• Transform magazine
  • April 07, 2020

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Brands behind refugees

  • Better Shelter.jpg
  • uber-collecting-donations-refugees-europe.png

With the current migrant crisis dominating the news, more and more brands are committing their assets and services to the cause.

Public opinion in Europe has taken a dramatic turn recently with the majority of the public now viewing the migrant situation as a humanitarian crisis, and demanding that refugees be given aid.

Uber has recently pledged to collect donated items on Wednesday 9 September and Thursday 10 September in 23 cities across Europe, and drive them to donation points. There are 20 countries taking part in the UberGiving drive, with confirmed details announced so far in the UK, Germany, Italy, Prague, Hungary, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Finland and Estonia. Uber are helping in a way that uses the resources they have available, while undoubtedly improving their brand image and visibility.

The IKEA Foundation recently used its resources in a similar way; providing flat-pack housing for refugee camps in a campaign titled Better Shelter. The housing units were designed in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), they are around twice the size of the typical UNHCR tent and are much more durable.

Rather than simply providing funding, brands are using their resources, specialities, and identifiable characteristics, to provide for people during the current international crises.

Fast Retailing, the Japanese retailer that owns Uniqlo, has donated recycled clothing to refugees since 2006. The clothing is donated, with the help of UNHCR and international non-governmental organizations, to refugee camps in Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya and Jordan. Fast Retailing also provides intern opportunities for refugees at its Uniqlo stores in Japan.

The UNHCR is partnered with brands as diverse as the International Olympic Committee, Hewlett Packard and Fuji Optical Co., Ltd.

With such a politically sensitive issue, brands are reluctant to put their name to a cause until they are sure that the majority of their shareholders are behind it. With the way that the current migrant crisis is dominating headlines in Europe, and with countries agreeing to accept more refugees in the coming years, it is no surprise that brands, too, are offering their support.