What are some practical examples and lessons from business contributions to peace?


(Xiuyuan Yang) #21

First point that came to my mind about how business can most effectively contribute to peace is by creating awareness because I believe that peace is a global concept, and somehow abstract for businesses to make contribution. However, if a business can increase people’s awareness about peace, it will be a great contribution. To specify, almost every company has its own culture, and to blend peace in a company’s culture is a good method to me to create awareness about peace. For example, to cooperate with fashion design companies and customize a uniform that has a peace logo on it in order to create a culture that against violation.


(John E. Katsos) #22

Most of the examples brought up so far have been, essentially, social justice as peace or so-called "positive peace" examples in relatively stable environments. These are business activities that address some kind of social inequity or what Johannes Galtung famously called "structural violence" in places that are relatively violence-free. So any company policy or activity that addresses a social justice issue would be an example of business promoting peace.

A more complex set of questions relate to how business can prevent or address personal and structural violence in violent conflict zones. How do you protect your employees from acts of violence committed by the government (or by each other)? How do you get communities to stop killing each other? How do you prevent personal violence from breaking out in a more direct way (as opposed to just addressing social justice issues that might be at the root of the violence)? In the paper with Professor Fort, I interviewed the Business for Peace Honorees. Three of them tackle the social justice side (Paul Polman, Poman Lo, Juan-Andres Cano) but two were addressing both the social justice and personal violence sides (Merrill Fernando and Zahi Khoury). This was largely because of location - Fernando and Khoury operated for much of the past 20 years in active conflict zones (Sri Lanka and Gaza/West Bank). The approaches are different mostly because of visibility. It is (relatively) easy to engage in social justice focused campaigns in places without violent conflict. It is (relatively) much more difficult to do so in an active area of violence, but, I would say, has far more impact.

To take the Coca-Cola example that many of you have brought up - they set up vending machines in Delhi, India and Karachi, Pakistan. They didn't set them up in Kashmir or its border provinces or Balochistan or Waziristan or Khalistan all of which have had regular and sustained violence over the last two years.There are greater reputational, financial, and physical risks to placement in these areas yet they likely would have a bigger impact on personal violence, i.e. the type that gets people killed. It is also substantially harder to do this, so companies like Coca-Cola do "easy" peacebuilding that is low-risk, low-reward from a violence-prevention standpoint, but low-risk high-reward from a marketing standpoint.


(Timothy L. Fort) #23

Not surprisingly, I agree with my co-author, Professor Katsos. There are some concrete examples now that can be looked to in order to see steps business can take


(pushpanath krishnamurthy) #24

Every business need to self audit every aspect of its process and produce, a simple but honest report that no aspect of its conduct directly or indirectly causes or contribute to conflict


(Paula Gutierrez Perez) #25

When I was posting this comment I was also thinking about Coca cola and its "Share a Coke" campaign. I think more companies should start doing this type of advertising since I do not think the cost of the company is going to increase and at the same time they could help people and promote peace. Social media is being really important and we can see this when criminal attacks occur. Every company post some type of comment in their social media in order to promote some type of peaceful and nice message.

Varun Alse said:

I agree with Paula that marketing can be an effective measure to promote peace. Beverage industry giant Coca Cola operates in over 200 countries and has done a great job of portraying this message through its advertisements. One recent example being its "Share a Coke" campaign, where the company encourages sharing Coke products and peace with other parties. Although this campaign is a more abstract signal of peace, Coca Cola has made it clear that they believe in peace on a global level. They have had many TV advertisements and billboards that show different cultures coming together around its product. Specifically, there are billboards displayed with the hands of people of different races holding a Coke bottle cap together. Yes, this could be seen as a ploy to exploit consumer behavior since consumers value companies that benefit the community. But my understanding is that whether we like it or not, advertisements like these do subliminally affect that way we think, and in this case, make us more exposed to the ideology of global peace.

Paula Gutierrez Perez said:

Thinking on the trends that are right now, I think business can contribute to peace in a lot of different ways. I think using marketing and social media to promote peace to people and share different positive and peaceful advertising campaigns will be a really good idea. Then, companies should start giving incentives and rewards to intercultural practices and activities, BMW is doing this right now. Lastly, I would say that increasing the diversity in the company will be a good idea to start promoting peace.


(Zahid Torres-Rahman) #26

Welcome to the live segment of this online written discussion!

Let me start by asking our panellists to introduce yourselves.


(Timothy L. Fort) #27

Tim Fort from Indiana University


(John E. Katsos) #28

Hello everyone I'm John Katsos from the American University of Sharjah. Please don't judge my typos!



Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Welcome to the live segment of this online written discussion!

Let me start by asking our panellists to introduce yourselves.


(Teodora H. Berkova) #29

Hi everyone, I'm Teodora I work with Pearson in our Social Innovation team


(Zahid Torres-Rahman) #30

Let's start with the first question:

Q1: Can you share practical examples of companies that have explicitly or implicitly impacted on peace? What lessons might we draw from their work?


(Louise Holden) #31

hi - this is Louise from MasterCard


(Patricia Kanashiro) #32

Hello All - This is Patricia Kanashiro, from Loyola University Maryland. Thank you for inviting me for this live discussion on business and peace!


(Eduardo Ramos Suarez) #33

From my experience at UN working in Colombia at the extractive industries in social conflicts with local communities I wrote this paper on the role of the oil and gas sector in the peacebuilding process in Colombia. I try to put the emphasis on the importance of participatory governance mechanisms (government-companies-local communities) in this sector through multi-stakeholder dialogue in order to create common views of human development as a part of the peacebuilding process in Colombia

Justo to share with U

http://www.revistasice.com/CachePDF/BICE_3073_39-52__257813000722ED...

Eduardo


(Teodora H. Berkova) #34

Pearson is partnering with Save the Children to improve education for children affected by conflict. Through our £1.5 million three-year ‘Every Child Learning’ partnership, our ambition is to increase educational opportunities for Syrian refugees and host communities, and innovate new solutions to help improve the delivery of education in emergency and conflict-affected settings. There are some strong links between access to quality education and peace.


(Timothy L. Fort) #35

One I referenced last week is Futrways in Northern Ireland that during the Teoubles hired half Catholics and half Protestants to provide a model and experience of working gogether


(Patricia Kanashiro) #36

One concrete example of businesses committed to social and environmental impacts are the B-corps, or Benefit corporations, certified by the B-Lab. There are approximately 1600 businesses in the world that carry this certification (i.e., Plum Organics, Seventh Generation, Natura) and have committed to the highest standards of transparency and accountability.


(Scott Shackelford) #37

Apologies for the delay, technical problems - Hi everyone, I'm Scott Shackelford, an Associate Professor at Indiana University looking at sustainable development and cybersecurity


(John E. Katsos) #38

An example of an explicit peace enhancement is the attempted reopening or the Panguna mine in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. The mine operator, BCL, had previously shut the mine, in part because it was accused of human rights abuses in Bougainville, which had a history of violent conflict with the central government. As the citizens of Bougainville prepare for a referendum on an autonomous state, the citizens and various community organizations were asked to initiate a local tribal dispute reolution process called a “bel kol” (or “cooling of the heart”) to resolve longstanding disputes in order to get the mine running again under BCL’s management. This will provided much needed revenue and employment for the community and will also reduce the violence against the facility that forced its shutdown.

The big takeaway is for companies to partner with local communities to have mutually beneficial relationships with the goal of ending violence and creating sustainable peace frameworks, not just ending relationships when they become difficult.

For background: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panguna_mine


(Scott Shackelford) #39

I've done some work in particular looking at how businesses can promote cyber peace


(Gaston Bilder) #40

Fully agree. We should discuss how should companies behave in conflict zones beyond looking after their employees and assets. Should they boycott? do they have any choice (sometimes there are different views influenced by corporate culture/organisation). Should they actively campaign for peace no matter why the conflict started? should they care about what their stakeholders think (or just try to reflect upon corporate values?)

John E. Katsos said:

Most of the examples brought up so far have been, essentially, social justice as peace or so-called "positive peace" examples in relatively stable environments. These are business activities that address some kind of social inequity or what Johannes Galtung famously called "structural violence" in places that are relatively violence-free. So any company policy or activity that addresses a social justice issue would be an example of business promoting peace.

A more complex set of questions relate to how business can prevent or address personal and structural violence in violent conflict zones. How do you protect your employees from acts of violence committed by the government (or by each other)? How do you get communities to stop killing each other? How do you prevent personal violence from breaking out in a more direct way (as opposed to just addressing social justice issues that might be at the root of the violence)? In the paper with Professor Fort, I interviewed the Business for Peace Honorees. Three of them tackle the social justice side (Paul Polman, Poman Lo, Juan-Andres Cano) but two were addressing both the social justice and personal violence sides (Merrill Fernando and Zahi Khoury). This was largely because of location - Fernando and Khoury operated for much of the past 20 years in active conflict zones (Sri Lanka and Gaza/West Bank). The approaches are different mostly because of visibility. It is (relatively) easy to engage in social justice focused campaigns in places without violent conflict. It is (relatively) much more difficult to do so in an active area of violence, but, I would say, has far more impact.

To take the Coca-Cola example that many of you have brought up - they set up vending machines in Delhi, India and Karachi, Pakistan. They didn't set them up in Kashmir or its border provinces or Balochistan or Waziristan or Khalistan all of which have had regular and sustained violence over the last two years.There are greater reputational, financial, and physical risks to placement in these areas yet they likely would have a bigger impact on personal violence, i.e. the type that gets people killed. It is also substantially harder to do this, so companies like Coca-Cola do "easy" peacebuilding that is low-risk, low-reward from a violence-prevention standpoint, but low-risk high-reward from a marketing standpoint.