Consulting firms The Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, IBM and Oliver Wyman have joined The TENT Foundation as a partner. The New York-based non-profit aims to support refugees directly through goods and services, as well as indirectly through creating job opportunities or supporting organisations that provide refugees with employment.
Globally there are more than 50 million refugees, many of whom have no place to go following persecution and war in their home countries. Recent conflicts in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iraq, have propelled those seeking safe harbour globally to around 16 million. A great number of refugees, particularly Syrians, have ended up in camps in Turkey and Jordan, while many others have sought refuge in Europe. Europe too opened its doors to the plight, briefly at least, providing a large number of refugees a place to stay for the time being.
While humanity hopes for an end to hostilities and persecution in affected areas – ‘business’ has been actively seeking to support governments and NGOs provide a range of resources to those whom have become stranded for reasons that are often beyond their control. One of the recent initiatives is the TENT alliance. The organisation – founded by Hamdi Ulukaya, a Kurdish entrepreneur and founder of Chobani (America's most popular Greek yogurt) – aims to provide a range of measures, leveraging corporate responsibility and their wider corporate networks, to find ways of supporting governments, NGOs and the people affected themselves, through the crisis. The organisation is partner based, and has so far partnered with 30+ private sector organisations, including four advisory firms: Deloitte, BCG, IBM and Oliver Wyman.
Besides imploring global businesses to step in and support refugees, the organisation aims to raise awareness about the role of business in the crisis; to participate in confidential sharing, learning and collaboration among businesses engaged in refugee-related efforts, as well as virtual and in-person meetings;and presenting a unified ‘voice of business’ on refugee related issues pertaining to business. Concrete measures proposed by TENT include direct donations of goods and services; directly hire refugees or support their employment training or employment assistance; and shape supply chains to source products and services from vendors that employ refugees or support refugee relief organisations.
Commenting on the partnership, Frauke Uekermann, Principal at The Boston Consulting Group in Germany, states: "How can assistance be most effective to Syrian refugees and help them feed their families? A deep understanding of refugees' consumption and shopping behaviour is instrumental in optimising the humanitarian response."
In September last year Oliver Wyman launched a European-wide recruitment campaign aimed at recruiting qualified candidates from the refugee populations into the firm's ranks. "We want to do our part,” said Scott McDonald, President and CEO of Oliver Wyman.