The average donation to charity by the largest companies in the UK nearly trebled between 2007 and 2012, according to research from the Charities Aid Foundation.
The report, Corporate Giving by the FTSE 100, found that the median amount donated by FTSE 100 companies increased from £1.1m to £3m in real terms over the six-year period – while pre-tax profits actually declined, from £473m in 2007 to £432m in 2012.
The companies almost doubled their combined donations to charity over the period, giving £2.5bn in 2012, a £1.2bn rise since 2007. At least 98 of the 100 companies reported making a charitable donation.
The study is based on data reported in the companies’ annual reports or corporate social responsibility reports.
CAF, which is calling for a more consistent way for companies to report and measure their giving, also reported that 22 companies – less than a quarter of the FTSE 100 – donated 1 per cent or more of their pre-tax profits to good causes. Twenty companies gave away less than 0.1 per cent of profits.
However, the median proportion of pre-tax profits being donated to charitable causes by the companies was 0.7 per cent in 2012, which was the highest level over the six years tracked.
The report found that the 10 biggest donors accounted for up to 75 per cent of all donations made by the FTSE 100 over the period.
Companies in the healthcare and basic materials sectors accounted for 59 per cent of giving by the companies, despite representing only 15 per cent of the FTSE 100. Consumer goods and consumer services sectors, meanwhile, constituted a third of companies, but only 11 per cent of total giving over the six-year period.
John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said in a statement: "The way businesses work with charities and their local communities is becoming increasingly important, especially as younger generations are influenced more and more by the way in which they operate. We now need all companies to be more transparent and vocal about the great work they’re already doing for charities across the country."