III. Non – military actors
3.8. Private sector
The private sector is what sits outside of direct state control. It describes any privately owned group or person involved in profitable activities. In many countries the private sector owns large parts of the national critical infrastructure. The private sector might only coordinate if it supports their business model or due to legal obligations.
Private sector companies are increasingly involved in disaster response, often as part of their commitment to a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. This involvement can take many forms, including being donors to the UN, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and NGOs, or being direct service providers of aid. Companies like DHL and Ericsson have been working to support humanitarian logistics and telecommunications for years and are joined by a growing number of private sector actors involved in disaster response. The vast majority of private companies’ involvement in disaster relief occurs independently. Liaison may be required with these various organizations, both for their advice and to ensure coordination of activity.
There is a strong rationale for the private sector to collaborate with the civil preparedness, disaster response and the humanitarian communities. The private sector is indeed a fundamental component of affected communities. Private sector interests are often equally vulnerable to a natural disaster or the impact of conflict. Local business operations are among the first to be hit by emergencies. Their infrastructure, supply chains, workforce, and markets can all be severely affected. There is a business interest for engagement; by preparing for and responding to emergencies, businesses can ensure that their operations will not be severely affected by emergencies. In addition, engagement in humanitarian action ensures an increase in staff engagement and satisfaction, strengthening of community resilience, prosperity and sustainable development as well as enhanced relationships with communities.