Presenting the latest highlights and trends in corporate community investment across Australia and New Zealand.
Jo Ferrie - Manager Social Investment, Woodside Energy
We joined LBG in 2009 and applied the model retrospectively to our 2008 contributions data. The internal impact was almost immediate. What the data showed us was a disproportionate amount of our community investments were geared to one sector, but there had been no strategy or directive to make this sector a priority. By utilising the LBG methodology and being more disciplined in our analysis and the way we measured our contributions, we have ensured our investments are better aligned to our strategic objectives and those of the communities we support. This has given us confidence to know our funds are being allocated appropriately and achieving meaningful impacts. Growing on this confidence, the data helped to measure and report on our social investment contributions.
As a publically listed company, one of the greatest benefits of the LBG membership is its tie-in to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and the Global Reporting Index (GRI). The LBG reporting and verification process provides the exact data required by the DJSI and it also adds weight to our GRI reporting – it makes reporting and measurement much more efficient. I also value the collegiate thinking that comes with the LBG membership. We are able to benchmark against our peers and the networking and collaboration opportunities are truly invaluable.
Almost 95% of overall CCI budgets are set to remain the same or increase in 2016/17. Almost a quarter of respondents plan to increase the number of flagship partnerships while 60% are planning to make no changes.
The value of planned flagship partnerships varied from $8,000 to $2,000,000 with the average being just over $203,000. This is less than the average of $236,000 reported last year.
“Flagship programmes are the most effective way to achieve deep impacts and get known for your social investment activities. If you’re thinking about how your social investment activities are going to evolve, consider who your true priority audience is, and take the brave step to focus on them, as you design a flagship programme” said Nick Jackson, Corporate Citizenship.
More information on Corporate Citizenship insights into flagship programs can be found here: http://corporate-citizenship.com/our-insights/flagship-social-investment-programmes/
Almost 80% of respondents see impact measurement as important, very important or essential yet two thirds of respondents indicated they did not set aside budget for impact assessment despite its importance.
“This finding is disappointing and paradoxical but matches the findings of recent UK research published by Corporate Citizenship that revealed a gap between corporate aspirations and reality when it comes to CCI. It is only when truly understanding the difference a company’s resources make can the real value be realised” said Simon J Robinson LBG Director Australia and New Zealand.
The findings from the Corporate Citizenship report can be accessed here: http://corporate-citizenship.com/our-insights/hard-outcomes-hollow-promises-realising-true-impact-cci/
Only a quarter of respondents intend to publicly disclose CCI targets, either as a percentage of pre-tax profit, dollar value or output related data (including employment figures, people involved, volunteer hours or workplace giving participation). This is a reduction on the intent reported in 2015 however this is likely to be largely reflective of the fact that 2016 responses included non-LBG members where there is likely to be a lower rate of disclosure.
Duncan Paterson, CEO of Corporate Accountability Enhanced Responsibility (CAER) says "CAER analysis has demonstrated that LBG members have a higher rate of disclosure in this area than the general market. Ultimately companies will benefit from increased transparency – as the investment community pays more attention to environmental, social and governance issues, these sorts of questions will be asked with increasing frequency."
Of the respondents 65% are not influenced by government policy or agenda though many indicated they work to align activities when and where it is relevant to do so. Key issues include reconciliation action plans, employment, health and climate change.
Many respondents cited how they would like to work more closely with government but noted that it can be challenging. “We want to invest in the areas where we are perceived to be (and may actually be) causing harm, but it is difficult to do so in an environment of blaming and shaming” one survey participant stated.
Simon J Robinson, LBG Director Australia and New Zealand said, “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), now offer a real opportunity for all sectors to align their activities to make a real difference in the world. Only with all three sectors working together will we tackle the major challenges like poverty and climate change.”
Alice Cope, Executive Director Manager, Global Compact Network Australia, added “The SDGs really are a blueprint for business opportunity, representing serious challenges in need of solutions that in many cases the private sector can deliver. We have been delighted to see a number of leading Australian companies move early to embrace the SDGs and align sustainability strategies with the agenda. The next step is to drive this through the broader business community. To do this, we need to translate the SDGs into local operating contexts, make links to core business opportunities, support coalition and partnership building, and encourage innovation. In that way, we will be able to unlock the full potential of the private sector’s contribution to the SDGs and scale impact.”
Further information on the SDGs can be found here: http://corporate-citizenship.com/our-insights/advancing-sustainable-development-goals-business-action-millennials-views/
Workplace giving continues to be a key part of company’s CCI activities. 12% of respondents plan to start a workplace giving program in 2017 and 45% plan to continue their programs as they are. 41% want to increase the number of employees giving, although last year this figure was 60%, so there’s been a drop in companies’ intent in this area. Recent figures released from the ATO for the 2014/15 year show an increase in workplace giving donations by 34% over the previous year. This follows on from a 13% increase in 2013/14.
Lisa Grinham, CEO of Good2Give says, “Donation levels are increasing which is most definitely linked to giving being made easier using technology. 10% of employees now make workplace giving donations on their mobile. Companies who are offer employees our online interface have double the donor participation rates than those who do not. It’s pretty simple really – people want to give online - in a survey we conducted of 1000 of our workplace giving donors, 94 per cent said they want giving to be easy and that workplace giving is quick and easy.
Company matching employee donations is also a key driver to giving more. With 75% of companies now matching employee donations, the average donation when a company matches is $49 versus $31 when there is no matching. We’re also seeing an uplift in companies running workplace giving one-off appeals which is growing participation rates as this has not traditionally been a cornerstone of workplace giving programs – however it’s now so easy using technology.
Sharing experiences of those with successful programs, improving data on best practice, and ensuring uptake of leading benchmarking tools is the matrix needed for companies to realise the benefits of workplace giving in their company and starting reaching their targets.
It is an exciting time going forward, and wonderful to be working in partnership with LBG ANZ. Together we provide effective and transparent community investment and measurement outcome opportunities for companies.”
Over 12% of respondents plan to start a volunteering program in 2016/17 and 44% will seek to increase participation levels with 30% keen to focus more on skilled volunteering. Contributions from companies made through volunteering continues to be a significant opportunity for companies to grow their positive impact on society whilst accruing significant business benefits. 13% of employees within LBG members volunteered in 2015 leaving plenty of room to increase participation levels. Connecting volunteering to employee development remains an underutilised opportunity.
“Over the past 12 months, GoodCompany has seen a 143% growth in corporate volunteering. Bespoke unified workplace giving and volunteering platforms, as well as innovations such as volunteer alerts and volunteer vouchers, are the secret to driving engagement and participation in both skilled and team volunteering,” said Ash Rosshandler CEO GoodCompany.
Of the respondents 86% indicated that Government cuts to foreign aid have not impacted on their community investment strategies. However, a number cited that cuts were negatively impacting their community partners.
“Cuts are not impacting our strategy but we have seem impacts on our community partners in the delivery of their programs” one survey participant indicated.
International humanitarian aid organisation CARE Australia’s Acting Chief Executive Robert Yallop said the Australian Government’s decision to proceed with a $224 million cut to this year’s aid budget was deeply disappointing.
“This year’s aid cuts will impact CARE Australia’s ability to execute our important programs around the world that bring lasting changes to women and girls and their communities. The Government’s refusal to reverse the final scheduled cut to the aid budget means Australia will become the least generous we've ever been with the lowest ratio of aid to the size of our economy ever. It is those most vulnerable who will bear the consequences of this decision. With record numbers of people forced from their homes through conflict and climate change, Australia should be doing a lot more.”
Respondents were split with just under 50% indicating that their Board’s had direct responsibility for their community investments. We saw a shift in 2016 regarding the internal company responsibility. 68% of respondents reported that corporate community investment sits within corporate affairs departments, 17% in marketing/brand, 12% in human resources and the remainder in risk/compliance departments.
Wayne Burns, Director at the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs commented, “This data from LBG and its members concurs with research internationally that places governance of a corporation’s corporate community involvement and investment at the centre of organisational strategy. It aligns also with the Centre’s State of Public Affairs research and international research that places management of CCI in the function that is responsible for social political strategy and implementing it – corporate public affairs. Integrating management of CCI with stewardship of other critical stakeholder relationships – employees, governments, regulators, civil society – is smart management and smart business.”
Respondents were asked to share what they saw as their key challenges for CCI in 2016/17. A number of themes emerged around leadership, communication, impact, innovation and the business case which are encapsulated by the following comments from respondents:
“Continuing to demonstrate the value of community investment to the Board and the benefits for our organisation and members.”
“Finding other ways to make a genuine impact to community development issues other than purely financial.”
“Employees and the public hearing the story of our investment.”
“Introducing new, innovative concepts into our CI offering.”
“Measuring and quantifying impacts to show ROI.”
Respondents indicated that impact measurement (65%) and telling their story of CCI investment (53%) were the areas they would most likely need help with in 2016/17.
LBG is a global network of companies who apply LBG's measurement framework to enable them to measure and report their contribution to the community.
Contribution as a % of
Contribution as a % of
*Please note totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
^yearly average conversion rates have been used to convert dollar figures to AUD