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


(Patricia Kanashiro) #61

There are other ways that business can foster peace. For example, business can set the example by following ethical standards and enforcing federal and international regulations.

In my paper I talked about the the role of ABN AMRO Bank in Brazil in giving legitimacy to the issue of children’s and adolescents’ rights. ABN AMRO operated a social program in the poorest municipalities of Brazil, specially those with high incidence of child sexual abuse and child forced labor. ABN AMRO ran a campaign to raise awareness among families and local business people and provided social assistance to the children in vulnerable condition. One of the greatest results of the project was that child labor and child prostitution were no longer socially acceptable.


(Erik Smith) #62

I believe that people are driven to do terrible things in the search to survive but with that said it is not a requirement. I agree with John E Katsos you cannot stop at just aiding the economic development of a region. While it is required to promote long term growth and stability it does not prevent others from entering the area and either A) destroying it or B) pushing the people to violence anyway. For example if our efforts are focused on one village or region but not the surrounding ones as well to some degree we have now directly shifted the status quo in the region. No longer is village A the power in the region but now village B is. It can create jealously and that is why I don't advocate for direct economic aid but long term wide spread aid. Investing in education across a region, building and help fund hospitals. Potentially teach farmers new methods of farming without tying them to what we depend on in regards to farming. In the end while the feeling of satisfaction we get from short term results feels good it can potentially cause far more harm than we intend and thus should push for the long term even if they are not great marketing pieces.


(Louise Holden) #63

Public private partnerships can really work on the ground - enabling teams of people from difference sectors to come together and invest and deliver in sustainable solutions is key - sometimes public investment is needed to de risk private sector involvement. We wont achieve the SDGs unless we galvanise those partnerships - and as you said, sustainably

Patricia Kanashiro said:

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


(Zahid Torres-Rahman) #64

Great discussion. Let's move onto our final question:

Q3: How can different stakeholders, from business, government and civil society best work together in pursuit of peace?


(Angelika Rettberg) #65

I feel it is crucial to understand why business becomes involved in peacebuilding. In my article I suggest that some do it because they need to (in an unstable context or when they are themselves under fire and cannot exit). But other companies or business leaders may have a genuine desire to positively impact their environment (what I term "creed"). If you hold certain contexts constant, you will still see that some companies become involved, others don´t. And organizational values may play a role there. Finally, companies may find opportunity in promoting peace. This is similar to the need motive in that the reaction is dictated by the profit motive, but the context is different. To undertsand these differences among companies, and among national and foreign companies in conflict contexts is very important.


(Angelika Rettberg) #66

It is crucial to understand what each can offer and, also, what they cannot offer. Often times in conflict contexts companies are expected to fulfill all the roles that weak states are failing to fulfill. This is problematic in terms of definining responsibility and accountability.


(John E. Katsos) #67

Constant communication! It's amazing how little these groups interact and, when they do, it is usually through designated individuals who are fine with each other but who have very small roles within their organizations. It means "government relations" actually doing more than just lobbying the government and "partnership teams" doing more than just picking charities to work with. It largely means growing organizational capacity for partnerships. This is very difficult, but necessary if peace impact is actually what you care about as an organization.

Zahid Torres-Rahman said:

Great discussion. Let's move onto our final question:

Q3: How can different stakeholders, from business, government and civil society best work together in pursuit of peace?


(Aleia Elnaeim) #68

Hi John,

I am fully agree with you.

I believe that businesses can play a micro level operational prevention of conflict by participating directly in mediation or arbitration or by support these diplomacy preventive approaches. Additionally, businesses, on broader scale, can play a crucial role in preventing structural conflict by providing economic and social opportunity and stability which will reduce poverty, increase economic growth. This could be done by:

1- Representing the corporate sector as a strategic partner vis-à-vis other local and international actors engaged in conflict prevention and peacebuilding which would allow for extensive networked cooperation.

2- Design and implement corporate programs and projects aimed at building up local business capacity, through the transfer of technical know-how among other things.

3- Offering of advisory services to its member company.

4- Permanent staff should plan, coordinate and externally represent the agencies activities. Recruiting of employees from its members in temporary basis.



Louise Holden said:

Public private partnerships can really work on the ground - enabling teams of people from difference sectors to come together and invest and deliver in sustainable solutions is key - sometimes public investment is needed to de risk private sector involvement. We wont achieve the SDGs unless we galvanise those partnerships - and as you said, sustainably

Patricia Kanashiro said:

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) #69

In the first conference I ran on business and peace in 2001, I had representatives from civil society, business, and government. One of the clear (depressing) takeaways was that each sector thought the responsibility for peace lay in the other two sectors. I think we have grown past that through conversations like these and work from all of these sectors on peace where they see the intersections with others. I'd hope that those conversations continue and lead to increasing collaborative efforts.


(Teodora H. Berkova) #70

Recently we've seen a lot of attention and action from the private sector in terms of improving access to education for conflict affected children and youth, which as discussed above, has strong links to peace and stability specifically in post-conflict peacebuilding. Most of this work is happening through various types of partnerships with non-profits, but what we are seeing are a lot of different pilots, rather than joined up activity which limits the potential for impact. Coordination gaps between the wide range of actors also influence the continuity of education in fragile states, and this is similar for other sectors as well.


(Elizabeth Wanjiru Ng'ang'a) #71


I work for an organisation called Carolina for Kibera http://cfk.unc.edu/whatwedo/ based in Nairobi Kenya. Kibera, which is the second largest slum in the world is a cosmopolitan environment and highly volatile place that is extremely sensitive to the country's political dispensation at any given time. Infact, as someone once put it, "if you want to gauge the political temperatures in Kenya; put your thermometer in Kibera!" Kibera bore the brunt of the Post Election Violence that happened in 2007/2008 where more than 1,200 Kenyans were reported killed, 300,000 persons displaced and 42,000 houses and many businesses looted and destroyed. https://www.ushahidi.com/blog/2008/03/20/report-on-post-election-violence-in-kenya-un-human-rights-team/

Kibera is home to the current opposition leader as he has been their area MP for more than 2 decades and therefore the community pays a lot of allegiance to him. There has been serious utterances from members of both camps (the ruling party and the opposition party) on what each camp will do should they not win the election. This has also led to an array of demonstrations that begin from Kibera and spill over to other parts of the country either in support or to oppose the demonstrations. These has had adverse effects on small and medium businesses because of the looting and disruptions.

For the business community, "Peace gives you the license to operate and make profit" and therefore there should be every reason for every company to invest in Peace. I am not sure corporate institutions have the muscle to reach out to communities such as Kibera directly. Their contribution would be to support grassroots organisations that they can hold accountable to implement peace initiatives. This is because grassroots organisations have the social license that is given by a community for them to operate. The social license is through the day to day engagement with this community and the community affiliates to these organisations. We call it our Social Capital.

A practical example of our engagement is how we are currently running a peace program in Kibera using soccer ( where youth from different ethnic backgrounds compete for a Peace Cup) and women reaching out to aspiring candidates to publicly declare peace as they campaign.

This is more important than ever because failure to invest in the quest for peace only puts immense pressure on all stakeholders to correct the aftermath of a violent period and halts operations that translates to an economic halt.

Aleia Elnaeim said:



Louise Holden said:

Public private partnerships can really work on the ground - enabling teams of people from difference sectors to come together and invest and deliver in sustainable solutions is key - sometimes public investment is needed to de risk private sector involvement. We wont achieve the SDGs unless we galvanise those partnerships - and as you said, sustainably

Patricia Kanashiro said:

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

Hi John,

I am fully agree with you.

I believe that businesses can play a micro level operational prevention of conflict by participating directly in mediation or arbitration or by support these diplomacy preventive approaches. Additionally, businesses, on broader scale, can play a crucial role in preventing structural conflict by providing economic and social opportunity and stability which will reduce poverty, increase economic growth. This could be done by:

1- Representing the corporate sector as a strategic partner vis-à-vis other local and international actors engaged in conflict prevention and peacebuilding which would allow for extensive networked cooperation.

2- Design and implement corporate programs and projects aimed at building up local business capacity, through the transfer of technical know-how among other things.

3- Offering of advisory services to its member company.

4- Permanent staff should plan, coordinate and externally represent the agencies activities. Recruiting of employees from its members in temporary basis.


(Teodora H. Berkova) #72

Very much agree. Companies that have a longer term view, tend to invest in these setting to improve stability (and their own operating environment), as well as as an investment in their future customers and workforce without which they won't be able to grow in these markets.

Angelika Rettberg said:

I feel it is crucial to understand why business becomes involved in peacebuilding. In my article I suggest that some do it because they need to (in an unstable context or when they are themselves under fire and cannot exit). But other companies or business leaders may have a genuine desire to positively impact their environment (what I term "creed"). If you hold certain contexts constant, you will still see that some companies become involved, others don´t. And organizational values may play a role there. Finally, companies may find opportunity in promoting peace. This is similar to the need motive in that the reaction is dictated by the profit motive, but the context is different. To undertsand these differences among companies, and among national and foreign companies in conflict contexts is very important.


(Patricia Kanashiro) #73

I believe that businesses have the potential to significantly contribute to a sense of community by building network among their own stakeholders towards a common cause. Long -term peace building requires engage in one-on-one dialogue so that all involved understand that any form of violence is morally unacceptable.


(Scott Shackelford) #74

Couldn't agree more! We see this increasingly playing out in the integrated reporting context as well.


(Louise Holden) #75

public private partnerships first need the trust of civil society and governments in private sector. When we first started building PPPs in digital payments and building humanitarian solutions with NGOs, we faced some mistrust from public sector on our motives. We sometimes still do. We need to recognize that many private sector organizations have the capability, motivation, people and experience to help. we are not going to eradicate poverty or solve peace unless there is more cooperation and engagement. So we talk, shape, pilot, talk about experience and just sometimes roll our sleeves up and try things out in a controlled test environment.


(Tommy Hendrawan Then) #76

One of the practical examples of business has explicitly impacted to the peace is by providing economic development to the community where the business operates. Most businesses do not realize that they exist to create job opportunities which can lead to economic development. I believe that there is a correlation between unemployment and violence. For instance, in a community where most people are employed, the rate of crimes is low. In addition, I would like to give the real example about a business that exists in one community but, it does not have many contributions to the economic development which of creating violence in the community. The Freeport-McMoran exploits the gold and copper in Papua, Indonesia. They have been there since the 1960s yet, most people who live in the community where Freeport-McMoran exist still live under poverty line. In addition, the peace does not exist in this community and the crime rate is high.


(Zahid Torres-Rahman) #77

That brings us to the end of this live segment. Thanks for a great discussion!

We'll leave this discussion open, so please do continue to post your comments.

This discussion is part of a Challenge on Business and Peace that we are running with Indiana University. For the duration of the Challenge, you can have free access to articles from a new publication from Indiana University, via the article links above.

Thank you to our panellists and everyone else for joining us today.


(Elizabeth Wanjiru Ng'ang'a) #78

Carolina for Kibera can relate perfectly with this

Louise Holden said:

public private partnerships first need the trust of civil society and governments in private sector. When we first started building PPPs in digital payments and building humanitarian solutions with NGOs, we faced some mistrust from public sector on our motives. We sometimes still do. We need to recognize that many private sector organizations have the capability, motivation, people and experience to help. we are not going to eradicate poverty or solve peace unless there is more cooperation and engagement. So we talk, shape, pilot, talk about experience and just sometimes roll our sleeves up and try things out in a controlled test environment.


(Scott Shackelford) #79

Thanks all for a great discussion!


(Darrek Crissler) #80

Walmart does a phenomenal job of contributing to peace on an international scale. Their supply chain's 3rd world operations also have initiatives to alleviate poverty and advance human rights, which ultimately reduce socioeconomic instabilities and makes these regions more peaceful. These initiatives are also established in partnerships with international governmental agencies and NGOs, which increase collaboration and communication among global entities that can contribute to peaceful relations.