Australia’s most generous corporate donors have been named in the inaugural GivingLarge report, with Wesfarmers and CSL receiving top billing.
The report by Melbourne-based research group Strive Philanthropy provides analysis of community investments made by Australia’s largest ASX-listed companies.
It found 39 companies had invested $867 million in the 2016-17 financial year.
That put them well ahead of other companies, with Woolworths being next best with a contribution of 1.3 per cent of pre-tax profit.
When corporate donations were ranked by per cent of underlying earnings (Ebitda), these positions were reversed.
Wesfarmers, the conglomerate behind Coles, Bunnings, Kmart and Target, donated $73 million to community groups in the 2016-17 financial year, according to its annual sustainability report.
Wesfarmers primarily contributed in the areas of medical research, Indigenous programs, education initiatives and arts programs.
CSL donated $52 million, with the money going to biomedical research, medical education and support groups, and emergency relief.
Further findings from the report show that the top nine companies contributed 74 per cent of the $867 million.
Strive Philanthropy founder Jarrod Miles said he hoped the yearly report would stimulate an environment of healthy philanthropic competition.
“From the boardroom to the battler, from the suits to the streets - there is a clear and growing need and responsibility for the companies around us to give back to the communities they operate in,” he said.
“Distinct from other corporate social rankings, the GivingLarge Report examines publicly available reports to ensure a robust sample not restricted by the need for a membership or survey completion.
"This approach creates a best practice environment that looks to not only increase corporate contributions, but also the public disclosure of those contributions.
“Australia’s interest in corporate generosity is certainly on the rise, and if we are smart about it, our growing interest in this area may just help to drive up total giving to those who need it.”