The spirit of openness and responsibility that led Geneva to become home to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has shaped Fondation Lombard Odier‘s vision of business and community engagement.

    International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

    The ICRC has been at the forefront of humanitarian innovation since its creation over 150 years ago. However, the state of the world and accelerating pace of change require a higher capacity for innovation and evolution. In the last few decades, global developments in the conduct and nature of conflict, the politicisation of humanitarianism, technological developments and changing needs and expectations of beneficiaries have made it essential for the ICRC to adapt if it is to fulfil its mandate.

    To strengthen the institution’s capacity to innovate and aid victims of conflict, Fondation Lombard Odier has decided to allocate its contribution as an ICRC Corporate Support Group member to support the ICRC innovation initiative in creating internal momentum on innovation and mobilising additional partners and funds. 

    Since 2011, Fondation Lombard Odier has worked with the ICRC to enhance its capacity to respond to its challenges and collaborate with the private sector, relying chiefly on ICRC’s diverse and committed workforce in 80 field delegations and at its headquarters. As a result, ICRC created an Innovation Cell and Corporate Partnerships Unit at its headquarters in Geneva and launched a series of humanitarian innovation pilots in the field.

    At Fondation Lombard Odier, we believe innovative finance can ensure that philanthropic money is smart money. One example for this is a first-of-its-kind transaction we co-sponsored with the ICRC in 2017.

    The Programme for Humanitarian Impact Investment (PHII)—also called the Humanitarian Impact Bond (HIB)—saw private investors lend €22m of five-year funding to ICRC with a pay-per-performance mechanism. The project operates in Nigeria, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and will build and run three physical rehabilitation centres. The ICRC already runs 139 physical rehabilitation projects in 34 countries, helping more than 330,000 people with physiotherapy and mobility devices including wheelchairs and artificial limbs.

    a radical, innovative but at the same time logical step for the ICRC.

    For ICRC, this impact investment offered the opportunity to test a new economic model for aid provision, which—in the words of ICRC President Peter Maurer—is “a radical, innovative but at the same time logical step for the ICRC.”

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