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Chris Bell

The top five most charitable UK companies

Image of money jar with coins and charity sticker


How generous are UK businesses? Plenty of corporate charitable giving is happening right now, from big financial institutions and retail giants right down to your local Postie, or at least his or her boss, the Royal Mail. And of course there are others, including lotteries who are required to donate at least 20 percent of their revenue, to good causes.

But who are the really big hitters? The Directory of Social Change (DCS) publishes an annual Guide to UK Company Giving, that lists who donates the most. Its 2017 report found that the 5 most generous gave a combined total of almost £150 million to a variety of good causes. So, what are the top 5 most charitable UK companies?

Lloyds Banking Group PLC

The banking giant gave £64 million to charity in 2017 and has a Helping Britain Prosper Plan which supports UK communities in a range of ways. These include encouraging employees to volunteer some of their work hours, and funding its four independent foundations – for Scotland, England and Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands – which give grants to local charities supporting disadvantaged people during difficult life transitions.

Lloyds Banking Group has also partnered with Mental Health UK, which combines four national charities in the UK working to help people affected by mental health issues. Lloyds is working with the organisation to create an innovative mental health and money advice service to help people cope with mental health and financial problems.

ITV plc

Two hands hold rice in the from of a heart


ITV – which runs the UK’s biggest family of commercial TV channels – gave £24 million to charity in 2017, says the DCS. The broadcaster aims to donate 1.9 percent of pre-tax profits to charity each year, which equals the average corporate giving amount of FTSE 100 companies. The causes ITV supports are based around health and wellbeing, and include Soccer Aid and UNICEF. ITV also aims to get 10 percent of its workforce volunteering and raises awareness for charitable causes through its TV programmes and adverts.

Santander UK plc

As one of the UK’s leading banks, Santander donated £22 million to charities through its foundations and projects in 2017. The Santander Foundation awards Discovery Grants of up to £5,000 to UK-registered charities that support social change or help disadvantaged people develop life skills and knowledge. The bank also runs the Santander Universities scheme which provides cash for scholarships, grants and academic awards for 1,020 universities worldwide.

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc

Ecclesiastical is owned by the inter-denominational charity Allchurches Trust Limited (ATL) and is the UK’s top insurance company for charitable giving, donating £20.4 million over the year. ATL invests money directly into community programmes such as The Nelson Trust, a Gloucestershire-based charity that provides drug and alcohol rehabilitation, as well as a variety of women’s and family services.

The company also has a long-standing partnership with the UK children’s charity Coram and donates IT equipment to schools across Africa. In addition, Ecclesiastical is passionate about helping to protect Grade 1 and 2 listed buildings across the UK, and more than 40 percent of their employees volunteer over 3,500 work hours a year to charity.

HSBC Holdings plc

Man holding iPad makes a donation and two more people look on


HSBC donated £18.65 million to a range of charities and non-profit organisations across the world in 2017. The bank has partnerships with a variety of charities and often funds long-term programmes with causes like WWF, the Prince’s Trust and Cancer Research UK. HSBC also supports education opportunities for disadvantaged young people and has a programme to provide freshwater and sanitation for communities around the world.

HSBC also encourages thousands of its employees to volunteer their time. In 2016, the company says that its employees gave 255,000 hours to volunteering during work hours. To mark 150 years in business, HSBC pledged to donate $150 million to charities and community projects around the world over a three-year period.

The DSC report reveals other big givers to charity include Marks and Spencer Group plc (£15.5m), Goldman Sachs International (£14.3m), private equity foundation Impetus (£11.6m), John Lewis Partnership (£11.6m) and even Royal Mail plc (£10.4m).

You can see how the USA compares to the UK for charitable giving in this guide to the 20 most generous companies of the fortune 500.