Companies Step in to Help Refugee Crisis

In the last 10 years, the number of forcibly displaced people in the world has increased by more than 30 percent -- from 21 million in 2005 to 65.3 million in 2015. In 2015 alone, an estimated 1.8 million individuals became refugees. As the crisis continues to expand, it's all hands on deck as government, coalitions and nonprofits work toward solutions. Recently, we've seen more companies step in to offer desperately needed products, aid and assistance. Here's a roundup of companies involved in the space:

  • This month Google announced a partnership with the Clooney Foundation for Justice, providing a $1 million grant focused on education for refugee children in Lebanon. The grant will help expand the foundation's efforts "to develop a new school model, using digital tools, for up to 10,000 out-of-school children."
  • The UPS* Foundation has continued its work with its Relief Link program on the ground at refugee camps in partnership with UNHCR. Harnessing UPS' core competencies in solving tough logistical challenges, the effort utilizes a handheld scanning system to track the distribution of provisions, ensuring the process is as accurate and efficient as possible.
  • Last year, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg made a commitment to provide internet access at refugee camps, stating access to the web is an "enabler of human rights" and a "force for peace." According to Mashable, Facebook's effort will start out bringing Wi-Fi connectivity to 35 locations in Greece, "a first point of landing for many refugees," and expand to refugee camps in other places.
  • This month, Airbnb, a company known for finding individuals a home away from home, launched the #WithRefugees campaign. The company is asking individuals to stand with refugees by making a donation to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. For each donation made, Airbnb will provide a match up to $1 million.
  • LinkedIn has recently committed to expand its refugee recruiting program, Welcoming Talent. The program that started in Sweden, which has received more refugees per capita in Europe, was created to help refugees find employment opportunities that match their unique skill sets. The site allows employers to post job and internship opportunities for refugees at no cost just by using the hashtag #welcometalent in the job description. In addition to LinkedIn, a number of companies have made it a mission to recruit refugees, including Chipotle, Chobani, Starwood Hotels and Overstockart.

As the refugee crisis continues, it's clear the issue impacts not one region, but the entire globe. In fact, it is reported that one in every 113 people today is a refugee. As companies work to solve not only issues material to their business, but also those that are critical to the world at large, the refugee crisis presents a prime opportunity to lend dollars, products and business acumen to help address an increasingly difficult global situation.

*Cone client