Simply giving cash is like throwing money away, when compared with the good a company can achieve by donating its expertise

Climbing Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu is hard work. Climbers are legally required to hire a guide. Not that it always helps: guides sometimes just abandon the tourists and climb with each other. And why wouldn’t they? There’ll be a fresh batch of tourists tomorrow who will be obliged to give them money.

When I went up the mountain, I was lucky: the guides supporting my group stuck with us, even on our incompetently slow descent. They even missed their village football match for us.

Why did they care? Probably because I was travelling with Intrepid Travel, a global “adventure tour” organiser that takes loads of groups to Borneo. Intrepid Travel has given generously to the guides’ village, supporting teaching programmes and providing learning resources. Clever: the villagers value their good relationship with Intrepid, and consequently the guides look after Intrepid’s clients assiduously.

Is Intrepid’s work in that village “charity” or is it “investing in the business”? It’s both. Great corporate philanthropy always is.

Last night, a banker saved my life

One of the best examples of corporate philanthropy is from Goldman Sachs, the investment bank. It’s probably the first heart-warming tale from the world of high finance you’ve heard for a while.

Globally, we lose...

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