Europe refugee crisis: Businesses take steps to offer support while others are accused of contributing to anti-refugee sentiment

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Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is collecting company statements that recognise the important contribution that migrants and refugees have made to the diversity and economies of Europe over many decades, and call on all European countries to take a compassionate approach to the current refugee crisis.


See here for company statements in support of refugees. To share your company's statement, please contact Eniko Horvath ([email protected]).


Companies are also invited to share their statements via UN Global Compact's & UNHCR's Business Action Pledge in response to the refugee crisis.

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2 November 2015

European pension funds begin to consider companies' treatment of refugees & asylum seekers in investment decisions

Author: Judith Evans, Financial Times (UK)

"Migrant crisis on pension funds’ radar", 1 Nov 2015

A successful campaign to persuade Australian pension funds to divest from a company accused of human rights abuses in migrant detention centres has brought the issue onto the radar of some of Europe’s largest investors...Hesta, one of Australia’s largest retirement savings funds for health and community services workers, sold its 3.5 per cent stake in Transfield after activists ran a campaign on Twitter, the microblogging site, and other social media under the hashtag #HestaDivest...UniSuper, which provides pensions for higher-education employees, also sold its stake last year...NGS Super, a pension scheme for private-school teachers, sold in August on “moral” grounds. Christian Super has excluded the stock from its investment options, while First State Super said it had sold as part of “our normal investment decision making processes”...Transfield, which was renamed Broadspectrum in September, says it operates with a “zero-harm mentality”. “The vast majority of our [shareholder] register remains supportive and has not changed,” the company adds...

This rare example of mass shareholder action over treatment of migrants in Australia has drawn attention in Europe, where an influx of refugees from Syria and other war zones has brought the question of how countries handle asylum seekers to the foreground...Michael Jantzi, chief executive of Sustainalytics...says his company began raising the issue of migrant detention with clients last year...One of Europe’s largest 20 asset managers by funds under management, which asked not to be named, says it excluded G4S, the London-listed security company, from its actively managed funds last year because of human rights concerns, relating in part to the migrant detention centres it runs...On that incident, G4S says: “Two investigations commissioned by the Australian government since the incident presented no finding or recommendation that G4S caused or contributed to any breach of human rights at the centre.”...[Also refers to ABP, Alliance Trust Investments, Geo Group, Serco, Mitie, Nordea Asset Management]

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8 February 2016

Chobani CEO calls on fellow business leaders to hire & integrate refugees into workforce

Author: Jake Horowitz, Mic (USA)

"Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya Has a Message on Refugees Every Business Needs to Hear", 5 Feb 2016

While finding political solutions to the Syrian refugee crisis remains an ongoing challenge, [Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya] believes the business sector can do more in the short-term to help address the crisis...In 2015, Ulukaya founded Tent, a foundation devoted to raising awareness on refugees. As a part of that effort, he launched two different initiatives: the Tent Pledge, asking companies to provide refugees with job training and employment opportunities, and the Tent Challenge, providing grants to entrepreneurs who can devise solutions to the crisis...Although the program is still in its infancy, Ulukaya says 12 companies have signed onto the pledge...Contrary to the threatening way refugees are often depicted in the media, Ulukaya said his own personal story, coupled with his experience hiring immigrants, has convinced him that the vast majority of refugees can be hardworking and productive members of society...In fact, Ulukaya says hiring immigrants has been positive for Chobani's business. "There are a lot of studies coming out that show that hiring refugees is not a burden in the long run," he told Mic. "It's an opportunity for the community."...Ulukaya emphasized that despite the challenges, he remains confident that doing more to hire and integrate refugees is important not only for humanitarian reasons, but also to fuel business' bottom line...

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