"The idea of working with the employability of refugees in the company began with our participation in a webinar promoted by the Companies with Refugees Forum in mid-2022. Since then, Cobasi has committed itself to the cause and has actively participated in the meetings and online training sessions promoted by the Forum. Our goals for the future are to have at least one person in a refugee situation per unit, that is, in all our stores, Distribution Center, among others, totaling more than 200 refugee people hired,"
- Vitor Tassi, Specialist Selection Analyst at Cobasi
The project in brief
The Forum is an initiative of UNHCR Brazil and the UN Global Compact in Brazil, and has strategic partnerships with Emdoc, EY, Foxtime, International Finance Corporation and Tent Partnership for Refugees. It was launched in June 2021.
Launched in 2021, Companies with Refugees Forum is a network of companies to include the issue of refuge in their sustainability and diversity & inclusion journey. By joining the Forum, the company or organization commits to the initiative's values, which include Respect and promotion of rights and Equal opportunities and fair treatment for refugees.
The Forum aims to promote the exchange of experiences between companies, training actions for the hiring of refugees and the sharing of good practices in the inclusion of refugees in the workplace, as well as other types of experiences that support this population. The Forum can also offer a unified voice for advocacy on policies that benefit refugees in Brazilian society.
Images © Companies with Refugees Forum
Main activities of the Good Practice
The Companies with Refugees Forum promotes among its almost 100 members:
- Monthly online events with an exchange of experiences on topics such as the inclusion of refugee women, young refugees, revalidation of diplomas, etc.
- Quarterly online training on hiring refugees, which covers the context of refuge in Brazil, documentation, challenges for hiring and discussion of cases, as well as good practices from companies and employees.
- Annual face-to-face meeting of the Companies with Refugees Forum, with training, lectures and networking.
- Events to raise awareness and connect companies, civil society organizations and other actors
- Production of informative materials and guides to inform companies and organizations about the scenario of hiring refugees, how to have diversity policies that include this population, among other topics.
The Forum is supported by an online platform that showcases remarkable successes cases of companies that have hired and supported refugees´ inclusion in the labour market, inspiring positive impacts for the business and for the refugee. It is also possible to advertise job vacancies aimed at refugees on the platform.
Elements which helped facilitate the implementation of the good practice
The interest of companies in hiring and supporting refugees in Brazil as part of their Human Rights and ESG policies. In Brazil, refugees or asylum seekers can work regularly and with all the labor rights established by law.
The Forum is an initiative of UNHCR Brazil and the UN Global Compact in Brazil, and has strategic partnerships with Emdoc, EY, Foxtime, International Finance Corporation and Tent Partnership for Refugees.
"Even in a short time, we have been able to learn a lot, develop and contribute to projects and actions that are relevant to the inclusion of refugees in the job market in various regions of the country. We intend to further strengthen our partnership with the Forum and other member companies, in order to carry out more initiatives together."
- Cristiane Costa, HR Talent Acquisition Executive Manager at BRF
What challenges were encountered in delivering the project and how were they overcome?
The Forum is an initiative that is free of charge for its members and has limited resources. There are challenges in terms of budget for funding staff dedicated to the forum and activities such as face-to-face events and building educational materials for companies.
How they were overcome
Some activities, such as the Forum´s Annual Meeting, received funding from member companies as sponsors.
Results of the Good Practice
- Almost 100 members reached (private companies and business organizations)
- Forum companies currently employ at least 8,500 refugees in Brazil (survey conducted with 38 members in 2023)
- Forum members trained more than 1,500 refugees between 2022 and 2023 (survey conducted with 38 members in 2023)
- Forum promoted or supported 54 events, workshops, webinars, trainings and meetings
- Disseminated more than 15 guides, guidance notes and periodic bulletins with the actions carried out by the member companies
In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
As the Forum's companies are engaged, especially in hiring refugees or training them for the formal Brazilian labor market, the initiative is mainly related to this objective. Because with formal employment, these people achieve autonomy, access to services and rights, as well as providing a livelihood for their families in Brazil.
The goal is to expand the Forum's membership. Even the UN Global Compact in Brazil, in partnership with UNHCR, has a goal of tripling its membership by the end of 2027.