Community impact: How co-ops are giving back 12% to communities

On average, co-operative employees spend 99 minutes each year helping their communities through voluntary projects

Almost 12% of a co-operative’s profit is given back to communities, according to this year’s Community Impact Index.

The Index, compiled by Co-op News, shows that in the 2016-17 financial year, some of the UK’s top retail co-ops gave over £5.7m to communities, or 11.86% of profits (£48.4m).

This is in comparison to its retail rivals, who reported the equivalent of 5.9% of its profits being given to communities.

During the same financial period, Asda, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco reported a collective community investment of £165.2m, on a profit of £2.8bn.

Looking at turnover, co-ops gave 0.18% of revenue (£3.2bn), while the retail movement’s competitors donated 0.14% (£115bn). In real monetary terms, the privately owned retailers need to give an extra £47.2m to match the 0.18% of revenue distribution from the co-op sector.

The co-op figures have slightly risen on last year’s result of 10.81%, while the amount donated by competitors has also increased from 4.56%.

This year’s report has been impacted by the omission of the Co-op Group, which has not been included because it reported a loss in the last financial year and the Index has historically focused on the percentage of profits given to communities.

Despite this, the Co-op Group invested over £12.57m in communities. Of this, £6.9m was donated to charities, with the rest being handed back to good causes through cash, support for co-ops, volunteer hours and gifts in kind. It also reported that it has taken over £9m for its community fund, but this will be distributed in 2017.

A breakdown of the total amount donated by co-ops (£5.7m), shows it was distributed in the following ways:

• Community groups – £3.45m (60.12%)

• Charity fundraising – £1m (17.59%)

• Co-operative support – £661,084 (11.52%)

• Volunteer hours – £617,711 (10.76%)

The Index also reveals that, on average, co-operative employees spend 99 minutes each year helping their communities through voluntary projects. And all co-ops reported how they help other co-ops through financial support.

Click here to view the full Community Impact Index for 2017

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