In recent years, the refugee crisis has expanded to unprecedented levels, with nearly 1 in 100 people worldwide displaced from their homes. Amidst a widespread perception of federal inaction, companies and NGOs have seen an increasing demand from consumers to step up and do their part to make a difference. In fact, more than two-thirds of consumers cited immigration as a top priority for companies to take the lead on.
On World Refugee Day, June 20, 2017, these companies showed a willingness to be at the forefront of much-needed change through unique efforts grounded in compassion:
- Ben & Jerry’s*: A leader in standing up for social justice issues, the ice cream maker teamed up with the International Rescue Committee to launch its ‘Together for Refugees’ campaign in the U.K. Through a short video bringing awareness to the issue, the campaign rallies consumers to write to their local representatives, asking them to support legislation to help refugees resettle safely in Europe.
- Airbnb: In early June, Airbnb launched its innovative Open Homes platform, designed to connect seven nonprofit organizations with available rooms for refugees, building on its 2016 #WithRefugees commitment. Through the platform, Airbnb users volunteer to host refugees, evacuees, and others in times of need, for free, helping the company meet its five-year goal to provide free short-term housing to 100,000 people.
- Starbucks: The coffee company originally announced in January it would commit to hiring 10,000 refugees at Starbucks locations around the globe by 2022. Expanding on this initial worldwide pledge, Starbucks confirmed an additional goal on World Refugee Day to hire 2,500 refugees within five years to work in its stores across Europe.
- IKEA: As part of its long-term plan to create employment for 200,000 disadvantaged people around the world, IKEA is partnering with the Jordan River Foundation to employ a mixture of Syrian refugees and Jordanians in the creation of woven products, including rugs, cushions and bedspreads, at its production centers in Jordan.
- Google, Microsoft and Trip Advisor: In cooperation with Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee, the three companies came together to develop a website and mobile app called Refugee.Info. The platform points refugees in Greece, Serbia and Macedonia to local medical and social services and other critical information.
In today’s uncertain political and social climate, safety feels hard to come by, especially to refugees without a home to call their own. But by building on the efforts of these leading organizations and aligning with passionate consumers around the globe, brands have an opportunity to be part of a international movement for safety and security.
By: Maggie Benoit, Associate Account Executive