25/11/2013 - 15:49

Wesfarmers lifts social offering

25/11/2013 - 15:49

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The state’s biggest employer last year increased its direct contribution to community causes by a growth factor well above those for its revenue and profit returns.

The state’s biggest employer last year increased its direct contribution to community causes by a growth factor well above those for its revenue and profit returns.

During the past financial year, Wesfarmers spent $51.2 million on direct community partnerships or contributions, a 61 per cent increase on the $31.8 million donated over the 2012 financial year.

Indirect contributions amounted to $94.9 million.

The commitments were made despite Wesfarmers’ profit growth falling to 6.3 per cent for the 12 months to the end of June 2013, from 11 per cent for the previous corresponding period.

Wesfarmers made $2.3 billion profit in the past financial year compared with $2.1 billion a year earlier.

It came from revenue just less than of $60 billion for 2013 – an increase of 3 per cent on 2012.

The company said the rise in community funding was largely due to increased contributions to SecondBite, a new partnership with kids/youth cancer support group Redkite, and the establishment of the Wesfarmers Chair of Australian History at the University of Western Australia.

Earlier this year, Wesfarmers announced it was committing $5 million to UWA to fund the establishment of the Professorial Chair, which is the first of its kind in WA and the first such position to be fully privately funded.

Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder said the company was motivated to commit the funding to further research and preservation of both Australian and WA history.

“The rigorous study of history is valuable in itself but it also provides an enormously important perspective to current economic, social and environmental debates,” Mr Goyder said at the time.

The funding to UWA accounted for the majority of Wesfarmers’ contributions to education and young people, which totalled $7.7 million for the financial year.

The biggest winners from the company’s philanthropic commitments were causes dedicated to improving social welfare, which received combined funding of $22 million.

Health received the second highest amount with funding of $12.8 million, or one quarter of the total Wesfarmers contributed to community causes.

Out of all Wesfarmers’ businesses, Coles was the biggest contributor, accounting for 64 per cent of the group total ($33.2 million).

It’s a significant increase on the amount the Coles business donated in the 2012 financial year, when direct contributions were just more than $19 million. In 2009, Coles’ community contribution was $12.3 million.

The increase is partly explained by the supermarket giant’s increased involvement in the SecondBite program, which aims to rescue and recycle surplus fresh food and providing it to Australians in need. 

The Wesfarmers corporate division was the next highest contributor, providing donations totalling $10.44 million for the year, which included sponsorship of youth cancer organisation Redkite’s music therapy program.

Bunnings came in third on the list with its contribution of $3.9 million for the year.

Kmart was the only other Wesfarmers business to contribute more than $1 million over the year – it gave $1.34 million directly to community causes.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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