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


(Darrek Crissler) #81

I definitely agree that there is a correlation between unemployment and violence. Extending the access to capital through economic development improves socioeconomic conditions, which in turn reduces the need to turn to violent means. This is not just pertinent to international business, but this correlation also exists in urban areas within our own U.S. borders.

Tommy Hendrawan Then said:

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.


(Elizabeth Wanjiru Ng'ang'a) #82

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.


(Fuad Ponjevic) #83

When discussing companies' impact on peace it's easy to try and look only at the biggest acts and claim that not enough companies are doing so. But when you look into the topic you may find some small examples of how very big influential companies are making their way into a more sustainable way of doing business.

For example, H&M, Swedish national clothing-retail company, announced that it would aim to procure all of its cotton from sustainable sources by 2020. This is considered an extremely ambitious goal by major retailers but it sets the stage for other retailers to attempt to make similar changes. As part of this new focus on sustainability, H&M also launched it Conscious Collection, which features organic cotton and recycled fibers.

Clothing produces a lot of waste, and sadly is not always re-used, or given to a source for recycling. I believe H&M is taking a positive step in the future and trying to lead the way for other major retail producers to do the same, promoting peace through sustaining the planet.


(Collins Apuoyo) #84

I am joining in late into the conversation so some of my comments may be off the grain of discussion! I agree that marketing and social media can be avenues by which a business can contribute to peace. However care should be taken that such peace messages are not taken by the conflicting parties to support a particular view point. Messages - marketing and social media - have potential for being misinterpreted by those involved in the conflict and can lead to further conflict. Once a business is perceived to be aligned to any one side, the messaging can be used negatively and can fuel further strife.

I think that the best kind of business to actually bring about peaceful co-existence must be one driven by the community within which conflict exists. Let me share a obscure example of how business can contribute to peace in a local scale. In 2005 I participated in an activity that built a local trading centre/post in the midst of a region that was scene of prolonged and regular clashes between warring communities. This was done after the realisation that there was always some level of exchange going on between these communities (despite the war!). Once the trading centre was opened, people started coming to the centre to undertake local trade, and soon enough external traders started coming to the centre. Increasingly the local people started negotiating days when women could come to the market without being attacked. This was followed by local warlords establishing their own small businesses and making arrangements to protect the market from attack. Over time, this became a local centre for trade rather than war.

I think lasting peace must be driven from within and local business provide an incentive for people to seek peace. This does not preclude the fact that external businesses can also contribute to peace, but they have to be careful to understand the local dynamics.


(Fuad Ponjevic) #85

I strongly agree with your idea of business' helping develop the communities they operate in. That is one sure way to contribute to peace. The correlation between unemployment and violence is no coincidence. These people in these areas that live below the poverty line are turning to violent measures to provide. I believe it's very wrong for a lucrative business to operate in a country and do nothing for the people of that country.

Freeport McMoran specifically should put some of that money into the communities around their mines and that would in turn encourage other companies to do the same. They should make a public statement about the importance of supporting the economic development of these countries, this can only benefit human kind as a whole.

Tommy Hendrawan Then said:

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.


(Jason Market) #86

Many people complain that manufacturing jobs in the US are all moving to Mexico and other countries where production is more cost effective, and this is putting American workers out of jobs. This is true in some cases, however many overlook some of the good impacts this switch can have. For example, FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles) announced this summer that it would be ending production of all cars in the US, and it will be moving the production to Mexico. However, the current plants that produce cars in the US are going to be retooled to produce trucks and SUVs, and as a result will actually add jobs to the US auto production industry. A common trend in the auto industry recently has been to move car production out of the US to increase profit margins, but this has actually paved the way for increased production of trucks and SUVs in the US. This has created jobs in impoverished countries like Mexico all while employing more people in the US. Here is a link to the USA today article about FCA moving its car production from the US. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/07/28/fiat-chrysler-e...


(Jason Market) #87

Trust is key to any business relationship, and it may be even more important when collaborating with NGOs and other organizations. Without trust, there is little we can do to promote peace as peace and trust go hand-in-hand. I believe that promoting trust and partnership between companies and the other NGO players is a good step to start alleviating poverty and promoting peace on the world stage.

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.


(Qin Ding) #88

For the first question, I found there is a organization called United Nations Global Compact. There are about 9000 companies and 4000 non-businesses in this organization. As we known, the global economic losses due to violent conflict amounted to over 9.8 trillion dollars. Half of the world's population lives in high-risk and conlfict-affected areas. Many people think that only governments should be responsible for the peace and security. However, when companies and investors work to address these complex issues, they can eliminate the related risk and negative impacts.They can ensure the long-term financial performance.


(Qin Ding) #89

Now many public companies plays a important role in supporting peace and development. In addition, there are many private companies and NGO also start to engage in business for peace.


(Xiuyuan Yang) #90

Though individual entities can contribute to peace by different approaches, it is everybody’s job to make peace for the sake of the development of the society. Moreover, it is surely doable for different stakeholders to work together in pursuit of peace. In other words, businesses can contribute to peace by stimulating economics like creating jobs, businesses can also contribute to peace by interacting with government. To specify, government can create peace by preventing corruption from happening through regulation and internal control. On the other hand, in order to make peace, businesses need to follow the rule of law and cooperate with government’s regulation. So by working together, we can make peace in a faster and more effective way.

Anyways, I think that no matter for different entities to work together or individually to make, keep or build peace, the most important thing is that people need to have the right ethic about peace and the awareness of the significance of peace. Under this premise, we will be a lot more effective in the process.

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?


(Qin Ding) #91

As I mentioned before, United Nation Global Impact is a good example about cooperation of different stakeholders. According to this example, we can that NGO is the sponsor. The companies answer their announcements and join the organization to take part in activities. The governments also support these organizations.


(YIJING WANG) #92

Back in the old times, we have heard a lot of ways about how company promote the peace to the world by doing their own business. Using recycle materials and other renewable resource to reduce the waste materials during the production process is very common nowadays. Recently, I just heard a new lecture in our school, one of our alumni open a business using a new way to accumulate the money and using this money to help the kids in developing countries. When she travel to china, she has huge interest on the Chinese vans and she bring this idea back to america. Using the style of Chinese shoes and she made different colors. Different color means different kids to help. Each time when you buy the shoes, it is the same thing that you contribute one dollar to the kids. This business idea really attract people to buy the shoes. People love this idea and the meaning of the shoes. Nowadays, I think company should not only have the idea to use their business to build the peace, but also have innovation idea might be more helpful and attract more people to actually get involved into the business during their participation in your business.


(Varun Alse) #93

I think a great point that many of you have touched on is that companies don't have to directly focus efforts on peace initiatives, rather they could donate a percentage of profits to well-established nonprofit organizations whose main focus to instigate global peace. For example there are numerous anti-war and interfaith organizations that could be much more efficient with resources used and the overall outcome. One specific group is the United States Institute of Peace whose mission is to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflicts around the world by engaging directly in conflict zones and providing analysis, education and resources to those working for peace. However, before donating to these organizations, companies should take time to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that the money donated will be in safe hands and used to its potential.


(Varun Alse) #94

I agree, Jason. Many people tend to look at the surface of an issue and don't spend the time to investigate. To spin off your comment, my understanding is that globalization will boost our economy a majority of the time, as opposed to manufacturing and delivering goods domestically. Not to get too political, but some politicians want to bring all the jobs back to the US, raise tariffs on foreign goods. This will only weaken our international partners, leading to animosity between us and the rest of the world. If anything, this would diminish any sense of peace form an economic standpoint, which is counterproductive to the growth and powerhouse position of the United States.

Jason Market said:

Many people complain that manufacturing jobs in the US are all moving to Mexico and other countries where production is more cost effective, and this is putting American workers out of jobs. This is true in some cases, however many overlook some of the good impacts this switch can have. For example, FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles) announced this summer that it would be ending production of all cars in the US, and it will be moving the production to Mexico. However, the current plants that produce cars in the US are going to be retooled to produce trucks and SUVs, and as a result will actually add jobs to the US auto production industry. A common trend in the auto industry recently has been to move car production out of the US to increase profit margins, but this has actually paved the way for increased production of trucks and SUVs in the US. This has created jobs in impoverished countries like Mexico all while employing more people in the US. Here is a link to the USA today article about FCA moving its car production from the US. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/07/28/fiat-chrysler-e...


(Andrea JoAnne Brockman) #95

I think that Meagan's example of Budweiser's canned water movement is a great example of how large corporations can behave ethically. Too often, large corporations feel that doing a humanitarian effort requires too much time, money, and resources and would cut into their productivity. On a larger scale, a week dedicated to humanitarian efforts or ethical behavior won't have a huge impact on the company's profits.

Meagan Rathjen said:

Echoing a lot of what people have already said, business does have the ability to make an impact in a lot of big ways. Recently, Budweiser has spent a week canning water instead of beer to help the victims of the hurricane. This is a small way that businesses can help in crisis situations and help benefit the community. If all businesses did this, imagine the impact they could have on the world.

Budweiser gave up a week of their time. There are so many corporations that can do this and can actually make a difference in benefiting poverty and peace throughout the world.


(Moises Diaz) #96

Patagonia clothing company is a company that has corporate social responsibility a strong core of their corporation. Peace could take different meanings and Patagonia has gone far ways into improving the working conditions of their workers and given them a safer working environment. They also done 1% of the revenue to social causes and helping the planet.
For business nowadays, promoting piece could be done using various social media platforms. The culture of startups specially in many US cities, has spark the interest to work for the benefit of society instead of making money. I personally believe that the corporations making a big impact are the ones you don’t hear on the news every day. Small entrepreneurs are changing the landscape of the economy and helping fight poverty more every single day.
What we need now more than ever is the cooperating between leaders where peaceful conversations and solutions are reached. The only real way to fight poverty and promote well-being is taking action and that’s something that sometimes frustrates me because I don’t see it happening around the world.


(Alexander Mtsendero) #97

Business can contribute to peace in various ways. One could be through ensuring production processes do not emit a lot of carbon or pollute the environment thereby reducing climate unrest or chaos. For example, production processes that accommodate reuse and recycling and other efficient practices.Second is through employing locals in a community and contribute to reduction of unemployment and poverty in a society. This might bring about peace in the long term as improved livelihoods would entail reduction in theft and armed robbery due to economic inequity, for example.

Multinationals like Shell have invested a lot in sustainability after the oil spill scandal and do report on the triple bottom line. Therefore businesses whether large or small should be encouraged to report on their effects on people, profit and planet to ensure not only ethical standards are followed but also to enhance "world peace".

The global financial crisis of 2008 displayed how banks can act irrationally and contribute to global economic chaos that can be prevented through rational reporting. For example the reduction of interest rates to almost zero then meant no cushion of the bank products against risks no wonder the economic unrest. Rational reporting that encompasses the triple bottom line by institutions should be encouraged to prevent world chaos like that. For example, government policies should encourage responsible investments that would reduce not only people's poverty but also global warming in pursuit of world peace.


(Jessica Leish) #98

I love the Coke example! Yes, I can see what you are saying that this is potentially a marketing ploy, but it is important to remember that at the end of the day, these are for profit companies. If Coke can increase revenue while promoting peace, then so be it. At the end of the day, it is a win win situation. These large companies have a duty to sustain ethical business practices to indirectly promote peace, but I believe that these marketing campaigns help directly promote peace in society and make the company look great as well.

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.


(Moises Diaz) #99

I agree with what you say Varun. I think donating to an establish, reputable organization is the best way to know where your donation money is being spend plus it gives you the certainty that your donation is destined directly to help the cause. Going off from what you said, The Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting a few years ago, released a list of "America's Worst Charities". These are charities that literally raised billions of dollars, but gave hardly any of it to the people who need it. This goes to show, that conducting research about the charity is crucial into making an good donation, specially when we are talking about millions of dollars


Varun Alse said:

I think a great point that many of you have touched on is that companies don't have to directly focus efforts on peace initiatives, rather they could donate a percentage of profits to well-established nonprofit organizations whose main focus to instigate global peace. For example there are numerous anti-war and interfaith organizations that could be much more efficient with resources used and the overall outcome. One specific group is the United States Institute of Peace whose mission is to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflicts around the world by engaging directly in conflict zones and providing analysis, education and resources to those working for peace. However, before donating to these organizations, companies should take time to conduct thorough background checks to ensure that the money donated will be in safe hands and used to its potential.


(Moises Diaz) #100

Coca Cola is indeed a great example of this. They also have a program called 5by20. The idea is that Coca Cola is committed to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020. Usually this are women with little resources and Coca Cola gives them access to business skills, training courses, financial services and connections with peers or mentors. Coca Cola in general has been doing tremendous work to improve the well being of the world and other companies should looks at their actions as a great example of CSR.

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.