On World Tsunami Awareness Day how businesses are taking responsibility for disaster relief

Today is World Tsunami Awareness Day. For many of us the moment we realised how deadly Tsunamis could be, came on Boxing Day 2004, when the Indian Ocean Tsunami killed approximately 227,000 people across 14 countries. A natural disaster on an unprecedented scale. A disaster of this magnitude requires governments, non-governmental-organisations (NGOs) and the private sector to be part of the relief and recovery solution. This began a transition in how businesses perceived their role in international disaster relief.

With the increasing frequency and financial cost of disasters the long-term support of the private sector in disaster relief is essential. Today we mark the end of Business in the Community’s five year partnership with the Department for International Development, focusing on the role of business in international disaster relief. During this time a more robust understand of businesses’ engagement in international disaster relief has been developed and progress has been seen. 

Business no longer views its role as limited to philanthropic donations after a disaster strikes. Instead businesses are looking for ways they can support with disaster preparedness and resilience. So that when the worse does happen, the impacts are lessened, and the recovery is quicker, less costly and, importantly, less life-threatening. 

Businesses’ Unique Contribution III reflects on the changes that have occurred in this landscape over the last 5 years, and also highlights some of the challenges. The three reports in this series have involved over 120 businesses and more than 30 NGOs.

  • Today there are four times more disaster partnerships than in 2014. 
  • The average number of business-disaster relief partnerships a business has is 6. 
  • Businesses have developed on average 4 new partnerships in the last 5 years.

Much is still to be done, with more support required for slow onset and man-made disasters. Furthermore, NGOs would prefer that businesses support disaster preparedness, mitigation and resilience to a greater extent than they currently do. The UN Sustainanable Development Goals address disasters in 10 of the 17 goals. 

Stephen Killeen, BITC Global Goals and Sector Director, concludes: “There is a need for more examples of innovative partnerships that link strongly with a business’ core purpose to support the diversity of disasters that occur globally and create greater resilience.”