By Marcus Leach

Boots UK, E.ON UK and Lloyds Banking Group plc have become 2011’s first CommunityMark achievers.

In order to qualify for these three companies collaboratively have engaged on average 15% of their employees, donated £2,710,343 of employee time and invested £92,386,120 in their communities.

Further to that they have supported 5,437,420 school children across 26,912 schools with their programmes.

The CommunityMark is a national standard of excellence in community investment, which was first launched in 2008 and endorsed by HRH The Prince of Wales. In three years, 41 organisations of all sizes across a variety of sectors have become exemplars of community investment.

Collectively, the new achievers have invested an astounding £92 million in their communities over the past year through corporate giving and fundraising, pro bono and employee volunteering time, in-kind support and commercial initiatives.

What’s more they each demonstrated real leadership in identifying and addressing social issues that are most relevant to their business and most pressing to the communities they live in and work with. Be it social banking and financial capability mentoring at Lloyds Banking Group, Boots UK’s work with Macmillan Cancer Support and E.ON UK’s Caring Energy commitment to help vulnerable customers and those in fuel poverty.

They each invest a considerable amount of time, funds and efforts into transforming their local communities through local projects as well as supporting larger charities of choice.

“I welcome the opportunity to recognise businesses that are identifying the social needs of a community and supporting those most at risk," Stephen Howard, Chief Executive of Business in the Community said.

"Not only does this improve the communities in which they operate but also the lives of individuals within those communities. More importantly they are sowing the seeds for our future workforce and for their own growth.

“These three organisations have proved that continuing to work in partnership with local communities and national organisations reinforces the fact that excellence in community investment not only has a positive and valuable impact on society, but translates to real business benefits.

"By focussing on social issues such as healthcare, financial capability and supporting vulnerable customers they are helping to improve their local communities to ensure that there are people to support the local economy and business”.