2020 events drive record levels of corporate giving
Corporate contributions to the most vulnerable in the community rocketed in 2020 driven by the significant needs of the year; in the form of bushfires and COVID-19.
Media release 12 Feb, 2021
A comprehensive financial analysis of Australia’s top companies found $1.1 billion was invested into philanthropic efforts in 2020 from our top 50 givers – up $155 million and 17% compared to 2019 figures.
Now in its third year, the GivingLarge Report shines a light on Australia’s most generous corporations. It reveals some important insights into corporate philanthropy in Australia and ranks organisations by their percentage contributions of profits or earnings.
2020 saw the needs of the community shift with “disaster relief” emerging as a key cause area as companies dug deep to support the disasters of 2020.
Contributions towards COVID from all companies analysed (30 companies disclosed a number) were over $175m. Contributions towards bushfires (113 companies disclosed) were $145m.
Report author and Strive Philanthropy Founder Jarrod Miles said that the events of 2020 stimulated a greater response from many of Australia’s leading companies.
“The record breaking total contribution was almost certainly reached due to the significant responses from our top companies towards the 2020 crises”
“What makes this particularly notable is that it happened at a time when profits over the year declined for some of these top institutions.”
Largest COVID relief contributions came from mining giants BHP, Rio-Tinto, Newcrest and South32. With combined contributions over $100 million.
BHP CEO Mike Henry said of their $50 million contribution, “We are stepping up in establishing the Vital Resources Fund, which will provide support in a range of areas such as health services and resilience building during this difficult time.”
Other big COVID givers included Macquarie Group, contributing $20M through their foundation and Woodside Energy setting up a $10M COVID-19 community fund.
Much of the response was about giving for viral research and local communities, and typically came from companies which were less impacted – miners, banks and retailers.
The bushfire response was far more widespread. It was all about basic necessities: rescue, shelter, fire-fighting facilities, food, water and medicine.
The largest bushfire contributions came from the big four banks (estimated $19M total) and media giants News Corp and Seven Group ($5M each).
Across the full year analysis the percentage of pre-tax profit given from Top 50 companies in 2020 was an overall 1.11 per cent for the year, compared to 0.67 per cent in 2019. The significant change not only attributable to an increase in donations but also to a drop in profits for these companies in 2020.
Supermarket giant Coles game ranked number 1 in the analysis which order companies based on their community investment as a percentage of profit or earnings. Coles donating $125 million in 2020, representing 7.3 per cent of the company’s profit on a rolling 3-year basis. Their 2020 figure the largest since their de-merger from Wesfarmers, with the funds going towards food rescue, health and disaster relief.
Other top contributors came from the big banks, with Commonwealth Bank leading the pack ($70m at 0.7% of profit), and our large mining companies, BHP contributing the largest dollar value in the list at $221 million. BHPs number significantly lifted by their COVID contribution and their accountability to a 1% of pre-tax profit target over a rolling 3 year.
“The statistics here miss some other micro-giving”, said Miles, with many companies also foregoing revenue on fees, products and services for community benefit. “These are not included in the overall numbers but represent an additional meaningful contribution from business”.
The biggest percentage movers in this year analysis were Newcrest ($55m, up 110% vs 2019), Macquarie ($35m + 82%), Medibank ($9.5m + 111%) and BHP (up 64%).
Other sector leaders included CSL in heath care, Telstra in telecommunications, Stockland in real estate and Oil Search in the energy sector.
The analysis also demonstrated an encouraging growth in community investment over time with significant increases observable each year back to 2014.
While promising, Miles is quick comment that more work needs to be done to truly embed the value of corporate community investment at the board room table.
“The spike in giving in 2020 is warmly welcomed but won’t be enough. Sustainable philanthropy is about a change in thinking, not just the rise in dollar donations. The good news of 2020 is that this change of thinking seems to be hardening and we can only hope will propel corporate philanthropy nicely into the decade”.
|Top 10 by % pre-tax profit (rolling 3yr)||Top 10 by Total Contribution|
|1 Coles||1 BHP|
|2 Star Entertainment||2 Coles|
|3 Oil Search||3 Commonwealth Bank|
|4 Newcrest||4 CSL|
|5 South 32||5 Newcrest Mining|
|6 CSL||6 Westpac Group|
|7 Woolworths||7 Rio Tinto|
|8 Stockland||8 South32|
|9 IAG||9 Macquarie Group|
|10 NIB||10 ANZ Banking Group|
Sector Leaders by % Contribution
|Health Care CSL|
|Real Estate Stockland|
|Energy Oil Search|
|Utilities Spark Infrastructure|
For more information contact Strive Philanthropy director Jarrod Miles at [email protected]
Full Report and all past reports available Here
The GivingLarge Report and research sets out to highlight the considerable community contributions being made by some of Australia’s top companies. The research conducted annually by Strive Philanthropy analyses the publicly available reports of our top companies, compiling their community investment statistics to develop a unique data set aimed to draw attention to corporate Australia’s efforts in this area. Supported by Philanthropy Australia, the findings of this report will: Inform future corporate behaviour in community investment; encourage increased contributions & transparency; stimulate best practice sharing and create an environment of healthy philanthropic competition.
AFR Boss coverage
The Australian Financial Review partner with Strive Philanthropy and John McLeod from JBWere’s Philanthropic services to produce an annual review of Australia’s Top Corporate Givers. GivingLarge data is used as a primary source for the list and feature coverage. The methods used to develop the final AFR list differ to those used in our GivingLarge research, and so result in a marginally different list of top companies. The varied methods used in the Boss feature coverage allow for the inclusion of several privately owned organisations operating in Australia. Both lists are published within our report.
About Strive Philanthropy
Strive Philanthropy is a research organisation dedicated to highlighting the notable philanthropic efforts of corporate Australia within our community. By highlighting corporate generosity through focussed research and public awareness efforts we will help to drive valued social change, increased transparency and increased community contributions. Strive has its sights set on working with companies to rapidly grow their mean percentage community investment. A goal that could drive millions of dollars to the Australian community.