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UNHCR Corporate Guidelines

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UNHCR Corporate Code of Conduct

Corporations entering into partnership with UNHCR agree to this code of conduct both in principle and practice. This is intended to ensure transparent partnerships that meet the interests of both partners in the spirit of open, honest, professional and enduring relationships.

1. Context

As a body of the United Nations, UNHCR enters into partnership agreements with companies for the purpose of fulfilling its mandate to protect and assist refugees and not for the purpose of entering a commercial relationship with the partner. Partnership is not a means for pure financial or personal gain. All corporate partners acknowledge this principle as key to interpreting their rights and obligations as a partner of UNHCR and as a guide for their conduct in this capacity.

2. Eligibility for Partnership

UNHCR seeks to engage with profit-making enterprises that respect the planet and its people. The agency does not monitor the partner company's activities to determine the extent of its responsible behaviour but has set clear minimum criteria for co-operation. Companies (including subsidiaries) engaged in any of the following activities shall not be eligible for partnership with UNHCR:

  • Weapons sale or manufacture, including components.
  • Systematic and sustained forced labour or child labour.
  • Operating in countries subject to UN sanctions.

UNHCR may choose not to engage with any company whose public image is severely compromised by past activity in one of the above mentioned categories or in other areas which may be deemed, at any given time, to reflect negatively on the agency.

Corporate partners are responsible for indicating their present and past activity in the above areas to UNHCR prior to concluding any deal. By entering into an agreement with prior knowledge of non-eligibility status, a company can be liable for damages incurred by UNHCR from such partnership. Immediate termination of the partnership by UNHCR will give no cause to the company for claiming retribution in these cases.

3. Transparency and Impartiality

Information on the nature and scope of the partnership agreements should be available to the public. While UNHCR respects the business imperatives of the corporate partner, the company recognises that partnership does not allow the company a role in the agency's decision-making. The agreed co-operation must not in any way compromise the integrity and independence of UNHCR or that of the partner company.

4. Non-exclusivity and Non-preferential Treatment

UNHCR does not grant exclusivity in any corporate partnership. Partnership also does not grant or imply the agency's endorsement or sponsorship of a partner's goods or services or otherwise express any preferences for, or promotion of, the partner's goods or services in the market place. All commercial transactions are subject to UNHCR's procurement policy and financial rules guided by UN regulations.

5. Acknowledgement

As a privilege of partnership, companies will be acknowledged for their contribution to UNHCR in publications such as the Global Report. Partner companies agree to consult with UNHCR prior to making any communications or publicity initiatives in relation to the partnership.

6. UNHCR Visibility Logo

Partner companies are only authorised to use UNHCR's visibility logo when stipulated in writing for a specific activity and only for the duration of the agreement . Such use of the UNHCR logo cannot imply the agency's endorsement of the company, its products or services. Any other use of the visibility logo not included in the formal agreement must be authorised by UNHCR in writing. The United Nations emblem (and the UNHCR official emblem which includes the UN emblem) may not be used under any circumstances by a corporate partner.

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