Laxer transparency rules have led to an estimated £111m per year of corporate giving no longer being reported, according to the Directory of Social Change.
Following reforms to the Companies Act in 2013, companies are no longer legally required to declare their charitable cash donations in their annual reports – and many major companies are choosing not to.
While the majority continue to report their donations voluntarily, DSC’s latest Guide to UK Company Giving shows 91 companies have stopped doing so since the regulations changed. Between them they gave £111m before the change in reporting rules.
The biggest donors now absent from the list are Goldman Sachs, Vodaphone and Shell, which previously gave £22m, £21m and £12m respectively.
Denise Lillya, DSC research manager, criticised these companies for not continuing to report their donations voluntarily.
She said: “The most disappointing thing about this appalling drop in transparency is that these companies are some of the most philanthropic and engaged.
“They have a track record of donating large amounts of money to good causes, and it is now impossible to tell whether they are giving more, giving less, or giving nothing at all.”
“The declaration of a company’s cash donations is a tangible and unambiguous indicator of its commitment to the community.
“Knowing what individual companies are doing helps individual charities to find support, and also helps us to understand what’s happening to corporate giving in a wider sense.”
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The report lists 400 companies which made community contributions in the UK, totalling over £420m.
The top ten companies are listed below:
- Lloyds Banking Group: £64m
- ITV PLC: £24m
- Santander UK plc: £22m
- Eccelsiastical Insurance Group plc: £20.4m
- HSBC Holdings plc: £18.65m
- Marks and Spencer Group plc: £15.5m
- Goldman Sachs International: £14.3m
- Impetus - the Private Equity Foundation: £11.6m
- John Lewis Partnership plc: £11.6m
- Royal Mail plc: £10.4
The overall figure is around £230m down on the amount reported in 2015, which showed the top 400 firms gave £658m.