The global refugee crisis has reached a point where it is no longer an option for large companies not to reach out in support of displaced people. The socially responsible behavior of major employers is under greater scrutiny than ever before, and companies need to demonstrate their commitment to retain the trust of their employees, customers and investors.
About 50 big employers, which were a part of the “Partnership for Refugees,” an Obama administration initiative to expand work opportunity and resources for refugees, have now decided to continue with their plans without the government’s help. Member companies, including Microsoft, Accenture, HP and Airbnb, are reaffirming promises to recruit, hire and help refugees.
The group’s endeavor to address the displacement of millions of people due to political conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere acquired greater urgency following the US President’s recent executive order barring new refugees from entering the US for 120 days. Top corporate executives have criticized the immigration ban, saying it goes against their values and hurts competitiveness.
Some of the group’s representatives recently met at a Microsoft office in New York to discuss updates on US government policy and the status of employment, education and financial initiatives. The meeting was convened by the Tent Foundation, the personal foundation of Chobani Inc. Chief Executive Hamdi Ulukaya, himself a Turkish immigrant who employs hundreds of refugees. TripAdvisor, which has earmarked $5 million in the next three years to aid refugees, also participated in the meeting.
Since the executive order was signed, more firms have pledged additional aid for refugees. Starbucks promised to hire 10,000 refugees in 75 countries over the next five years. Airbnb has disclosed plans to provide short-term housing for 100,000 refugees and other displaced users of the online platform globally in the next four years, and promised $4 million to resettlement agencies in the coming years.