Pharoah & Walker: The Values of Corporate Giving

ABSTRACT:

People and governments are increasingly looking to the corporate sector to go well beyond the profits bottom line. Companies are expected to make both business and wider social impact, and, if they choose to get involved, can make a huge difference to local and global communities. Leading companies increasingly regard the dimensions of responsible business in a holistic and integrated way across their whole corporate value chain and external environment. In a speech to Business in the Community in February 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron claimed that ‘Business is the most powerful force for social progress the world has ever known’. In terms of means and power he is correct. Today some of the larger multinationals have a balance sheet larger than the economy of some countries. It has been claimed that 25 US ‘mega corporations’ have revenues which surpass the Gross Domestic Product of entire countries, not always small countries. (Trivett, 2011) However, there is also a growing school of thought which claims that the balance of power will increasingly be influenced by companies’ multiple stakeholders beyond the company boundaries, in individual consumers, communities and wider society. With growing global concern about the wealth gap and the challenges of the environment, we increasingly need to understand what motivates companies to engage in corporate community investment (CCI) or social responsibility, and develop responsible business, and what influences their involvement. Are they experienced as a net cost or benefit to the company? Are they driven by altruism or self-interest? Is there anything special about companies which get involved in them? Are there crucial success factors for prompting companies to give? Is our understanding of social responsibility changing, and are common values across businesses and communities an increasingly important influence? For the voluntary and community sector, key issues are how companies get information, how they identify their roles in investing in healthy voluntary organisations and communities and what are the key trends in corporate giving? This report aims to provide an up-to-date picture of corporate giving in the UK. It is in two parts. The first provides a brief overview of the main themes and findings of existing research on factors related to corporate giving and social and business responsibility, and explores the idea of value through some corporate examples. The second part provides an update of key statistics on company giving.

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