The private sector has long been a major contributor to humanitarian action and are increasingly at the forefront of humanitarian response, whether as a partner, donor or producer of goods and services for people in need.

Based on research in Kenya, Jordan, Indonesia and Haiti, this report examines how the private sector is currently contributing to humanitarian responses – and what role it may play in the future.

The research has revealed that businesses that approach disasters and humanitarian crises as commercial opportunities can be more beneficial for people affected by crises than those who try to be charitable by giving money or running corporate social responsibility projects.

However, a range of barriers restricts the role of private sector companies in humanitarian action. The paper offers a range of recommendations to offer a way forward to expand opportunities for the private sector to engage in humanitarian responses in the future.