These findings are contained in the KPMG study, Unlocking the value of social investment, the latest edition of KPMG’s Sustainable Insight research series published.
This study reviewed corporate reports issued between 2012 and 2013 by the 10 largest global companies in each of 10 industry sectors. It found these 100 companies and their associated corporate foundations invested, on average, the equivalent of 2.5 percent of their pre-tax profits in programs to tackle social and environmental challenges such as access to education, healthcare and disaster relief.
However, only 20 percent of these companies reported any quantified metrics for the impact of the programs they fund and only 32 percent of companies reported a detailed investment strategy.
“Companies are investing huge amounts into social programs,” said Neil Morris, Partner, Climate Change and Sustainability of KPMG in South Africa, who led the KPMG study. “The US$12.2 billion invested by these 100 companies alone is equal to the entire annual foreign development aid budget of a country like France.
“Measuring the impact of these investments on the ground can be challenging, but it is crucial to understand how effective these programs are, how they can be improved and where the money is best spent to deliver the biggest benefits. A clear strategy for social investment is essential to this process.”
Unlocking the value of social investment is intended to help corporate responsibility managers and others involved in designing and delivering social investments to overcome some of the challenges to measuring and reporting on social programs.
This study contains practical advice, case studies and a framework for better measurement and reporting of social investments and programs.