To mark World Refugee Day earlier this month, the Tent Partnership for Refugees—which mobilizes the global business community to improve the lives and livelihoods of more than 36 million refugees who have been forcibly displaced from their home countries—announced that more than 100 major companies have joined its Coalition for Refugees in the U.S. to help create economic opportunity for forcibly displaced people as they start their new lives in America.
As part of this growing Coalition launched in the wake of the evacuation of Kabul, some of America’s biggest companies have pledged to explore how to reduce barriers for refugees to integrate into the U.S. economy—a lifeline for displaced people and a vital step for America to harness their economic potential. New companies joining the coalition include Burger King, Cargill, Delta Air Lines, Indeed, Lyft, and Marriott.
“I am so proud of the more than 100 companies stepping up for refugees today—this outpouring of support for refugees would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani and founder of Tent, in a news release. “We must seize this moment and encourage all companies in every sector and every state to support refugees in the way they know best: by giving them a job to help them start a new life.”
Building on this Coalition, and in coordination with Welcome.US, CEOs—including Ulukaya, Pfizer’s Albert Bourla, ManpowerGroup’s Jonas Prising, and EmPath’s Carlos Gutierrez, the former U.S. Secretary of Commerce—issued an urgent call to action, challenging the country’s largest employers to commit to hire, train, mentor, and support refugees over the next three years. They called on companies to announce their initial commitments to help tens of thousands of refugees at a U.S. Business Summit for Refugees to be held in September.
Tent also released a new survey with the NYU Stern School of Business showing that supporting refugees makes good business sense. The research reveals that 63 percent of U.S. consumers are more likely to purchase from brands involved in helping refugees—exceeding the percentage of consumers that back brands selling fair trade products or environmentally-friendly products.
“With equity as one of our corporate values, Pfizer set a goal to hire at least 100 refugees by the end of 2022 and mentor at least 150. We are proud to have already hired 50 refugees who are bringing a wealth of ingenuity, hard work, and life experience to our business,” Bourla added. “Additionally, we have begun to mentor 70 refugees to date. As these people rebuild their lives, our company will thrive too, and I urge more businesses to join us in welcoming our refugee neighbors into our workforces.”
“As labor shortages continue to hinder so many sectors of our economy, companies will benefit by including traditionally overlooked job candidates—like refugees—in their workforce,” said Prising, in the release. “We call on more businesses to seize this unique opportunity to diversify and expand their talent pool, while helping refugees better integrate in their communities.”
“As someone who came to the U.S. as a child refugee from Cuba, I believe that the private sector can have a transformational and uplifting impact on communities and whole societies—and businesses will benefit when they open their doors to refugees,” Gutierrez said.