Helping communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters

Every day, almost 100,000 people are displaced from their homes by conflict, violence and weather-related disasters. So we have formed an innovative partnership that will help communities better prepare, respond and rebuild.

A system at breaking point

The UN estimates that 130 million people around the world – more than ever before – are in need of humanitarian aid. But with the global humanitarian system unable to cope, hundreds of world leaders gathered in Istanbul recently for the first United Nations World Humanitarian Summit. Its aim is to improve how we prepare for and react to crises.

Building resilience in the Philippines

At the Summit, Rebecca Marmot, Global Vice President, Partnerships & Unilever Foundation, participated in the launch of an innovative private-sector model – developed in partnership with the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (HLA) – to build capacity in the most vulnerable communities.

Across the Philippines, together with the HLA we are training small and medium-sized enterprises and business leaders within our supply chain in how best to prepare for, respond to and rehabilitate people and places after disasters and emergencies. This will help them and their local economies become more resilient.

As well as supporting communities and helping reduce the economic impact of disasters, the training this project delivers is creating a new way for us to engage with retailers and increase the value we deliver to them. Importantly, it will also help reduce the demands placed on an already over-stretched international humanitarian system.

With the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, our vision is to develop a repeatable model that can be rolled out in different geographies, ultimately contributing to the enhanced sustainability of livelihoods in vulnerable communities.

Why does this matter to Unilever?

Global disasters impact our customers and consumers, as well as our business, causing disruption and instability to supply chains and logistics. With climate change and volatile political systems resulting in an increase in both the volume and severity of disasters, how we protect our staff and operations, and how we work with those affected, has never been more intertwined or more critical.

Preparing for disasters and supporting rehabilitation deliver positive social impact, while minimising risks our business faces.

Rebecca Marmot says: “The Humanitarian Leadership Academy is helping to reduce the demands on the global humanitarian system by enabling local communities through our retailer network. This will help reduce the social and economic impact of disasters.”

Saba Al-Mubaslat, CEO, Humanitarian Leadership Academy, adds: “To find the best solutions for those living in disaster-prone communities, we must draw on the knowledge and experience of all. For this reason, I am delighted that the Humanitarian Leadership Academy is collaborating with Unilever to develop this important project which will work directly with key small and medium-size enterprises in the Philippines.”

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