Erin Klem  | September 25, 2015

In the Wake of Disaster, Businesses Give Back

–Cross-posted from the Corporate Citizenship Center

The Corporate Citizenship Award for Best Disaster Response & Community Resilience Program recognizes companies for responding to disasters and creating more resilient communities. The 2015 finalists show the significant, positive impact businesses have around the world.


An aerial image showing damage done by a fire

The Ready Carlsbad Business Alliance aims to bring together local businesses, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, and the city of Carlsbad to promote business emergency preparedness, continuity of operations, and community recovery through services, educational programs, and cooperative partnerships. Taking note from FEMA’s “Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management,” the Ready Carlsbad Business Alliance’s three goals are to prepare employees, prepare businesses, and contribute to community recovery. To maintain an inclusive and all-encompassing program, businesses are not required to be chamber members to participate in the Alliance. The Ready Carlsbad Business Alliance includes monthly meetings, biyearly symposiums, tailored preparedness support for individual businesses, public outreach and education, preparedness partnering, and business preparedness recognition through annual awards. In May 2014, the Business Alliance was tested after a San Diego County firestorm. Carlsbad was the only chamber of commerce initiative that materially contributed to community recovery. With city assistance, more than $20,000 was handed to 170 citizens who had suffered fire, smoke, ash damage, and related health effects.

Clean the World is an international nonprofit that collects discarded amenities from hospitality companies, sanitizes and recycles them, and distributes them globally to those in need. After donating $1 million to Clean the World, Las Vegas Sands invited the entire Las Vegas community to join in and help Clean the World build 100,000 hygiene kits in just two days. Las Vegas Sands spent several months planning the event and developing strategies to ensure that the kits were assembled properly. The hygiene kit build took place September 20–21, 2014, during National Preparedness Month in the United States. More than 2,500 community members volunteered to assemble kits. In just more than a day, all 100,000 kits were built and ready for distribution to Americans in need because of an unexpected disaster.

Las Vegas Sands volunteers

Las Vegas Sands volunteers

UPS’ humanitarian relief and resilience program uses the company’s global transportation network and technical expertise to deliver critical, lifesaving aid to communities in need around the world. West Africa was in dire need of assistance from programs like the humanitarian relief and resilience program during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. UPS leveraged its existing relationships with humanitarian organizations and consulted with both NGOs and private sector businesses active in Ebola relief efforts in order to provide the best, most efficient help. Allocating its resources, technical expertise, and global logistics capabilities, UPS filled a deep gap in logistical support necessary to help provide affected communities with critical funding and supplies. In total, UPS airlifted 48 metric tons of disinfectant to West Africa and 5.4 million masks, gowns, gloves, and medical supplies to the region. In addition, more than 70 trucks were airlifted to West Africa, enabling the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to reach rural areas to educate families on how to prevent the spread of the disease.