April 15 2019 – Training courses, 3,500 jobs, aid programmes with the prospect of paid employment, starting one’s own business or having access to better living conditions in refugee camps. Fifteen companies committed themselves to this during the Dutch Business Summit on Refugees, which was organised last week at the Rabobank in Utrecht. Global Compact Netwerk Nederland is promoting the Tent Partnership for Refugees, in which the above agreements were made. Companies can join the partnership. Our members Rabobank and Unilever, among others, took the initiative for this meeting in the Netherlands, together with the Tent Partnership. Other companies in our network also committed themselves to concrete commitments: Philips, Randstad, ABN AMRO, Arcadis, ING, Shell and Signify.

Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of the Tent Partnership for Refugees and in daily life CEO of Chobani, the largest producer of Greek yoghurt in the United States, was a keynote speaker. He underlined the enormous importance of the role that the Dutch business community plays in this. Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and vice president of the global UN Global Compact, stressed that there are now more refugees than ever before. Including refugees in the workforce, also to prevent the loss of a lot of talent, is a good thing to do. It also shows that employees are incredibly enthusiastic and loyal when they work in companies once. According to Wiebe Draijer of the Rabobank, finding enough people is not the problem, but regulations ensure that it takes a long time before refugees are allowed or able to work. The UN sister organisation of our network, the UNHCR, also contributes to attracting positive attention to the refugee issue. Jaime de Bourbon, senior advisor at the UNHCR aimed at promoting partnerships with the private sector, underlines the importance of the efforts of the business community.

Through werkwijzervluchtelingen.nl and various company initiatives, it is promoted that refugees get a job perspective. This initiative of Tent fits in well with this and will hopefully contribute to the goal, namely more refugees who can get to work and more entrepreneurs who take advantage of the opportunities that exist.