Business as Unusual:
A case for collaboration between
humanitarian organisations and
the private sector

Copenhagen Business School (CBS) developed a teaching case study based on the Partnering for Change initiative, which is unprecedented in terms of both its scope and ambitious intent. All materials are freely accessible.

Humanitarian interventions are often complex and costly, and humanitarian organisations increasingly turn to private sector partners for funds, assistance and expertise. There are, however, often concerns about the viability and effectiveness of private-humanitarian collaborations, and humanitarian partners may have ethical concerns about involving the private sector in their work. The teaching case examines the complexities inherent in private-humanitarian collaborations.

“Future business leaders need to realise that sustainable business practices do not end at their own front door. It is, therefore, crucial to understand private sector engagement.”

Andreas Rasche, Professor of Business in Society, CBS Centre for Sustainability, Copenhagen Business School

Access the teaching case materials

CBS case study

CBS case teaching note

CBS Webinar recording

A teaching case to stimulate discussion

Though increasingly important, the topic of collaborations between humanitarian actors and the private sector has received little attention from researchers and is generally relatively neglected. To remedy this, CBS has created a freely accessible business case in collaboration with Partnering for Change. The case can be used as the basis for discussions on corporate responsibility, sustainable business practices and cross-sector partnerships. Educational objectives that can be achieved with the case study include humanitarian partnerships, corporate responsibility and citizenship, non-market strategy, international business, humanitarian relief and development studies. Given the importance of these topics, CBS has made the case study and teaching notes freely available.

Launch webinar

The case was launched at a dedicated webinar in 2021, during which representatives from some of the involved organisations discussed the Partnering for Change partnership and lessons for similar business-humanitarian collaborations.

Speakers were Andreas Rasche (Professor of Business in Society, Copenhagen Business School), Soraya Ramoul (Senior Director Global Access to Care, Novo Nordisk), Peter Klansø (International Director, Danish Red Cross), Mette Morsing (Global Head of Principles of Responsible Management Education, UN Global Compact).