Ecommerce companies step up to support refugee employment in Europe

Ecommerce companies step up to support refugee employment in Europe - Zest Logic

In a significant display of corporate social responsibility, 41 multinational companies have made public commitments to provide jobs, training, and support to over 250,000 refugees in Europe. This groundbreaking initiative, announced at a business summit in Paris organized by the Tent Partnership for Refugees, underscores the growing role of the private sector in helping refugees integrate into their new communities. With a focus on Ukrainian refugees, whose numbers swelled to over 5 million in the past year, these commitments aim to provide long-term inclusion and hope through economic integration.


The impact of abruptly leaving behind one's everyday life and loved ones can be traumatic, both physically and psychologically. For refugees, finding employment not only offers a sense of stability but also provides financial and social benefits. Margot Slattery, the global head of diversity and inclusion at workplace facilities management company ISS, emphasizes that having a job enables refugees to regain dignity and feel a sense of contribution. Employment also reduces dependence on social safety net benefits and enables refugees to support their families back home through remittances.


Amazon, one of the largest companies pledging, has committed to hiring a minimum of 5,000 refugees in Europe over the next three years. This move aligns with Amazon's broader goals of diversifying its workforce and addressing the challenges faced by millions of people displaced by conflict and humanitarian crises worldwide. Amazon's ITSkills4U program also aims to provide training for 10,000 Ukrainians, including refugees, equipping them with essential IT skills, language classes, mentorship, and access to job opportunities.


Salesforce is another e-commerce company that has stepped up to support refugee employment. The company has committed to training 1,500 refugees, including Ukrainian refugee women, across Europe over three years, providing them with digital skills training. Furthermore, Salesforce has pledged to place 600 of those 1,500 refugees into jobs through its partners and clients in the Salesforce Talent Alliance.


Cisco is also making a significant impact by committing to train 10,000 Ukrainian refugees across Europe over three years. The company offers programming and cybersecurity courses in Ukrainian through its Start IT Cisco4Ukraine education program. After completing the training, refugee candidates will enter Cisco's Talent Bridge Matching Engine, connecting them to job opportunities across Cisco's ecosystem. Cisco has also committed to hiring refugees across Europe into a 2-year apprenticeship program, providing employment prospects for those seeking refuge.


ISS, a workplace facilities management company, has been actively involved in hiring and training refugees. Since March of the previous year, they have employed 500 refugees, predominantly Ukrainian women. Building upon its existing efforts, ISS has committed to hiring an additional 1,000 refugees across its European operations and providing training and development opportunities.


Unilever and its wholly-owned brand Ben & Jerry's, have also committed to supporting refugee employment. Unilever will train 560 refugees through the Embark program, focusing on business and management skills. Ben & Jerry's, on the other hand, will train 440 refugees through the UP (Unlimited Potential) Collective, supporting refugee entrepreneurs through incubator courses and part-time job placements. Ben & Jerry's has also committed to working with its European suppliers to place 30 refugees in jobs over three years while continuing their advocacy to remove barriers that prevent refugees and asylum seekers from entering the labor market.


The commitments made by these eCommerce companies represent the most substantial collection of pledges in the history of the Tent Partnership. While the efforts of these organizations will undoubtedly have a positive impact, it is essential to note that they cover only a fraction of the refugees in need of assistance. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that approximately 35 million refugees worldwide, with over 12 million in Europe alone, require support.


The commitments made by eCommerce companies and other multinational organizations to empower and support refugees in Europe are commendable. By providing job opportunities, training, and integration support, these companies are making a significant difference in the lives of displaced individuals. Through such collective efforts, we can foster a more inclusive society and offer refugees a chance to rebuild their lives and contribute to their new communities. As we continue to address the challenges faced by refugees globally, it is encouraging to witness the commitment of businesses to creating a more inclusive and compassionate world.

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