It is possible to plan for unpredictable—yet inevitable—disasters.
For 140 years, Ball Corporation has been a leader in corporate citizenship committed to making a positive social impact for its employees—and in the communities where Ball employees live and work. Ball recognized early on the importance of supporting disaster recovery and preparedness and prioritized disaster response as one of its four strategic pillars. With extreme weather events on the rise and complex humanitarian crises requiring a more strategic approach driven by local communities, Ball realized it needed a way to prepare more holistically and respond faster.
A growing number of global disaster events
In 2021 alone, the Emergency Events Database recorded 432 disaster events related to natural hazards worldwide. Overall, these accounted for more than 10,000 deaths, affected nearly 102 million people, and caused an estimated US$252 billion in economic losses.
With so many events spanning the globe, Ball was confronted with the reality that it’s difficult to know when, where, and how to respond. Ball Corporation has more than 24,000 employees operating in more than 100 countries.
In the past, Ball has typically responded to natural disaster events, especially those that hit close to its Colorado headquarters. Ball has primarily relied on partnerships with large disaster relief agencies to support giving exclusively in North America. But as the climate crisis makes disasters around the world more frequent and more severe, more events hit close to home for Ball. Wanting to nimbly respond when disasters strike and meaningfully support affected communities, Ball found itself facing two ongoing challenges:
- An inability to engage employees outside of North America with local giving options in times of disaster; and,
- A lack of process or methodology to guide equitable and consistent disaster response efforts for its global community.
Without a framework to guide Ball in evaluating and responding, and with increased pressure from employees and others to act, Ball needed support.
Strategic disaster response decisions
Ball knows that determining when, where, and how to respond to a disaster is foundational to a strategic response program that is also consistent and equitable. So, Ball partnered with GlobalGiving to develop a comprehensive approach to disaster relief and recovery. A program that supports high-impact, community-led organizations in regions where their global team members live and work and invests in the resilience and full recovery of those communities was the goal.
GlobalGiving facilitated a strategic brainstorming session guiding internal Ball decision-makers through detailed questions, including the type, impact, and severity of disaster event, need, impact on employees and customers, geographic and business alignment, and activation opportunities. The result enabled Ball to identify and formalize priorities for its disaster response approach:
- The ability to engage domestic and international markets consistently and equitably with employee giving, ensuring the global team knows Ball supports them and is showing up when disasters happen; and,
- The ability to receive actionable information and recommendations to proactively share with Ball leadership, highlighting areas of greatest need and communities often overlooked for disaster funding.
A swift global response
With these clear priorities, GlobalGiving created a custom framework and turnkey tools for Ball. The tools help clarify and document Ball’s priorities and processes and also make it easy to consistently communicate activation decisions to employees and other important groups.
Flexibility and speed are critical in the wake of a disaster, and by leveraging these tools, Ball has been able to make faster, more targeted decisions and support local communities impacted by disaster events all over the globe.
Developing a disaster response framework—and partnering with GlobalGiving—has unlocked a new ability for us to analyze disasters consistently, respond globally, and align responses with our values.
— Jessica Leary, Global Community Relations Manager, Ball Corporation
Along with establishing key response criteria, Ball allocated resources to a disaster contingency fund designated to support rapid response efforts. In 2022 through its partnership with GlobalGiving, Ball donated more than $1M to support vetted, community-led organizations providing emergency response and recovery services in the wake of crises impacting team members and operations in Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, and the United States. Through the partnership, Ball continues to explore ways it can support disaster risk mitigation and preparedness activities alongside relief efforts for a more holistic approach to disaster response.
“In the face of an increasing number of disasters, my team at Ball sought to be responsive to the needs of the communities where our employees live and work,” Jessica Leary, Global Community Relations Manager at Ball Corporation, said.
Many brands, like Ball, want to support their local communities in times of disaster. But with pressure from multiple influential groups and competing business needs, it can be difficult to decide when and where to respond, and how much to support. It’s increasingly challenging to plan for the unpredictable without clear priorities, strategic guidelines, and frameworks for decision-making.
Each disaster brings unique contexts and challenges. From hurricanes to earthquakes, the type of disaster and its severity will differ dramatically every time. But written processes and decision trees can be useful tools for making and executing disaster response decisions.
Learn how to enable faster, more equitable decision-making by developing your disaster response priorities and processes with GlobalGiving.
Featured Photo: Helping Children Grow Up In Loving Families by Children In Families Organization