The ICRC Corporate Support Group - a mutually beneficial partnership
The ICRC and a group of selected Swiss companies have set up a Corporate Support Group, establishing an innovative and long-term partnership. The members of the Corporate Support Group have committed themselves to supporting the ICRC’s humanitarian work in the years ahead.
What are the objectives of the ICRC Corporate Support Group?
- To diversify the ICRC’s sources of funding.
- To promote exchanges between the ICRC and its corporate partners in areas of mutual interest.
(Read Seeing the bigger picture)
What are the conditions for membership of the ICRC Corporate Support Group?
Membership is restricted to an exclusive circle of companies with strong ethics, whose policies and activities are compatible with the ICRC's principles and values.
Each Corporate Partner has pledged to make a substantial donation to either the operational activities of the ICRC or to the Foundation for the ICRC , which seeks to develop a substantial endowment fund. The fund's yearly revenues are used to strengthen the expertise of ICRC staff.
What are the benefits for ICRC corporate partners?
Members of the ICRC Corporate Support Group enjoy exclusive benefits in terms of dialogue and information exchange with the ICRC.
- The ICRC holds an annual, high-level meeting with its corporate partners, focusing on strategic issues of mutual interest.
- Ad hoc meetings at senior executive level bring together the ICRC and corporate partners interested in addressing a specific issue (geopolitical trends, communication and HR management during crises, risk assessment, etc.)
- The ICRC treats the members of the Corporate Support Group as 'preferred partners' for specific events and campaigns
Ursula Eugster Verhoeff
Head, Corporate Partnerships
International Committee of the Red Cross
19 Avenue de la Paix
+ 41 22 730 2676
Annual high-level meetings
The ICRC holds an annual high-level meeting for its corporate partners, focusing on issues of mutual interest.
The 2009 plenary meeting of the ICRC Corporate Support Group took place in Baden on 18 November 2009, with ABB Executive Committee member Gary Steel as host.
After a few words of welcome from the host, the president of the ICRC guided the participants through a seven-part exhibition on the organization’s field security concept, the S even pillars of security. Mr Kellenberger went on to present an overview of the challenges addressed by the ICRC in 2009, which was followed by a lively discussion on topical issues.
The following day, the exhibition moved to ABB headquarters in Zurich Oerlikon, where it was on display for a week. Subsequently, it will be available for other corporate partners before becoming a training aid for new ICRC personnel.
Group photo, from left to right: Heinz Hefti (AVINA Stiftung), Georges Gagnebin (Foundation for the ICRC), Hans-Ulrich Doerig (Credit Suisse Group), Christine Beerli (ICRC), Anton Thalmann (Foundation for the ICRC) Per-Olof Attinger (Roche), Agostino Galvagni (Swiss Re), Doris Pfister (ICRC), Gary Steel (ABB), Jakob Kellenberger (ICRC), Ron Popper (ABB), André Von Moos (Foundation for the ICRC), Thierry Lombard (Lombard Odier), Herbert Scheidt (Vontobel), Ursula Eugster Verhoeff (ICRC).
The meeting started with a presentation on the humanitarian consequences of conflicts and the response of organizations such as the ICRC. ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger then discussed the challenges that the organization had faced in 2008. He stressed the cumulative impact of armed conflict, high commodity prices, the economic and financial crises and environmental factors such as drought on the poorest and most vulnerable people. This started a lively discussion among the guests.
Photo, from left to right: Jakob Kellenberger (ICRC), Thierry Lombard (LODH), Jacques Aigrain (Swiss Re), Herbert Scheidt (Vontobel), Georges Gagnebin (Foundation for the ICRC), Walter Kielholz (Credit Suisse Group), Peter Buomberger (ZFS), Fides P. Baldesberger (Foundation for the ICRC), André von Moos (Foundation for the ICRC), Karin Jestin (LODH), Anton Thalmann (Foundation for the ICRC), Ron Popper (ABB), Doris Pfister (ICRC), Ursula Eugster Verhoeff (ICRC), Urs Hammer (Foundation for the ICRC)
The 2007 plenary meeting of the ICRC Corporate Support Group took place at the headquarters of Zurich Financial Services in Zurich on 17 October 2007 and was hosted by James Schiro, the company's Chief Executive Officer.
The event was attended by board members and executives of the ICRC corporate partners, plus members of the ICRC Assembly and the Board of the Foundation for the ICRC.
Jakob Kellenberger launched the event with an overview of the ICRC's activities over the course of the year, following which the participants conferred on issues of mutual interest. During the evening, guests watched a film made during a workshop for the corporations's executives conducted a month earlier at Ecogia, the ICRC training centre.
Photo, from left to right, back row: Peter Buomberger (ZFS), Gary Steel (ABB), Thierry Lombard (LODH), Herbert Scheidt (Vontobel), Jacques Aigrain (Swiss Re), Doris Pfister (ICRC), James Schiro (ZFS), Susy Brüschweiler (SV Group), Moritz Suter (Foundation for the ICRC), Peter Forstmoser (Swiss Re), Rolf Schläpfer (Roche), Ron Popper (ABB), Geoff Riddell (ZFS), Jakob Kellenberger (ICRC)
From left to right, front row: Ursula Eugster Verhoeff (ICRC), Jacques Rossier (LODH), Jacques Forster (ICRC), Fides P. Baldesberger (Foundation for the ICRC), Anton Thalmann (Foundation for the ICRC).
In his address, ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger gave an overview of the ICRC's humanitarian activities during 2006.
This was followed by an assessment by the corporate partners of their partnership with the ICRC.
After the meeting and before dinner, Mr Kellenberger led the assembled group through an exhibition set up especially for the plenary meeting, illustrating the history and development of the ICRC.
Photo, from left to right: Markus Hongler (ZFS), Thierry Lombard (LODH), Jacques Rossier (LODH), Peter Forstmoser (Swiss Re), Doris Pfister (ICRC), Rahel Gerber (Swiss Re), Jakob Kellenberger (ICRC), Ursula Eugster Verhoeff (ICRC)
Photo, from left to right: Thierry Lombard (LODH), Peter Forstmoser (Swiss Re), Gary Steel (ABB), Jakob Kellenberger (ICRC), Jacques Rossier (LODH), Mme Jacques Rossier, Ron Popper (ABB), James Schiro (ZFS), Mme James Schiro, Pierre Jaccoud (Roche).
Ad hoc meetings at senior executive level
Ad hoc meetings at senior executive level bring together the ICRC and corporate partners interested in addressing a specific issue (geopolitical trends, communication and HR management during crises, risk assessment, etc.)
The workshop was hosted by ABB in Zurich and comprised an introduction to the ICRC and international humanitarian law, followed by two case studies featuring companies operating in a country at war.
The participants tackled the case study in small working groups before presenting their findings in the plenary session.
The objectives were twofold: to provide an introduction to international humanitarian law, including a basic knowledge of the constraints related to operating – directly or indirectly – in conflict environments, and to explore situations where business operations may either benefit from the protection of international humanitarian law or be constrained by its rules.
The workshops were facilitated by ICRC specialists and consisted of an introduction to the topic followed by a case study to be dealt with in small groups.
Positive feedback from the participants confirmed that this workshop provided a valuable opportunity to share knowledge, experiences and best practices.
Coached by ICRC facilitators, the participants were asked to assess the needs of a war-affected population to allow their organization to define a strategy and a plan of action.
The exercise, which was inspired by the ICRC's training programme for its own staff, focused on the skills of negotiation, stress management, intercultural relations and communication in a crisis situation.
On 22 November 2006, 27 experts from the corporate partners met at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue to share knowledge based on an ICRC case study entitled " Operating in a challenging environment. "
The experts participated in multidisciplinary workshops, with coaching from ICRC staff. They tackled the scenario of a conflict-related emergency triggered by massive population displacement, considering operational management, security, human resources, information and logistics.
The participants highly valued this expert meeting, which provided an opportunity to exchange experiences, learn more about specific areas of interest and present solutions.
Members as preferred partners for specific events and campaigns
The ICRC treats the members of the Corporate Support Group as preferred partners for specific events and campaigns.
On 4 November 2008, the ICRC and Credit Suisse Group participated in the third edition of Humagora, a fair organized in Geneva by the Philias Foundation, whose mission it is to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR). This fair acts as a platform for exchange and dialogue, aiming to foster links between the private and non-profit sectors. A " marketplace " visited by 144 organizations, 100 corporate representatives, 15 companies and 15 organizations (amongst them the ICRC and Credit Suisse Group) presented existing partnerships and future projects. A round table looked at how to reconcile the interests of companies and those of organizations, followed by a debate on the boundaries between patronage and sponsoring.
On 20 November 2007, the Philias Foundation held a fair in Geneva by the name of Humagora, aimed at presenting best practices for cross-sectoral partnerships. The ICRC participated in the fair, together with its corporate partner Swiss Re. Asked about the partnership with the ICRC, Swiss Re Head of Corporate Citizenship, Anne Keller Dubach stated: " We live in a time where people are called to assume responsibility for their health and the protection of their environment. They want their employers to do the same. The partnership with the ICRC is a source of pride and motivation for the staff of Swiss Re. "