Airbnb’s housing offer in Afghanistan meets CSR criteria
As the withdrawal from Afghanistan continues, many individuals, faith groups and charities / nonprofits grapple with the challenges associated with the resettlement of tens of thousands of fleeing refugees. In addition to the leadership of the military, private and public enterprises are stepping up. In a bold move this week, Airbnb said it would help 20,000 refugees with free temporary accommodation.
Airbnb’s announcement seems much more than a CSR talk. As we know, companies often think of CSR as a box-checking exercise. Instead, Airbnb’s movement stems from genuine generosity. In addition, it meets several other CSR criteria.
Starting today, Airbnb will begin hosting 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world free of charge.
– Brian Chesky (@bchesky) August 24, 2021
First, a legitimate CSR effort helps solve a social challenge. With thousands of people leaving Afghanistan every day, and many more trying to do so by August 31, the social challenge is clear.
Second, a successful CSR initiative requires a business that can make a significant difference on an issue. For example, a business must have the expertise, resources and drive to tackle a problem.
Again, based on its activity of some 4 million hosts, Airbnb appears well positioned to provide temporary accommodation to Afghan refugees. Additionally, its 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, airbnb.org, has placed 75,000 people in need since 2012. Earlier this summer, Airbnb launched a $ 25 million refugee fund. .
As Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Association (TravelTech) says, “This is nothing new to the travel industry … Airbnb, VRBO and others have implemented disaster relief and humanitarian efforts when the need arises. “
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky displays the necessary drive. In a tweet, he urges those who wish to welcome refugees to “contact and I’ll put you in touch with the right people here to make that happen!” “
Third, CSR must be aligned with the values of the company. There must be a Why behind the choice of a company of a CSR approach. As Airbnb’s Chesky tweeted: “The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States and elsewhere is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel compelled to act.” He urged other companies to do the same.
If you are ready to welcome a refugee family, contact us and I will put you in touch with the right people here to make it happen!
– Brian Chesky (@bchesky) August 24, 2021
More than a check and a press release
The Airbnb example proves that when it comes to effective CSR, writing a check and issuing a press release just isn’t enough. While not every business can make as big a contribution as Airbnb’s – and note that even Airbnb doesn’t work alone – they can match the spirit of giving – and have every reason to.
In addition to helping solve a legitimate problem, CSR can be a business investment. CSR can increase a company’s brand awareness, not to mention its sales and share price. When communicated effectively, CSR can attract customers, open markets, and instill a sense of pride in employees and customers. Look at the work of Milk Stork, a small company in California that shipped 21 gallons of breast milk from athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics to the United States so their children could continue to breastfeed.
However, these are secondary considerations. The CSR work of companies must start from a sincere and inspiring place. Again, keys offer a solution to one or more corporate problems and the ability to effect change.
“The authenticity, natural alignment and impact of philanthropic initiatives are often difficult to achieve,” says Jennifer Bahrami, Global Head of Communications and Marketing at the International Baccalaureate. Airbnb’s effort “is a prime example of when a brand and its leadership are aligned around mission, values and culture and can leverage this to create impact as quickly as events on the ground.” .
While it can be abused (good, legitimate advice should be), Fred Rogers’ advice for children to “seek help” when seeing disturbing news on television is particularly apt given the chaos and turmoil. the uncertainty surrounding the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The US military (and support contractors) are heroically executing to evacuate Americans and those who support its mission, despite immense challenges and threats.
Back home, Airbnb and its hosts are also making a difference. Hopefully, they inspire other companies to get involved now and take their future CSR efforts seriously.
Dan René is general manager of kglobal