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


(Teodora H. Berkova) #41

For example, the process and content of education can have a powerful influence on an individual’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviour - education has an important role to play in maintaining and building peace. Conversely, exclusion from education fuels animosity and contributes to unstable societies. As one of the most far-reaching and visible forms of government, effective education service delivery is also an important component of building strong state systems.


(Louise Holden) #42

OK so I am going to share the implicit link between MasterCard's work in digital payments and peace. We made a commitment in 2014 to onboard 500 Million individuals into transactional banking. Plus 100 new merchants and micro merchants into the formal economy. Being connected to the formal economy enables individuals to better themselves - weather economic shocks and build resilience. This helps to tackle poverty at the bottom of the pyramid. Abject poverty drives so much of the political and social unrest we see today. It wont solve poverty on its own but being connected lifts individuals out of the world of transacting in cash -which costs individuals. It has been calculated in the UK alone it cost an additional £1400/annum to be outside of the formal economy. That doesn't seem fair for the poorest in society to have to incur those premiums.

So indirectly, enabling financial inclusion, gives individuals a chance to live a more secure, resilient environment


(Scott Shackelford) #43

As for your question in particular, businesses are promoting what could be considered cyber peace in various ways, including on the cybersecurity education front, economic development, trust building, and applying corporate social responsibility to the issue of, for example, critical infrastructure protection. A lot of the tools from the sustainable development movement are also applicable to cybersecurity, too, like integrated reporting and certification schemes.


(Gaston Bilder) #44

Ok; but you should also promote trade, commerce and startup activities among people with different ideologies.

Louise Holden said:

OK so I am going to share the implicit link between MasterCard's work in digital payments and peace. We made a commitment in 2014 to onboard 500 Million individuals into transactional banking. Plus 100 new merchants and micro merchants into the formal economy. Being connected to the formal economy enables individuals to better themselves - weather economic shocks and build resilience. This helps to tackle poverty at the bottom of the pyramid. Abject poverty drives so much of the political and social unrest we see today. It wont solve poverty on its own but being connected lifts individuals out of the world of transacting in cash -which costs individuals. It has been calculated in the UK alone it cost an additional £1400/annum to be outside of the formal economy. That doesn't seem fair for the poorest in society to have to incur those premiums.

So indirectly, enabling financial inclusion, gives individuals a chance to live a more secure, resilient environment


(anantha krishnan) #45

One example that I can provide is the production and marketing of clean cookstoves among the internally displaced persons or IDPs in Nigeria. Energy access and energy poverty is a main problem among the IDPs and lack of access to cooking fuel or fuel efficient cooking methods lead to conflict with the host community. I am involved in training women and youth in the production of clean cooking stoves and marketing them in one of the North Eastern states of Nigeria. Thus IDPs are seen not as burden to the host community, but as an asset or provider of a product that saves firewood and promotes health. But this is still at a small scale. If we are able to set up factories in the North East of Nigeria to produce cookstoves, produced by locally trained women and youth, conflict resulting from competition for scarce firewood can be minimized. IDPs returning to areas previously occupied by Boko Haram will also benefit from these stoves. In addition if cooking gas industry can set up refilling stations in the affected states, access to energy can contribute to peacebuilding.

With Safe and reliable access to energy, it wil be possible to meet the basic needs of life and hence contributing to conflict resolution and peacebuilding


(Louise Holden) #46

great point Gaston - and that is exactly what we do with our network. We focus on our DNA of payments and technology and that means supporting businesses to grow, micro merchants to move into formal economies, enabling cash flow to those companies most in need. Supporting ecosystems


(Zahid Torres-Rahman) #47

Thanks for all the examples and insights so far! Let's move on to the next question:

Q2: Thinking about some of the current trends, what are some of the other ways in which businesses can most effectively contribute to peace?


(John E. Katsos) #48

Companies could stop operating in conflict zones when they become too violent (as BCL did in 1989 with Panguna). The problem with that, from a peace promotion standpoint, is that it takes away legitimate income from people who desperately need it meaning that they are much more likely to engage in coping mechanisms that make that conflict worse simply to support themselves and their families. From my perspective a company should be advocating non-violence full-stop, but this is a value judgement plain and simple.

Gaston Bilder said:

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.


(Erik Smith) #49


Agreed, and I would go further saying that MIcrosoft has gone beyond the social media marketing efforts of pushing for peace and has actually worked to make it happen. Bill Gates managed to foster a culture within the company and that is illustrated not only in his own work but in the work of his former employees as well. Their employees raised 114 Mil;lion alone for charitable giving to help reduce the suffering of people around the world. By elevating their situation they help remove the immediate need to take what they need. And since 1983 Microsoft has given over a billion dollars in aid to various charities. I hope to see them go further in the future and if this includes a greater social media presence then they can potentially reach out to far more than they have before.
Joana Cruz said:

Tech companies such as Microsoft and Google have had relatively contributed to peace, both explicitly and implicitly. Microsoft, for example, openly says how everything starts with building a good community within their company. Fostering healthy relationships between individuals and embracing diversity and inclusivity within the firm. This culture within the firm builds up as a habit within all people, and in turn unconsciously practice ethical conducts inside and outside the firm. They are very involve in supporting and volunteering within their community.

We are also aware that nowadays, the number of people having access to internet and technology, in general, is growing. People may not realize that they hold confidential data across industries and that they are also responsible for protecting its integrity and privacy. These tech-giants have managed to promote trust by building and enhancing security within their technologies and protecting data and information from people with bad intentions. They also constantly innovate products that they believe can make the world a better place to live in.

In connection to Paula’s comment above, I agree that marketing and social media can have a large impact in promoting peace. Like what I have mentioned previously, there is a growing number of people having access to internet, and so is an increasing awareness to what is happening globally. Through communication in technology, it helps us builds awareness and understand each other’s perspective better. In turn, a larger number of people can also gain consciousness on how to help others since a greater number of minds can collaborate on making solutions to building and fostering peace.


(Louise Holden) #50

If they can and where possible, companies have a role in sharing information and insights. Also, companies can help rebuild communities. I met a small start up at the Solutions Summit at the UN General Assembly who had launched a information and social site in Syria. Helping shed more light on the plight of some cities and families. Enabling others to bring help and support to current and future conflict zones

Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Thanks for all the examples and insights so far! Let's move on to the next question:

Q2: Thinking about some of the current trends, what are some of the other ways in which businesses can most effectively contribute to peace?


(John E. Katsos) #51

To me the big limitation currently is that businesses are taking standard CSR practices (e.g. building hospitals and schools), applying them in conflict zones, and then claiming they are promoting peace. These practices might be promoting peace or they might be grossly distorting economic incentives on the ground that actually make the conflict worse or they might have zero peace impact. CSR does not de facto equal peace promotion. Once we accept this, we can start to examine ways in which companies might direct their resources toward violence prevention on the one hand and peace building on the other. This means:

a) economic development is a necessary but not sufficient condition for peace promotion and violence prevention,

b) every activity must be tailored to the specific conflict zone in order to have a real peace impact,

c) peace promotion will require different approaches than violence prevention.


(Teodora H. Berkova) #52

There's a lot of due diligence to be done in terms of where and with who companies choose to operate with, especially in conflict affected settings. As is often seen with extractives, if the market doesn't have stable and effective institutions to regulate foreign company operations in a way that protects citizens from negative impacts, and promotes inclusive economic development, than companies should rethink entering that market to begin with.


(Scott Shackelford) #53

Interesting angle, and for what it's worth, Angela McCay from Microsoft is coming to discuss cybersecurity norm building from the private sector, which has increasingly informed discussions of due diligence, for example.

Erik Smith said:


Agreed, and I would go further saying that MIcrosoft has gone beyond the social media marketing efforts of pushing for peace and has actually worked to make it happen. Bill Gates managed to foster a culture within the company and that is illustrated not only in his own work but in the work of his former employees as well. Their employees raised 114 Mil;lion alone for charitable giving to help reduce the suffering of people around the world. By elevating their situation they help remove the immediate need to take what they need. And since 1983 Microsoft has given over a billion dollars in aid to various charities. I hope to see them go further in the future and if this includes a greater social media presence then they can potentially reach out to far more than they have before.
Joana Cruz said:

Tech companies such as Microsoft and Google have had relatively contributed to peace, both explicitly and implicitly. Microsoft, for example, openly says how everything starts with building a good community within their company. Fostering healthy relationships between individuals and embracing diversity and inclusivity within the firm. This culture within the firm builds up as a habit within all people, and in turn unconsciously practice ethical conducts inside and outside the firm. They are very involve in supporting and volunteering within their community.

We are also aware that nowadays, the number of people having access to internet and technology, in general, is growing. People may not realize that they hold confidential data across industries and that they are also responsible for protecting its integrity and privacy. These tech-giants have managed to promote trust by building and enhancing security within their technologies and protecting data and information from people with bad intentions. They also constantly innovate products that they believe can make the world a better place to live in.

In connection to Paula’s comment above, I agree that marketing and social media can have a large impact in promoting peace. Like what I have mentioned previously, there is a growing number of people having access to internet, and so is an increasing awareness to what is happening globally. Through communication in technology, it helps us builds awareness and understand each other’s perspective better. In turn, a larger number of people can also gain consciousness on how to help others since a greater number of minds can collaborate on making solutions to building and fostering peace.


(Patricia Kanashiro) #54

Hi John -

I absolutely agree with you, business partnership with the local community and local government are key to the long-term succcess of any peace building effort. Businesses may eventually leave the region/ community but the locals and the government are permanent institutions.



John E. Katsos said:

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


(Timothy L. Fort) #55

I would add that there are anthropological studies of the attributes of non-violent societies. Some of those are attention to equality, voice of all members of the community, organizational sizing so that there is a sense of community and empowerment. I think these attributes can be integrated into corporate structures with peacebuilding consequences


(kalilou Dama) #56

Empowering young people and women with Entrepreneurship skills is allowing them to avoid rebels groups in Mali. YES Inc MALI is doeing so for 4 years in a PPP contxt with Mali Government. Making busy people through BUSINESS can contribute to Peace

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(Gaston Bilder) #57

I partially agree, because besides counting on regulation, there are opportunities for self-restraint (even after extensive due diligence).

Also they could decide to enter a market (as a foreign investor) under certain publicly acceptable/communicated rules, ie I will only invest if ... or subject to controlling (or having a third party control) that the positive impacts outweight the negative.

Teodora H. Berkova said:

There's a lot of due diligence to be done in terms of where and with who companies choose to operate with, especially in conflict affected settings. As is often seen with extractives, if the market doesn't have stable and effective institutions to regulate foreign company operations in a way that protects citizens from negative effects, and promotes inclusive economic development, than companies should rethink entering that market to begin with.


(Timothy L. Fort) #58

Agreed! Corporate attention to gender equality is crucial


(John E. Katsos) #59

Yes and multinationals have shown that they can be pretty good at helping address these "structural violence" issues (sorry, I really love Galtung!). This will absolutely help in reducing violence (as compared to nothing) but there is something we rarely talk about: the Marxist critique that capitalist organizations contribute to capitalist systems which themselves are structurally violent. We basically have to ignore that critique in the entire business for peace discussion.

Timothy L. Fort said:

I would add that there are anthropological studies of the attributes of non-violent societies. Some of those are attention to equality, voice of all members of the community, organizational sizing so that there is a sense of community and empowerment. I think these attributes can be integrated into corporate structures with peacebuilding consequences

(kalilou Dama) #60