Global companies demonstrate commitment to include refugees in post-Covid recovery by joining the Tent Partnership for Refugees
- 28 companies, including Virgin Management, Bloomberg, BNP Paribas, Wayfair, and Woolworths Group, have joined the Tent Partnership for Refugees in show of support for integrating refugees in their new host communities
- Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, former CEO of Unilever Paul Polman, EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson, and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez took part in a virtual event marking the announcement, hosted by Chobani CEO and founder of Tent Hamdi Ulukaya
October 6 2020 – Today, 28 companies including Virgin Management, Bloomberg, BNP Paribas, Wayfair, and Woolworths Group, demonstrated their commitment to integrating refugees as the world responds to the Covid-19 pandemic, by joining the Tent Partnership for Refugees. Founded by Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, Tent is a network of over 130 major businesses committed to improving the livelihoods of refugees around the world, by integrating them in their core business operations.
Many of the companies joining Tent today have already taken steps to include refugees, and are exploring ways to do even more. Virgin Megastore for example, is supporting refugee entrepreneurs by selling refugee-made products in some of its stores. Woolworths Group, one of Australia and New Zealand’s leading retail groups, is the first Australian company to join the Tent Partnership, having already hired 150 refugees in its supermarkets. BNP Paribas, the largest bank in Europe, is also hiring refugees on the continent with plans to scale up these efforts. In addition, the company is adapting its financial products to make them more accessible to refugees, and partnering with social businesses to help refugees become more employable.
These three companies are joined by major businesses in North America, South America, and Europe, in sectors such as retail, engineering, and financial services. They include the following (in brackets, we have included sector and country of headquarters): the Adecco Group (human resources, Switzerland); Arup (engineering & design, U.K.); Bloomberg (financial services & media; U.S.); BNP Paribas (financial services, France); Brightview (landscaping, U.S.); CIBC (financial services, Canada); Cisneros (media & real estate; U.S.); Day & Ross (transportation & logistics, Canada); Doordash (delivery, U.S.); Dugotex (apparel, Colombia); FEMSA (beverage & retail, Mexico); FIEGE (logistics, Germany); FrieslandCampina (dairy; the Netherlands); Gegenbauer (facilities management, Germany); Grant Thornton (professional services, U.K.); Jones Day (legal, U.S.); Keolis (transportation, France); Orbia (various, Mexico); Rosetta Stone (education technology, U.S.); Salamanca Alimentos (food services, Colombia); Sforza Holdings (investment; Brazil); STEF (transportation & logistics, France); TenneT (energy, the Netherlands); Travers Smith (legal, U.K.); Telus (telecoms, Canada); Virgin Management (various, U.K.); and Wayfair (e-commerce, U.S.).
Hamdi Ulukaya said: “It’s encouraging to see so many companies stepping forward at a time of crisis to show that refugees are needed on the road to rebuild our businesses and strengthen our communities. When given the chance, refugees will make our companies stronger and better. But it’s up to us to open the door and provide the opportunity.”
The announcement was made during a virtual event hosted by Mr. Ulukaya and moderated by TV presenter, leading diversity expert and award-winning author, June Sarpong. It featured the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan; Imagine CEO and former CEO of Unilever Paul Polman; EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson; Executive Chairman of Empath and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez; UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Kelly Clements; former French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem; and global leads for diversity and inclusion at L’Oreal, Sodexo, and Barilla.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Everyone deserves the right to live in peace and safety and I am encouraged to see so many organizations committing to supporting refugees through the Tent Partnership for Refugees. The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the importance of uniting towards a common goal and I am confident that by working together, across nations, we can help ensure dignity and security for all refugees.”
Paul Polman said: “Covid-19 has shown that businesses, more than ever, must keep social impact front of mind – those companies that act responsibly now, will be the ones that succeed in years to come. As we start to rebuild, companies have a responsibility to help refugees integrate in their communities, as well as create the conditions to help them live a dignified life where they can support themselves and their families.”
Carlos Gutierrez said: “As a refugee from Cuba who came to the U.S. as a child, I have achieved personal and professional success beyond anything I could have imagined. I believe that the private sector can have a transformational and uplifting impact on communities and whole societies – and businesses will stand a lot to gain if they open their doors to refugees.”
Antoine Sire, Director of Company Engagement at BNP Paribas, said: “At BNP Paribas, we are already recruiting refugees in our operations, and have had a really positive experience. We’re thrilled to be joining the Tent Partnership today, to share our experiences and learnings of supporting refugees, and encourage more companies to include refugees as we emerge from this crisis.”
For more information about the companies joining Tent today and their existing projects to support refugees, visit www.tent.org/members.
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About the Tent Partnership for Refugees
With more and more refugees displaced for longer periods of time, businesses have a critical role to play in helping refugees integrate economically in their new host communities. The Tent Partnership for Refugees mobilizes the global business community to improve the lives and livelihoods of 30 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. Founded by Chobani’s founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in 2016, we are a network of over 130 major companies committed to including refugees. Tent believes that companies can most sustainably support refugees by leveraging their core business operations – by engaging refugees as potential employees, entrepreneurs and consumers. The full list of Tent members can be found here. Find out more at www.tent.org.