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What is the role of business in protecting human rights?
Respect for human rights is a key vehicle through which business can help achieve the broader vision of peaceful and inclusive societies embraced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on business and Human Rights is a blueprint for what governments and companies need to do to put in place appropriate policies to respect human rights. ICC plays a pivotal role in promoting business implementation of the UN Guiding Principles and many member companies have already taken action to put in place access to remedy through company grievance mechanisms.
However, the role of the state in protecting human rights is paramount ICC encourages governments to engage actively with the business community to learn from the experiences of the private sector in dealing with human rights commitments.
What are the initiatives in place for mobilising business and other stakeholders to help address the refugee crisis?
Private Sector for Refugees (PS4R)
Private sector expertise, technology and networks are pivotal for creating economic opportunities to integrate refugees into host communities through engagement as employees, producers, investees, and customers.
The “Private Sector for Refugees” initiative (PS4R) was launched in 2019 and brings together actors from the development finance, humanitarian, and business communities to help bridge the historical divide between humanitarian and development work on one side, and commercially-driven business operations on the other. By doing so, the partnership can facilitate the role of business in providing practical solutions to support and empower refugees to become positive contributors to host economies.
Why should the private sector work with refugees?
- Refugees are entrepreneurial and proven to be credit-worthy
- Refugees are engaged employees. Hiring them contributes to a more diverse workforce
- Working with refugees can translate into access to new consumers and markets
- Supporting refugees has a positive impact on brand reputation
- Promoting the economic integration of refugees into the host country contributes to increased social cohesion and national growth
How can business work with refugees?
- By promoting refugee entrepreneurship
- By employing refugees
- By investing in companies that are owned by, employ, or support refugees in one way or other
- By targeting products and services for refugees
A partnership between actors looking to strengthen the role of the private sector in boosting economic opportunities for refugees and host communities which operates along two work streams:
- Knowledge sharing of global lessons learned among private sector partners, development financiers and agencies, including through the adoption of the Charter of Good Practice principles.
- Collaboration on the ground through innovative projects in areas affected by forced displacement to improve the economic empowerment of refugees and host communities.
PSR4 Partners together with ICC
Confederation of Danish Industry (DI)
The Confederation of Danish Industry – DI – is Denmark’s largest, most representative and most influential business and employers’ organization, covering manufacturing as well as service industries across sectors such as transport, energy, IT, health, trade and professional services. We believe a strong society needs strong companies – just as strong companies benefit from a strong society. Companies are crucial to maintaining the prosperity of all Danes, and to achieving societal goals such as a clean and carbon neutral society. Therefore, DI is committed to achieving a Danish society in growth and balance.
DI’s mission is to help Danish companies as such:
We negotiate collective agreements with the labour unions – a crucial function in the strong Danish labour market model – and we advise our members on labour and employment law. We work to improve business regulation at local, national, European and international level in daily dialogue with national and international stakeholders. We provide our members with numerous other services and a variety of relevant networks. The success of Danish companies in global markets is crucial for Denmark’s economy. Exports account for more than one third of all Danish income.
European Investment Bank (EIB)
The European Investment Bank is the lending arm of the European Union. We are the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance. We help stimulate the economy, create jobs, promote inclusion and improve lives for EU citizens and people in developing countries.
We have more than 60 years’ experience and expertise in project financing. Headquartered in Luxembourg, we have a network of local and regional offices in Europe and around the world. The combined expertise of our economists, engineers, financial analysts and climate specialists helps ensure that our projects are additional and maximize development impact. In turn, the stamp of approval from our specialists triggers more investment from the private sector.
The European Investment Bank focuses on six priority areas: Climate and environment; development; innovation and skills; small businesses; infrastructure and cohesion. Migration and forced displacement are a cross-cutting topic that is addressed horizontally.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution.
We lead international action to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. We deliver life-saving assistance, help safeguard fundamental human rights, and develop solutions that ensure people have a safe place called home where they can build a better future. We also work to ensure that stateless people are granted a nationality. We work in over 130 countries, using our expertise to protect and care for millions.
The World Bank Group
The World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA, ICSID) share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development.
The WBG has a number of instruments to support refugees and host communities, including:
- The IDA19 Window for Host Communities and Refugees (WHR)
- The Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF)
- The World Bank’s Fragility, Conflict, and Violence (FCV) Group
- IFC’s work on forced displacement
WBG participation in the Private Sector for Refugees (PS4R) initiative has been organized through the Refugee Investment and Matchmaking Platform (RIMP). RIMP is a WBG project which aims to bring local business, global corporations, foundations, investors and the development community together to create opportunities for refugees and host populations.