Giving Report 2019 reveals most charitable companies in Australia
Australian corporates are becoming more generous with the new GivingLarge Report revealing investment in community causes has jumped by 11 per cent.
A comprehensive financial analysis of Australia’s top companies found $945 million was invested into philanthropic efforts in 2018 from top 50 givers – up $90 million from 2017.
Now in its second year, the GivingLarge Report shines a light on Australia’s most generous corporations. It ranks organisations by their percentage contributions of profits or earnings.
In 2018, Wesfarmers was again the largest giver when it came to contributions from pre-tax profits. The retail giant, which owns Kmart, Target and Bunnings, donated $87 million in 2018, when it also owned Coles, since demerged onto a separate company. This represents 2.5 per cent of the company’s 2018 profit.
Wesfarmers also topped the list in 2017, their community contributions going towards causes like medical research and wellbeing, education initiatives and community initiatives.
On the rebound from last year’s Royal Commission, it turns out the big four banks reached deeper into their pockets contributing an additional 28 per cent or $39 million in 2018.
Report author and Strive Philanthropy Founder Jarrod Miles said the generosity of Australia’s leading companies was encouraging.
“Driving social change is an increasing priority for big business across Australia,” he said. “Not only are consumers demanding more support to make communities more equitable, safe and healthy, but businesses are also discovering philanthropy and profit can go hand-in-hand.”
Miles added that perhaps the most notable insight from this research, is corporate Australia’s under performance in percentage contribution of earnings or profit. The average 0.6% batting well below global averages and the commonly encouraged benchmark of 1%. This signifies a remarkable opportunity for this group of companies with the potential to shift an additional $600M of funds to the community if these companies can all commit to this reasonable target.
“With results like these we hope the GivingLarge Report encourages increased contributions, transparency and overall stimulates an environment of healthy philanthropic competition,” he said.
Across Australia’s business sectors, the GivingLarge Report shows Medibank Private leads the finance sector and Rio Tinto tops the materials sector. Other sector leaders include Telstra in telecommunications, Stockland in real estate and Wesfarmers in consumer goods.
“Wesfarmers has always believed that a strong business environment is underpinned by a cohesive and inclusive community environment,” said Naomi Flutter, Wesfarmers executive general manager of corporate affairs.
“Investing in strong communities through community partnerships is just one of the many ways we contribute to our communities,” she said.
Wesfarmers has committed $11 million dollars over 8 years to establish and provide core support for the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases (WCVID) based at the Telethon Kids Institute.
“We know that infectious diseases continue to be most common reason for hospitalisation of young children in Western Australia and the number one cause of death in children worldwide,” Flutter said,
Because of this contribution, Flutter said that the WCVID has quickly become a national leader and global centre of children’s paediatric infectious diseases research.
Corporate funds are also crucial to not-for-profit organisations such as Foodbank, which receives donations from the QBE Foundation, the charitable arm of QBE Insurance.
Brianna Casey, Foodbank chief executive, said the charity sourced 42.8 million kilograms of food and groceries in 2018 to provide the equivalent of 77 million meals to hungry Australians.
“These efforts not only reduced waste and supported the nutritional and physical health of disadvantaged Australians, they contributed to improvements in wellbeing, sense of self-worth, social relationships, academic achievements and standard of living,” she said. “The generous support of organisations like QBE help make the work of Foodbank and our partners possible, making a positive difference to the lives of thousands of Australians in need.”
QBE was rated as one of the biggest movers in the latest research with significant increases in total contributions in 2018.
“We’re proud to share that this investment has contributed to social, environmental and economic value creation, yielding long-term benefits for individuals and communities across the globe” said Vivek Bhatia, CEO, Australia Pacific, QBE Insurance.