The unfolding situation in Afghanistan has made the global refugee issue front of mind. The United Nations reports that over 30 million of the world’s inhabitants have been forced to flee their home countries because of persecution, war or violence. At first blush, people leaving Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela might appear a distant concern to us in Colorado. The plight of refugees, however, is our concern.
For starters, our state has welcomed approximately 60 Afghan refugees this summer and we expect this is just the start. More broadly, though, many of our businesses source products from faraway lands, sell abroad and do business with people directly affected by the refugee crisis. In today’s tightly knit world markets, a crisis that affects other continents affects us. Not surprisingly, many business managers have a global mindset and would like to aid refugees. But what, exactly, can businesses do?
It turns out that companies can do a lot for displaced individuals across the globe. Over 170 companies–including Airbnb, Chobani, Hilton, Warby Parker and Western Union–are part of the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a collaboration dedicated to integrating refugees in their host communities, including in Colorado. Companies can also join UNSTUCK, which helps businesses populate supply chains with providers that hire refugees. Of course, donating money, goods, services or time in the form of employee volunteering is also hugely helpful. In Colorado, companies might want to support the Lutheran Family Services, the African Community Center and the International Rescue Committee, for example.
In short, business leaders don’t need to feel helpless in the face of the news from Afghanistan and elsewhere. They can expand their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) initiatives to alleviate the hardship endured by millions of displaced people around the globe.
Have you completed The Civic 50 Colorado application? It’s not too late! It’s a great way to get your company recognized for its community engagement. Learn more.
Spark the Change Colorado, Community Shares of Colorado, B:CIVIC