees of reporting companies on company time, or 12 hours per employee
- An average of $1.9 million was leveraged by each company in donations from third parties such as customers and employees
- An average of $573 was contributed per employee by reporting companies, up more than $150 from the 2013 average of $420
- An estimated $77.7 million in revenue was forgone by LBG members for the community’s benefit.
It is interesting to reflect on the area of the community that companies are targeting their shared value activity towards, and what corporate community investments might be able to be rework as shared initiatives, which Helen Steel, Executive Director of the Shared Value Project, presented at the LBG Members Plenary Tuesday 19th November.
LBG members are already on the path by seeking mutual benefits from partnerships as opposed to one off charitable donations, and by using the LBG benchmarking methodology to understand their role as business in society and capacity to address social issue. We look forward to continuing to work with LBG and their members to align their benchmarking and results with the shared value idea.