New paper co-authored by HSBC and the Humanitarian Leadership Academy looks at the role of the private sector in humanitarian action

The private sector has long acted as supplier, donor and operational partner in humanitarian action. Some businesses plan ahead – developing strategies and partnerships specifically designed to deliver positive impact; and others find themselves having to rapidly adapt to crisis situations which jeopardise both the communities in which they are rooted, and their business operations.

The paths by which private sector organisations arrive at a policy and implementation plan to address the consequences of a humanitarian crisis are diverse, but these efforts have been increasingly framed and guided by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN member states in 2015. The SDGs posit a significant role for private sector actors, and many are rising to the challenge – in a range of ways and driven by a wide variety of motivations.

HSBC, as one of the world’s leading financial institutions, alongside the Humanitarian Leadership Academy (the Academy), a global learning initiative for the humanitarian sector, have recently partnered to better understand the most efficient and effective ways that business can contribute positively to humanitarian action. In this jointly authored paper, we aim to:

1. Articulate the business case for private sector engagement in humanitarian action.

2. Provide ‘best case’ examples of partnering between the humanitarian and private sectors.

3. Signpost useful resources for further information and inspiration.

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