Companies and Humanitarian Action
Companies are increasingly likely to engage in humanitarian activities, including in emergencies. Inspired by motivations which in turn carry a kind of civic or personal engagement, the need to enhance a company’s image or purely commercial strategies, these interventions almost always take the form of a partnership or a relationship with an NGO.
This partnership is organized by mechanisms that vary from one company to another. Some companies prefer direct management (partnerships established by Aventis with Samu Social and MSF). Others do so through their Foundations (Club Méditerranée-ACF partnership, Carrefour Foundation-United Nations agencies partnership, particularly in the areas of medical research, funding, research grants, combating exclusion and poverty), business associations (such as Tulipe, which includes the major French pharmaceutical companies) or their dedicated internal structures (such as Water Force within Veolia Environnement).
Although for now, companies contribute only marginally to NGO financing, they can provide in-kind contributions (equipment donations, providing services) or skills (such as “international solidarity leave”) and appear, especially when they display ethical values, as potentially important partners for NGOs.
Authorities encourage businesses to be active in the field of emergency humanitarian aid and partnerships, either with NGOs or with local communities. The legal framework for these interventions is evolving: On July 21st, 2003, Parliament adopted a law regarding foundations and philanthropy significantly improving the tax regime for such actions which will have the effect of promoting the initiatives of individuals and businesses in areas that affect public interest, alongside state services.
Publication Date : March 7, 2011