Supported by 94 percent of surveyed companies and accounted for an average of half of companies’ CSI spend of 50 percent in 2019, up from 44 percent in 2018, education continued to receive the most corporate support. FILE PHOTO: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)

CAPE TOWN  - Companies spent an estimated R10.2 billion on corporate social investment (CSI) in South Africa in 2019, a five percent increase from R9.7 billion last year in nominal terms, but largely flat when taking inflation into account, the 22nd edition of the annual Trialogue Business in Society handbook launched in Johannesburg on Wednesday shows.

The report says the top 100 companies accounted for 68 percent or R6.9 billion of total CSI expenditure. 

For the first time, the retail and wholesale sector accounted for the largest portion of CSI expenditure at 22 percent, probably due to the increasing value of product donations. Mining and quarrying - previously the largest sector - and financial services sectors were the second and third-largest contributors, respectively. 

Together, these three sectors accounted for 57 percent of CSI expenditure in 2019, down slightly from previous years. 

Fewer companies reported increased social spending this year, with 56 percent doing so compared to almost two-thirds in 2017 and 2018.

Education continued to receive the most corporate support, followed by social and community development and health.

The proportion of companies supporting disaster relief increased significantly from 28 percent in 2018 to 41 percent this year. However, only two percent of companies’ CSI funds were directed to the sector. Support for environmental causes rose from 30 percent to 38 percent of companies and from two percent of companies’ spending in 2018 to five percent this year.

The biggest recipients of social spending were non-profit organisations as well as government institutions including schools, universities, hospitals and clinics. 

Funding of, and average expenditure on, government departments decreased slightly to 18 percent and four percent respectively.

- African News Agency (ANA)