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How are companies responding to the refugee crisis in Europe?

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is collecting company statements in response to the refugee crisis.

As of 16 October 2015, we have received statements from:

  1. Audi (part of Volkswagen)
  2. Aviva
  3. Bosch
  4. BMW
  5. Daimler
  6. Deutsche Telekom
  7. E.ON
  8. FC Bayern
  9. OMV
  10. SAP
  11. ThyssenKrupp
  12. Vodafone
  13. Volkswagen
  14. Unilever

Other companies, including H&M and Tesco have shared information about donations by their companies or company foundations in response to the crisis.

To share your company's statement on this page, 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.  Statements received through this call are also highlighted below from:

  1. Bayer & Bayer Foundations
  2. BBVA
  3. Cyber-Wear Heidelberg
  4. Evonik Industries
  5. GlaxoSmithKline
  6. MAN Group
  7. Nestlé
  8. Novartis
  9. Novo Nordisk
  10. RWE
  11. Sanofi
  12. Global Compact Network Brazil
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All components of this story

Company response
5 October 2015

Vodafone response

Author: Vodafone

As a company, Vodafone believes that diversity and freedom of individuals to move between countries strengthens societies and economies. However, European nations’ individual responses to the current refugee challenge are a matter for sovereign governments and their people...[W]e believe our company has a responsibility to utilise communication technologies to address some of the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges and to enhance people's quality of life. The Vodafone Foundation has worked with UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) since 2013 to improve education for young refugees living in long-term refugee camps in countries where Vodafone operates...Our operating companies and Foundations in Europe and adjacent markets are also responding to the refugee situation at a local level. 

Download the full document here

Company response
1 October 2015

Deutsche Telekom response

Author: Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Telekom supports the efforts of aid organizations and public authorities in providing shelter and supplies for refugees, as Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges underlined during a phone call with German Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maiziere. In order to provide aid as quickly and with as little red tape as possible, the company has set up an internal task force chaired by Chief Human Resources Officer, Christian P. Illek.

The aid efforts will be focused on the following areas:

  1. Helping provide refugee shelters with WiFi
  2. Helping the authorities find suitable buildings
  3. Assigning employees to help at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
  4. Supporting employees in their volunteer efforts for refugees
  5. Setting up a refugee portal containing information for refugees
  6. Providing intern positions for refugees...

Read the full post here

30 September 2015

Cyber-Wear pledge (re UNHCR/UN Global Compact call)

Author: Cyber-Wear

We are already supporting our community to help them to make it a welcome arrival and a good and healthy stay when they arrive here in Germany.
We help provide food, clothes and treatments where necessary.

The next steps are fare more difficult due to the fact that Refugees are not allowed to work and in Germany but we support local schools and teachers that they can provide German glasses and workshops for cultural and ethic topics.

We really hope that this can make a small difference and that we will see a better world in the future with all the help from everybody that can help it´s still an ambitious goal but one step by another can bring you very very far.

Company response
30 September 2015

Daimler response

Author: Daimler

Within the German industry there is great interest and willingness to integrate refugees in education and the working world. This happens already in some cases. Daimler some projects take place in the sites of Neu-Ulm, Untertürkheim, Sindelfingen and Bremen. There are also many ideas and opportunities, which we are currently exploring.

30 September 2015

Global Compact Network Brazil pledge (re UNHCR/UN Global Compact call)

Author: Global Compact Network Brazil

The Brazilian Network has been leading a pilot project with the following partners: UNHCR Brazil, UN Women Brazil, Emdoc and Foxtime. The partners already trained Foxtime staff about human rights and business, refugees and women vulnerability. Foxtime is a human resources company and they are willing to start to hiring refugees. The partners also committed to train Foxtime’s clients, that will soon begin to receive those refugees employees.
This project will also provide mentoring for 10 refugee women (which are the main vulnerable among refugees population in Brazil). Mentoring sessions will be about the following topics and are planned to happen in October:

  1. The labour market in Brazil: legislation and rights
  2. Culture and habits in the workplace in Brazil
  3. Legal Protection to Women
  4. Planning my career and professional orientation
  5. Women Entrepreneurship

Subsequently, the partners will follow up at least 8 women until they are financially independent.

30 September 2015

Sanofi pledge (re UNHCR/UN Global Compact call)

Author: Sanofi

The Sanofi Espoir Foundation, the Sanofi Group and its employees mobilize to support the refugees:

• A call for donations was launched on September 23 to ask Sanofi employees in France support the French Red Cross in providing medical aid for refugees. Employee donations will be matched by the Group.

• In addition, the Group has decided to allocate an exceptional EUR 500,000 donation to support solidarity initiatives in favor of the refugees both in France and outside of France.

Several other solidarity actions in favor of the migrants have taken place outside of France over the last months. For instance, the Sanofi Espoir Foundation has been providing financial aid to its partners on the ground in Iraq, Yemen and at the gates of Europe for an amount of 110 000€. Besides this, a number of affiliates, such as Hungary, Greece, UAE, Lebanon and Jordan have donated 2 million of medicines boxes to NGOs providing aid to these populations.

Company response
28 September 2015

BMW response

Author: BMW

The BMW Group is involved in various integration projects since several years. Due to the current developments, we want to bring a further package of measures on the way. This is a combination of language courses and assignments for career orientation and qualification.

Below you will get more detailed information about our plans for a possible employment of refugees in the BMW Group:

• The first component is the availability of highly qualified refugees to work over an orientation employment period with flanking language course at the BMW Group. This will be done in cooperation with the Federal Employment Agency, with which we have coordinated the process already. We begin the project with about 50 refugees the end of November in Munich
• From December, this project will be expanded to BMW plant sites Landshut, Dingolfing, Regensburg, Leipzig and Berlin and selected branches of the BMW Group.
• In addition, we explore how we can involve refugees in the company's introductory training program of the BMW Group in the short term and possibly also in the vocational training program.

Download full document

Company response
28 September 2015

Bosch response

Author: Bosch

The integration of refugees has become a national task these days. With mutual appreciation of cultural diversity everyone can contribute to social cooperation and community building.

Company response
28 September 2015

ThyssenKrupp response

Author: ThyssenKrupp

The fate of the people who are looking to escape from hunger, war and persecution protection with us, cannot leave us cold. ThyssenKrupp and its employees therefore engage in a variety of ways to help the refugees quickly and easily. We therefore set a clear sign of openness and tolerance.

26 September 2015

UN Global Compact & UN High Commissioner for Refugees call for company pledges in response to refugee crisis

Author: UN Global Compact & UN High Commissioner for Refugees

As the global refugee crisis is unfolding across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the UN Global Compact, in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and with the support of other UN entities, civil society and NGO organizations, are calling on companies, as well as other stakeholders, to take action to diminish the suffering of people forced to flee conflict and support solutions for the resulting widespread societal disruption.

According to UNHCR, 60 million people, including 19.5 million refugees, have been displaced by conflict and over 410,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and other countries so far this year. Understanding that the primary responsibility for peace rests with Governments, the urgency of the global refugee crisis is a challenge that requires support from all actors in society – including business.

Some companies are already taking action by providing much needed financial support to UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, as well as to other partners responding to the crisis. Yet, business leadership can extend far beyond financial donations. Companies with operations or supply chains in countries that are producing, transiting and receiving refugees are called upon to demonstrate leadership by taking action – as an individual company or in partnership with others. Companies should determine how best to support, based on their own assets and capabilities. The types of activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Core business. Addressing the refugee crisis through a company’s core business operations, including internal procedures, human resources hiring practices, training, sourcing policies, supply chains, as well as the development of products and services appropriate for refugees.
  • Social investment and philanthropy. Financial contributions, relief items and strategic social investment support for NGOs, UN and multilateral agencies or directly to affected communities and/or contributing functional expertise through volunteering efforts.
  • Advocacy and public policy engagement. Fostering social cohesion and inter-group dialogue and relationship-building in the workplace, marketplace and community.
  • Partnership and collective action. Joining forces with Governments, UN entities, civil society organizations and/or other businesses to act collectively find solutions to the refugee crisis and forge long-term partnerships for regional economic and sustainable development.

Share the actions that your company is already taking, or to share a new commitment to action to help respond to the refugee crisis.

Take Action in Response to the Refugee Crisis

Illustrative Examples to Inspire Action

View published pledges

Read the full post here