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School of Geography

Mapping corporate philanthropy and community engagement in east London


In the years since the controversial project to build Canary Wharf, many of the country’s leading multinational corporations (MNCs) have put down roots and made strong relationships with the local community. New research highlights the extent and depth of corporate-community relationships that have since developed in east London. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is now firmly entrenched in the functioning of MNCs and they are making important investments in their local area. Although there are clear benefits for MNCs in such engagement and there are some dangers in ensuring the sustainability of activities, there is evidence to show that CSR has the potential to make an appreciable difference to the lives of communities in east London.

The research sought to analyse the evolving relationships between corporations based at Canary Wharf and east London communities over the past 20 years through a focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The data was based on interviews and a small survey with representatives from companies, mediating brokering institutions and community organisations and schools.

The report can be found here:

Mapping corporate philanthropy [PDF 2,980KB] [PDF 2.91 MB]

Principal Investigator Professor Cathy McIlwaine says:
'We were really encouraged by the fact that so many companies in Canary Wharf were working with local community groups and schools in east London and taking such a keen interest in the welfare of those on their doorstep. We found that CSR is being taken extremely seriously by MNCs; it is now about how to do it well rather than whether to do it at all. Although there are some dangers in relation to the sustainability of these activities, they provide welcome support for a wide range of organisations and groups, especially in the current climate.'

Further information about the study is available here.



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