The global refugee crisis is one of the defining challenges of our time. The number of refugees around the world is at an all-time high — over 25 million — and that number continues to grow. Governments, multilateral organizations, and NGOs cannot address this issue alone. A crisis of this size and magnitude warrants concerted action from the private sector. This is the founding belief of the Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent), a non-profit launched by Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder, Chairman, and CEO of the yogurt company Chobani.
Tent works closely with companies to help them identify and understand concrete opportunities to help refugees, with a particular focus on the middle- and low-income countries, like Turkey and Ethiopia, that host the vast majority — nearly 90% — of the world’s refugees. There are over 100 companies in the Tent Partnership today, including IKEA and CGF members Barilla , Johnson & Johnson and Unilever, supporting refugees across 34 countries.
Our approach focuses on identifying how companies can leverage their core competencies to support refugees. While financial contributions or in-kind donations can help with short-term humanitarian assistance, they tend to be less sustainable and have lower impact over time – and don’t address refugees’ long-term needs. It’s likely the case that half of the global refugee population will remain displaced for 20 years or more. Helping refugees to integrate into economies where they live is the greatest opportunity for businesses.
Companies can have the greatest impact by leveraging their core business to engage refugees as employees, producers, entrepreneurs, and customers — and ultimately, support and enable refugees to realize their economic potential and make meaningful contributions to their host communities. Doing so is not only good for refugees and host communities — it’s good for business. Consumers are increasingly aware of social issues and place a higher value on socially responsible businesses than ever before. By including refugees in their core business activities, companies can achieve social impact, gain reputational benefits, and build brand loyalty, while maintaining or enhancing their bottom line.
Businesses can support refugees in three key areas:
All of the actions described above are clear win-wins for refugees and businesses alike. Showing leadership on this issue is not only good for business — it will help solve the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetimes.
Tent is participating in The Consumer Goods Forum’s upcoming Sustainable Retail Summit to share our approach to working with businesses to harness collective action on the refugee crisis. We hope to connect with your company there – regardless of whether you are already making efforts to help refugees or are considering doing so.
Tent Partnership for Refugees