More than 100 leading international companies gave a total of £1.7bn to charitable activities round the world in 2012/13, according to an organisation that promotes corporate social responsibility.
The London Benchmarking Group, a network with more than 130 member companies that provides a model for measuring both the level of company support for the community and voluntary sector and the impact achieved, said 38 per cent of the total figure went towards corporate responsibility activities in the UK.
Members include a range of major employers across all sectors, such as British Airways, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Barclays, the BBC, Coca-Cola and GlaxoSmithKline.
The companies sign up to use the LBG standard to improve their management, measurement and reporting of their community investments.
LBG’s 2013 annual review, based on a survey completed by 109 companies, shows annual community contributions were worth a total of £1.7bn in 2012/13.
It estimates that 95 million people in more than 130 countries and 77,000 organisations benefited from the companies’ community programmes.
On average, the companies contributed 1.7 per cent of their pre-tax profits, which is equivalent to £428 per employee. This was up from 1.5 per cent in 2011, the review shows.
The most popular causes the companies contributed to were education and young people, which made up 26 per cent of the total spend, and health, which accounted for 24 per cent.
Pam Webb, chair of the LBG and head of the Zurich Community Trust, an LBG member, said: "Companies using the LBG model are making a big difference to their communities. By adopting a strategic approach, they build strong relationships with not-for-profit partners, encourage their employee engagement, build business value and achieve a long-term impact in the community."