The current situation in Syria, and the journey for those forced to leave their homes seeking safety from the violence, is heartbreaking. 12 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes with nearly five million fleeing Syria as refugees.
Global response has been slow taking action on this issue, but in the summer of 2015, families began leaving camps and seeking refuge in other European countries where their governments were forced to take action. The United States has been torn about how to address the issue. One company wanted to help and ensure that refugees arriving in North America are welcomed with love and friendship.
Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics joined hands with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a nonprofit organisation that responds to humanitarian crises around the world, to send a clear message that Syrian refugees fleeing a war-torn country are welcome in the U.S. “This is the largest humanitarian crisis of our time,” Lush proclaims on its website. The company wanted to use its over 230 shops in North America to inform its customers and give them a meaningful and impactful way to take action to show their support.
Centered around "Refugees Welcome" theme, Lush made available for sale the “Hand of Friendship” soap, for $5.95 each.
It also did several things as part of the campaign to get the message across that Syrian refugees are welcome in the U.S. One of those things is decorating its store-front windows with welcome signs in Arabic. Another is engaging customers to extend a welcome by signing welcome postcards to refugees who have just arrived and using the hashtag #refugeeswelcome on social media. The response is said to have been “overwhelmingly positive”.
The campaign ran for about two weeks in February with the goal of raising $350,000 from the sale of the company’s 'Hand of Friendship' soap. All proceeds from the soap throughout the duration of the campaign went into the Friendship Fund created by Lush, and the funds were distributed to groups in North America that help settle Syrian refugees.
Lush, a company with a long history of CSR campaigns, including fighting animal testing, banning dog-sled races and tours, and banning plastic bags, thinks education about the situation in Syria will help Americans understand the violence and fear Syrian refugees have experienced, so they take action to lighten the suffering of the Syrian people.