Global Business Leaders: The Sustainable Development Goals Will Not Be Achieved If Refugees Continue to be Excluded | International Rescue Committee (IRC)
In an event convened by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) on behalf of the Business Refugee Action Network (BRAN) and moderated by Christine Romans, CNN’s chief business correspondent, business leaders came together to show their ongoing commitment to improving the lives of refugees. Speakers, who included Branson; David Miliband, president and CEO of the IRC; and Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair, the Elders and former UN Secretary-General all noted the critical role businesses play in creating opportunity for refugees. “Without bold commitments and action to course correct the growing misery of victims of conflict in fragile states around the world, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be achieved,” said David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “Now, more than ever before, business has a critical role to play in tackling the situation of the most vulnerable. It includes funding programs that provide refugees with opportunities to regain control of their futures, advocating for policies that support refugee access and inclusion, and building markets that create economic opportunities for refugees.” Sir Richard Branson added, “The number of refugees worldwide has reached unprecedented proportions. As this global crisis intensifies, exacerbated by oppression, armed conflict, and the climate crisis, all of us – governments, business, civil society – must do more to foster a better climate for inclusion. Refugees should be welcome wherever they knock at the door. That’s why business stands with refugees, and that’s why we are calling for the right kinds of humane policies that will support integration and bring an end to further suffering.” “At a time when so many people have been displaced around the world, and too many policy makers promote building walls and scapegoating refugees, business leaders must help meet the needs of those who seek refuge in our communities,” said Matthew McCarthy, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s. “We must also commit to using our privileged platform as CEOs to hold world leaders accountable for helping solve the root causes driving refugee crises. The inclusion of refugees into the SDGs can be a powerful way to do just that.” “For the SDGs to succeed, we need to create conditions where every person can succeed,” said Halla Tómasdóttir, CEO of The B Team. “This is especially true when it comes to refugees who need not just inclusion, but to rebuild agency over their lives and livelihoods. Business can offer refugees jobs that help them regain social and economic stability. Business can also call on governments to join them in solving the global refugee crisis, which will only escalate as global conflicts emerge and evolve and our climate crisis displaces more and more people.” “The business community is key to solving the refugee crisis. I started the Tent Partnership with the goal of building a global network of companies committed to hiring refugees, investing in refugee businesses and providing goods and services for refugees,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees and founder & CEO of Chobani. “The moment a refugee has a job and can provide for her or his family, that’s the moment they stop being a refugee. That’s why I’m here and why I support the inclusion of refugees in the Sustainable Development Goals. We must restore human dignity.” In a statement, companies from across the private sector, including Microsoft, Citi, and Unilever, as well as philanthropic organizations such as the IKEA Foundation, emphasized their ongoing support for refugees, spanning from hiring to investment and funding for humanitarian response and livelihoods. They are also calling on governments to do more, starting with refugee inclusion in their SDG plans and measurement of their progress. The event and call-to-action by prominent business leaders coincides with the release of a report by the IRC, which found the SDGs are failing to include refugees and as a result, will not be achieved for all by 2030. This follows from research released by IRC and the Overseas Development Institute last year, supported by Citi and Unilever, that showed up to 82% of fragile and conflict affected states are off track to achieve the SDGs. To learn more about refugee inclusion in the Sustainable Development goals, visit: https://www.rescue.org/article/equality-everyone-planet-how-do-we-get-there Follow us The B Team was co-founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, and includes Leaders Ajay Banga Oliver Bäte, Marc Benioff, Sharan Burrow, Kathy Calvin, David Crane, Emmanuel Faber, Christiana Figueres, Mats Granryd, Arianna Huffington, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Yolanda Kakabadse, Isabelle Kocher, Guilherme Leal, Andrew Liveris, Indra Nooyi, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, François- Henri Pinault, Paul Polman, Mary Robinson, Ratan Tata, Hamdi Ulukaya, Zhang Yue and Professor Muhammad Yunus.