Commentary: How Can Companies Support Refugees in Europe?
To date, only eight companies have submitted pledges to act in response to a call by the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Global Compact, primarily referring to donations as their key response to the crisis. Donations are very welcome, but they short-change the broader positive impact businesses can have on this issue. In the past weeks, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre reached out to 35 companies for statements in support of a more welcoming environment for refugees. 15 have shared their positions. Based on these statements and other relevant actions, a few clear paths emerge on how companies can go beyond one-time donations to support refugees:
1. Mobilising core business [examples from BMW, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, SAP, Total, Vodafone]
2. Calling for respectful societal and governmental action [examples from Aviva, SAP, Unilever, German & French industry associations]
3. Ensuring business does not support abuses through products, services & investments [examples from HESTA, Mutanox]
It is time for more companies to raise their voice in the refugee debate - as employers, investors, product and service providers, and above all, as powerful economic and societal actors. A more compassionate welcome for refugees is not only the right response to support, it also makes business sense.