Guidelines on the use of the name and image of the ICRC by providers of goods and services

01 August 2005

Adopted in September 2005


The present guidelines establish the framework for use of the name and image of the ICRC [1][2] by companies that provide the organization with goods and services (hereafter: providers). In particular, they set the terms and conditions under which the ICRC may authorize providers to use its name or image for public communication purposes .

The purpose of the guidelines is to preserve the ICRC's image, reputation and integrity. It is also to maintain the exclusive character of use of the name and image of the ICRC by private companies so as to ensure that a partnership with the ICRC remains attractive and of value to donor companies.

General principle

Providers may not use the ICRC logo [3][4] . This logo may only be used, on certain conditions, by donor companies that enter into partnership with the ICRC. Beforehand, the ICRC shall carry out an ethical evaluation of the activities and behaviour of these companies . In principle, providers may not refer to the ICRC for public communication purposes. The contracts that the ICRC signs with its providers must clearly stipulate that no use may be made of the name, image or logo of the ICRC or of the Red Cross or Red Cr escent emblem [5] without prior authorization.

If a provider wishes to use the name " ICRC " (or " International Committee of the Red Cross " ) or an image in which the ICRC appears, it must first obtain the ICRC's explicit authorization to do so. The ICRC prohibits the use of its name or image on articles for sale.


Authorization to use the name or image of the ICRC – and the certificate [6] confirming such authorization – will only be granted to providers on the following conditions:

a) Use of the name or image of the ICRC must not give rise to any confusion in the public's mind between the ICRC and the provider's activities and/or the quality of its products and services

b) The name and image of the ICRC may only be used for a clearly specified period of time.

c) The name and image of the ICRC may only be used in connection with goods or services actually provided.
d) The ICRC must derive material or financial benefits from the use of its name or image through improved relations with the provider [7] . If it appears that a provider's policies or activities contravene the Policy for Corporate Sector Partnerships [8] , the ICRC shall not authorize the provider to use its name or image. The ICRC shall also examine the appropriateness of terminating its relationship with the provider.

Withdrawal of authorization

The ICRC reserves the right to withdraw its authorization at any time if there is a risk that a provider's activities might jeopardize the ICRC's reputation.

Legal recourse

The ICRC reserves the right to avail itself of the laws in force in Switzerland on the protection of the Red Cross / Red Crescent emblem, trademarks and personality, and in the country of the provider if that country's laws afford at least the same degree of protection as that afforded under Swiss law, and to take whatever action is provided for thereunder.


1. The name of the ICRC is understood as meaning the acronym " ICRC " (or CICR, etc.) or the full name " International Committee of the Red Cross " (or " Comité International de la Croix Rouge, etc.). The image of the ICRC is any representation of the ICRC or its activities (e.g. a delegate with an ICRC badge, a building with an ICRC flag or a car or truck with an ICRC sticker).

2. Public communication comprises public communication strategies and efforts (relations with the media, websites, marketing activities, campaigns, audio-visual productions, etc.). It does not include the provider's internal communications to its staff members or subsidiaries.

3. The ICRC logo consists of a red cross surrounded by two concentric circles in which the words " Comité international Genève " appear above the initials CICR (or ICRC, etc.).

4. The Private Sector Relations unit at the ICRC is in charge of ethical evaluations.

5. The emblem has a protective use in wartime. Misuse of the emblem is any use not expressly authorized by the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols.

6. After authorization is granted, the ICRC shall issue a certificate with a description of the plan for use of the name and/or image of the ICRC by the provider on the overleaf.

7. From a cost-benefit perspective (cost recovery), it is important to ensure that the investment required to implement these guidelines is markedly lower than the expected benefits, which may, for example, take the form of more favourable sales terms granted by the provider.

8. This policy was adopted by the Council of Delegates in Seoul in November 2005. It stipulates that the components of the Movement may not enter into partnership with companies whose activities are contrary to the aims and principles of the Movement (production of weapons, violations of human rights, international humanitarian law or labour law, activities that are detrimental to health or may have a negative impact on the Movement's operational capacity, etc.).