Photo: BT

BT Group plc – International Disaster Relief

By Jane Smallman, International Programme Manager - Disaster Relief, Business in the Community

BT Group plc – International Disaster Relief

BT uses its products, services and people to help restore communications in disaster-hit areas, and via their MyDonate platform supports fundraising for the Disaster Emergency Community (DEC) and other charities.

Social impacts

  • £21.5m was raised through MyDonate to support the DEC appeal following Typhoon Haiyan.
  • Supported fundraising by processing cash donations to the DEC and non-governmental organisations quickly and securely, allowing relief operations to be as effective as possible.
  • Restored communications that supported coordination of relief efforts between NGOs, government and other key stakeholders.
  • Restored communications (email, internet and telephones) to affected communities, helping them recover from disasters and rebuild lives.

Business impacts

  • Contributed to BT’s target of ‘generating £1billion for good causes through their skills and technology by 2020’.
  • Supported BT’s reputation as a sustainable, innovative and global business amongst external stakeholders, including customers, suppliers and partner organisations.
  • ‘Making a difference’ is a key leadership behaviour at BT – encouraging people to use their strengths to help communities in ways that make employees proud.

“ Over the last ten years we’ve evolved and deepened our disaster response capabilities, offering the most effective support possible – from helping to restore vital, life-saving communication links through our specialist Emergency Response team, to using our unique MyDonate technology to power the DEC’s appeals and process donations from the public.

“By bringing together our networks, technology and the hard work and expertise of our people, we can use the power of communications to make a better world.

“Over the last ten years we’ve evolved and deepened our disaster response capabilities, offering the most effective support possible – from helping to restore vital, life-saving communication links through our specialist Emergency Response team, to using our unique MyDonate technology to power the DEC’s appeals and process donations from the public. We’ve seen first-hand the difference this can make to the local community. I’m incredibly proud of our contribution and the intrinsic efforts of BT colleagues.”

– Gavin Patterson, CEO BT Group

BT’s disaster response has been mobilised many times, from installing communications support for the Indian Ocean tsunami relief effort in 2004, to providing secure online donation services for the DEC fundraising appeal for Syria in 2013.

BT has also responded to the Kashmir earthquakes in 2005, the 2010 floods in Pakistan, the Haiti Appeal of 2010, and in the UK, the Gloucester floods of 2007, the Cumbria floods in 2009 and the Wales floods in 2012.

Most recently, this capability and the emergency response team supported the 2013 Philippines typhoon response.

BT provides people and technology to respond to disasters, with two core elements: The Emergency Response Team (ERT) which restores communications infrastructure on the ground, and the end-to-end network infrastructure that enables DEC and other NGO appeals to launch fast and run effectively, including using its MyDonate platform to processes public donations securely. After Typhoon Haiyan, the DEC raised £10 million via MyDonate in a single 48 hour period.

The BT programme also restored vital communications in the Philippines that helped aid agencies co-ordinate and communities recover. BT volunteers across the business helped run telephone appeals to make a difference to those in need.

Editor’s Note:

Over the coming decades it is expected that both the frequency and intensity of international disasters will continue to increase due to multiple factors including climate change, urban migration, population growth and increased scarcity of natural resources. In the aftermath of a disaster, working closely with governments and the humanitarian community, business expertise, products and services can be utilised to reduce risk, build resilience and provide essential relief to communities affected.

The International Disaster Relief Award, supported by DFID, was created this year to recognise the positive action and relief provided in the immediate aftermath of international disasters by businesses.

The companies awarded a Big Tick in this category confirm that businesses have an important role to play in international disaster relief, risk mitigation and preparedness.

Beyond cash donations, each Big Tick company is using its core business resource to respond to international disasters. Collectively these businesses have helped over 2 million beneficiaries, provided 800 skilled volunteers and given 250,000 working days to support international disaster relief. The following examples demonstrate the significant value and impact businesses have made by working in partnership with humanitarian agencies, governments and disaster prone communities.

The case studies profiled in this series with Business in the Community, provide more detail about the programmes that achieved a Big Tick and those shortlisted for the top accolade.

This blog was previously published on Business in the Community and is reproduced with permission.

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