United tops the Co-op giving list

UNITED Co-operatives has been recognised as one of the biggest givers to the community. According to a Business in the Community survey, the Rochdale-based society donated 6.7 per...

UNITED Co-operatives has been recognised as one of the biggest givers to the community.
According to a Business in the Community survey, the Rochdale-based society donated 6.7 per cent (&#163 2.4 million) of its pre-tax profits to good causes during 2003/4.
Donating the cash equivalent to one per cent or more of pre-tax profits has qualified the society membership to the PerCent Club ? run by BiTC and published by The Guardian.
This year there are 116 businesses in the club, up from 103 last year, which recognises firms that play a vital role in communities they serve. Other co-operatives on the list include the Co-operative Group; Lincolnshire Co-operative; and Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester.
Michael Fairclough, Community Development Manager at United Co-ops, commented: "We passionately believe that our claim to be ?Your Community Retailer&#039 must have a concrete foundation. Here is the evidence that through the Co-operative Charitable Foundation, established in 2000, and in many other ways, United is making a difference throughout its trading area.
"The money we give to support communities in our area is part of our stakeholder strategy which also encompasses our members and staff and, of course, the figure quoted in The Guardian takes no account of the support our board has given to reinforce our final salary pension schemes or the money allocated to the annual share payouts to staff.
"It is a sad fact that many British companies give little help to the communities from which they gain their prosperity. It is splendid to see national recognition for the part which co-operative organisations are playing in pointing the way forward," he concluded.
United Co-ops was closely followed in the league by Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op which donated 6.3 per cent (&#163 420,678) of profits.
Peter Couchman, Group General Manager (membership and corporate marketing) for OSG, said: "We are very pleased to be profiled again in this national report, which shows that in relation to the other 115 companies listed, our return at 6.3 per cent, represents quite a high level of community support."
In percentage terms Lincolnshire Co-operative was the third biggest giver in the retail Movement, handing out 2.8 per cent (&#163 369,000) to causes in its trading area.
In monetary terms, the Co-operative Group&#039s family of businesses handed out a total of over &#163 13 million throughout the year. The Co-operative Bank donated 2.2 per cent of its pre-tax profits, which totalled nearly &#163 3 million.
The Co-operative Insurance Society boosted the community with donations worth over &#163 1.8 million (three per cent of pre-tax profits). The retail side of the business handed out over &#163 8 million to good causes ? 2.5 per cent of profits.
In contrast Tesco (&#163 17.2 million), Sainsbury&#039s (&#163 6.1 million) and Marks and Spencer (&#163 7.2 million) all donated one per cent of pre-tax profits. The John Lewis Partnership, which is run along mutual lines, donated 2.4 per cent (&#163 4.2 million) to the community.
The second biggest giver out of the 116 businesses was the mutual Scott Bader. A polyester manufacturer and a member of Co-operatives UK, the society shared &#163 217,048 with the community, equivalent to 26.1 per cent of pre-tax profits.
Chancellor Gordon Brown, and patron of the mutual think-tank Mutuo, said: "The PerCent Club is an excellent example of how socially responsible companies can both improve their competitive edge and contribute to the communities in which they operate, helping create a good economy and a good society."

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