Majority of corporate partners expect to increase investment in medium term, research shows

About two-thirds of companies involved in partnerships with charities expect the level of investment they put into those arrangements to increase over the next three years, according to a new report. 

Research conducted by the business consultancy C&E Advisory for its annual Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer report, which assesses the state of partnerships between companies and charities, shows that cross-sector partnerships are likely to become more important in the medium term. 

The second part of the report, which is based on input from more than 100 major corporate brands and NGOs through polling and qualitative discussions, has been published today.

The first part of the research, published last week, concluded that many charities had a “reactive and fragmented” approach to addressing environmental, social and governance issues. 

Today's report shows 65 per cent of corporates and 76 per cent of NGOs surveyed said they expected their organisation to increase or significantly increase their investment in terms of commitment, time or resources in cross-sector partnering over the next three years. 

The report says this is “a striking sentiment, given the headwinds presented by Covid-19 and other economic and political uncertainties”. 

The report has a special section devoted to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which shows that 80 per cent of the businesses surveyed said they would be more actively engaged in addressing environmental, social or governance issues because of the outbreak. 

No corporate respondents reported lower levels of engagement on these issues because of Covid-19. 

“Any fears that the pandemic and the resource-constrained times it has ushered in might lead to a down-grading of corporate or non-profit attention on ESG issues has not been borne out,” the report says. 

“Instead, the data reveals the opposite effect: the impact of the pandemic has been to make most companies and non-profits more actively engaged in addressing ESG issues.”

A second special section of the report focuses on the anti-racism protests that have taken place this year. 

This found that two-thirds of companies and 60 per cent of NGOs said they expected the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter movement would feature in their partnerships, including on policy, advocacy and in their programmes. 

Researchers found that 74 per cent of companies and 85 per cent of NGOs said they expected their organisations to make a strong response to the movement. 

Manny Amadi, chief executive of C&E Advisory, said: “The findings in the 2020 Corporate-NGO Partnerships Barometer indicate that companies appear to be passing the acid test, and are, with their non-profit partners, accelerating their engagement on ESG issues, which is highly encouraging.”

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