Posted by Rawan Elbaba on February 25, 2016 in Blog
Lush Cosmetics made headlines recently with the launch of the “Hand of Friendship” soap. Lush, a UK-based cosmetics retailer, is no stranger to what they call “ethical campaigns.” They are well known for standing up for animal rights, environmental protection, and other humanitarian causes. From Feb. 15 to 28, 100% of proceeds from the sale of the $5.95 heart-shaped soap will go into the “Friendship Fund.” The fund then gives the proceeds to groups that welcome refugees and help resettle them in North America. Both Amnesty International Canada and the International Rescue Committee are beneficiaries of this fund. Amnesty International Canada launches community-wide efforts to help expand the refugee resettlement program while the IRC is committed to providing newly resettled refugees become self-sufficient in the United States.
After the traumatizing photo of 3-year-old refugee Aylan Kurdi washed ashore Turkish land surfaced, the Obama administration promised to take in 10,000 refugees by September of this year. Refugee resettlement in the United States, however, has taken a turn for the worst. Over half of our governors have refused to accept Syrian refugees into their state, a call that has no constitutional merit. Many of these calls are rooted in a lack of understanding of the refugee resettlement process and in the bigoted rhetoric spewed by Republican presidential candidates.
With storefront signs decorated in the words “Ahlan wa Sahlan,” or “Welcome” in Arabic, Lush hopes to be “on the right side of history” by standing with refugees in their largest ever ethical campaign. Lush, however, isn’t the only company hoping to welcome refugees and fight the xenophobia against them.
Turkish-born Chobani CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya has pledged to give away half of his wealth (an estimated $1.41 billion) to help refugees worldwide. The yogurt entrepreneur has promised half of his wealth as a part of The Giving Pledge, a “moral commitment” initiative created by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Google is also giving $1.1 million to organizations that provide necessary aid for survival for people in dire needs. Investment management firm, Goldman Sachs is donating $3 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, one of our honorees at our annual Gibran gala. UNHCR has also partnered with clothing retailers Zara and H&M to provide additional aid. Apple, who’s late co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian refugee, is also giving a substantial donation to the “migrant cause.”
The reaction to the refugee crisis by companies like Lush and Google show just how significant the moral and social responsibility of companies to be welcoming and help those in need is. As the largest refugee crisis unfolds in front of us, it’s essential that we must not relinquish our values and moral obligations as consumers to help those in need.