Why might business contribute to peace?


(Alec Garwood) #101

Nicholas, I feel that companies do work directly towards peace in a way. Many larger corporations have created their own programs towards community relief and empowering people. Pepsi has recently begun a campaign, like many other companies, towards women in the workplace. They are directly working with people to show that women can do everything that men can do. They work to empower this women in a way so that they are comfortable and stronger in the workplace. This can in return reduce gender-based issues in business and help make the company and society a more peaceful place.

M Caitlin Young said:

I agree with your argument Nicholas that the average corporation's main goal is to make a profit. Without a profit focused culture, the company wouldn't make it shareholders happy and would eventually fail. For this reason, a business must have profit in mind but may indirectly contribute to peace along the way.

Nicholas Heiny said:

I would make the argument that most businesses help contribute to peace in an indirect, rather than direct, way. Most for-profit corporations biggest priority is to make a profit for their shareholders and stakeholders; peace is not the main driver. Academi (formerly Blackwater), Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and other defense companies and private military companies are perfect examples of delivering results to the stock and stakeholders before doing what's best of society, peace.

While most businesses don't directly work for peace, they indirectly can. Small companies and co-ops working in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, etc. help provide sources of income and relief for the dismal conditions in each country. By giving people the opportunity to work, they are less motivated to turn towards violence and the higher the income level in the country, generally less corruption occurs, which is a large factor in the creation and sustainment of violence in third world countries.


(Astha Bhargava) #102

The article, "Need, creed, and greed: Understanding why business leaders focus on issues of peace," describes that businesses typically have three reasons for building peace around the world. These include that the business requires peace in order to function and continue its operations (need), that the business believes that peace can create a more positive society and business environment (creed), and that the business needs more opportunity and consumers in order to generate more revenue (greed). It makes sense that an organization relies on a combination of these reasons in order to justify its peace making because very few companies exist at one of these three extremes. Knowing these reasons can help to explain and support why a company is taking a certain action that may not directly correlate to its mission statement or shareholders' needs. These reasons can also encourage other companies around the world to take action in order to build peace.


(Mark Francisco) #103

One reason why a business will potentially contribute to peace is to create a stable global environment. When conflict is minimized, business risks decrease because there is a lower probability that land will be seized by the government in a coup or that inflation will erase profits, to name a few examples. By aiding in the stable economic development of emerging countries, businesses can create new markets to sell their products and thus become market leaders. In addition to the natural human instinct that most people have to do what is morally right and help others, businesspeople are likely to engage in ethical conduct in situations where ethical behavior intersects and aligns with business and shareholder interests.


(Mark Francisco) #104

If businesses truly want to increase their contribution to peace around the world, then they can do so by modeling their company cultures, best practices, and ethical standards after positive examples seen elsewhere around the world. From other businesses, companies can draw from experiences with labor practices and rights, such as minimum wages and working conditions. From the government, businesses can develop their practices related to capital development with respect to the environment and local cultures. The most critical factor to continue to encourage businesses to contribute to peace would be through the creation of positive reinforcement and incentives, backed by necessary regulatory frameworks and laws. Empowering stakeholders who may not necessarily be shareholders also can potentially encourage more businesses to work to create and support peace. Examples of important stakeholders include employees, customers, and NGOs.


(Shelby Cornell) #105

I disagree that businesses don't make the decisions to contribute to peace based on morality. Often times, there are business decisions to make that would be costly but would largely benefit to the peace of a group (i.e. workers, communities that surround the business, etc). Following through with projects to benefit these groups that aren't necessarily shareholders means incurring costs with no direct profit potential. However, the argument is valid that the positive reputation benefit would bring in future profits for the company, although those are not guaranteed. I agree with your concluding point that each business either directly contributes or detracts from peace in one way or another. I don't think that consumers are as cognizant of companies actions unless they are broadcasted, which in most cases, they are not.

Alyse Phillips said:

I don't necessarily believe that businesses contribute to peace because they feel it's the morally right choice. I think decisions in business come from a desire to increase profits and build relationships with customers. When businesses make decisions to better the world by contributing to peace, they are also creating a positive reputation for themselves to appear socially responsible and invite a larger pool of investors. As the business world evolves, customers are expecting more from business owners and through social media they are always aware of the state of the business. Now more than ever it's necessary for business owners to consider how each decision they make to increase profits will be perceived in the media by the public. Regardless of motivation, I think the important thing to consider is if each particular business is contributing or detracting from peace.


(Shelby Cornell) #106

Ellen, I am intrigued by your point about learning from the past and the future crises that the world will face as a result of business practices. While some things won't correlate directly, it is clear to see where businesses and government have failed in the past that has brought chaos and war to various regions of the world. In this regard, businesses should be cognizant of the fact that their daily operations have an effect on the peace of the world in decades to come. The water crisis that you allude to will be very interesting to watch unfold, as water has been considered an undying resource that businesses have exploited for years. They must adjust their business practices to understand that it is not only necessary for their business development, but it is much more essential for human life, and therefore must be protected.


Ellen Yui said:

Business can be a force for good and promote peace by contributing to entrepreneurship and the economic sustenance of local/regional businesses and other institutions. Developing technologies that are easily adaptable to cultures, practices, methods and resources across the globe and that respond to the unique challenges of an area, and then sharing examples of best business and leadership practices that worked elsewhere is key. For instance, the water wars will make oil wars look like a cakewalk. We all need to help cultivate and benefit from the minds, talents, resources, intelligences, and histories of all peoples and cultures...or we all suffer and pay a steep price.

Special hello to Tim Fort!!! Greetings from Takoma Park!


(Astha Bhargava) #107

It makes sense that main goal of businesses around the world is profit for shareholders, not peace. If a business is not focused on providing for its shareholders, then it will cease to exist. However, being able to pursue both profit and peace would be incredibly beneficial for our society and the global business environment. As you mentioned, when a corporation provides jobs in the area that it operates, it creates more opportunity for people and raises the standard of living, which in turn reduces violence and builds peace. This is an action that many business can take, and by doing so, they will be able to contribute to the success of their business and to creating a more peaceful world.

Nicholas Heiny said:

I would make the argument that most businesses help contribute to peace in an indirect, rather than direct, way. Most for-profit corporations biggest priority is to make a profit for their shareholders and stakeholders; peace is not the main driver. Academi (formerly Blackwater), Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and other defense companies and private military companies are perfect examples of delivering results to the stock and stakeholders before doing what's best of society, peace.

While most businesses don't directly work for peace, they indirectly can. Small companies and co-ops working in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, etc. help provide sources of income and relief for the dismal conditions in each country. By giving people the opportunity to work, they are less motivated to turn towards violence and the higher the income level in the country, generally less corruption occurs, which is a large factor in the creation and sustainment of violence in third world countries.


(Daniel Schwartz) #108

I definitely agree with Jessica that the steps toward overall peace will be incremental. For something this widespread to take place, it will have to happen one company and industry at a time. People have mentioned that before social media and the internet, most people were only concerned with making a profit; however, nowadays, corporate responsibility and peace creation are more important and noticeable to consumers and investors. In school, peer pressure is always cast in a negative light, but here the pressure would be a great thing. If a company's competitors have begun to promote peace and they are not, consumers will notice and ask questions as to whether or not Company X cares about making the world a better place. With the transparency in the media right now combined with beneficial peer pressure, peace creation in the business world can be sustained one company at a time.

Jessica Cruse said:

I agree that steps toward overall peace in the business world will be very incremental. I believe peace within the business world is going to start within each individual company and from there going to happen naturally. Like Camden said, by doing things like creating an inclusive workforce and promoting a healthy work environment, employees are going to be much happier. Happy employees are going to be more likely to devote their time to their work and be passionate about a company in which they enjoy working at. With hardworking employees comes improvements in business practices and ideally growth and success for the business overall. At this point in time when companies think about creating peace I believe they should think less about external factors and what they can do to directly impact the community, and more about internal factors and make sure they have happy employees that are devoted to their work and always act with integrity. From there, I think everything else will happen naturally because others will start to look to these companies as role models and motivate other companies to take the same actions and act in the same manner.


(Jordan Bernstein) #109

Businesses actively contribute to peace in many ways. Businesses can create programs in which people can directly affect peace. Corporate values drive the reason behind starting these types of programs. Motivations for holding true to their corporate values will help them in the long-run. The fact that it will help the business in the long-run seems is the strongest motivation. Although businesses are in business to make a profit, in areas of concern they cannot help but contribute because it may affect their business. If things become restless then the markets can take a hit. Contribution to peace is positive for the macroeconomic view as well as the specific firm because the opposite of peace can have a global impact. In addition, a company can improve their reputation by making efforts towards peace. Becoming a consumer’s favorite brand for these types of initiatives tend to get rewarded with sales and attention. This attention can create more customers. I think this motivation will be the most important in the future because it is viewed positively by consumers and it aligns with the companies' values, but also creates peace.


(Jordan Bernstein) #110

As businesses move from a focus on shareholder value to shared value for all stakeholders this shows that they are contributing to peace not only for their bottom-line figures but for society affected by the business. Businesses see an alternative benefit to supporting world peace and acting as global businesses. When a company focuses on the stakeholders it includes their employees, the local community, and others affected by the business they practice. They can therefore contribute to peace for the stakeholders by becoming more environmentally friendly and aware of how their actions affect the communities they operate in. For example, being aware of their pollution emissions and how it affects the local water sources, air quality, and infrastructure. They can also promote peace in areas of unrest to help protect employees, customers, and the global playing field. These actions will allow them to create a positive view of their company. This could ultimately help the company's bottom line because it will make them a socially responsible company that people will want to do business with.


(Julia Rivera) #111

I believe that profit is largest reasoning for why business contribute to peace. The purpose of a business is to be profitable and many business see profit coming from peace bringing initiatives. Many companies are more profitable when they publicly boost of their efforts. Many consumers are interested in purchasing products from businesses that support peace efforts. There are many companies that have sustainable efforts because they feel that it is the right thing to do but in the end the most influential aspect is profit.


(Julia Rivera) #112

I completely agree, there are a lot of reasons why companies contribute to peace. Your comment makes me think of Toms shoes. For every shoe purchased, they give shoes to a child in need. Their main purpose is profit but they gained recognition for being charitable. They retain consumer support by continuing their donation efforts. You mentioned how bringing peace to business is a new phenomena; I think Toms was influential in the fact that they were early to the game. Hopefully more companies are able to have the success that they did and continue to be more peaceful in business.

Ellen Gottlieb said:

I believe that there are multiple different reasons why a business would be motivated to contribute to peace. As others have noted, contributing to peace can just be good business. More and more consumers are becoming more socially conscious and want the businesses they support to be socially conscious as well. In order for companies to gain and retain support, they need to be viewed as ethical, which goes hand in hand with being peaceful. Contributing to peace can give a company an additional point to market their brand on and stick out from their competition. Additionally, another reason why a business would be motivated to contribute to peace is because the leaders of the business are aware that contributing to peace is the right thing to do. However, it is important to note that bringing peace to business is only recently gaining popularity, and some industries are adapting more quickly than others. Because of this, it will be a slow process for the entire business world to truly become peaceful.


(Elizabeth O'Daniel) #113

Businesses are motivated to contribute to peace in several different ways. First, most businesses do better if there is peace and stability. It is corporate foreign policy to act in a way that is beneficial to our company. They may be making a significant contribution to peace and not even know it. Second, good ethics are admired in a company and by practicing good ethics one is contributing to peace. This is motivating because all businesses want to look attractive to the outside world for good publicity and recruiting reasons. Also, most businesses know that they will run better if there is peace and stability. And finally, a business recognizes that it simply is good business to be involved in fostering peace. This again is attractive for all business people acting in a way that is most advantageous to their company. Out of all these motivations, regarding the future, I think it is most important to know business run more smoothly with peace and stability. This is evident and crucial for company’s to be most efficient and profitable.


(Bryce Smith) #114

In today's society of mass media and information sharing, companies are in the public eye now more than ever. With that being said, I think a company who puts their resources into promoting a more peaceful world has a lot more to gain than a similar company in the past. On the flip side, a company who disregards this has a lot more to lose than ever before. In recalling The Ring of Gyges in Plato's Republic, I think this plays a large part into the reasons behind why business as a whole would want to contribute to peace.


(Bryce Smith) #115

I think profit is most definitely the biggest driver of business decisions. However, I don't think business become more profitable by boosting their peace keeping/making efforts. I think with today's culture of shaming for-profit businesses if they don't spend extra resources on humanitarian or environmental efforts, promoting peace is a means to sustain what profits they may currently have. In assuming the role of the devil's advocate, you could even say promoting peace is the "cost of doing business" in today's society.

Julia Rivera said:

I believe that profit is largest reasoning for why business contribute to peace. The purpose of a business is to be profitable and many business see profit coming from peace bringing initiatives. Many companies are more profitable when they publicly boost of their efforts. Many consumers are interested in purchasing products from businesses that support peace efforts. There are many companies that have sustainable efforts because they feel that it is the right thing to do but in the end the most influential aspect is profit.


(Young Jin Kim) #116

I understand where your opinion is coming from and generally agree with that. However, I don't think your claim of defense companies are not contributing to peace. Once again, I agree that existence of such firms can be a good example of how some firms are willing to do business in a way that could involve casualty or mass destruction. Despite that, i think they do make some contribution to the peace on their on ways to certain extent. Of course I have no intention of defend the way former Blackwater deal with jobs and Lockheed put immense amount of its budget to lobby, but without their personal guarding and advanced weapons could have ended up more casualties and fights due to less pressuring entities.

Nicholas Heiny said:

I would make the argument that most businesses help contribute to peace in an indirect, rather than direct, way. Most for-profit corporations biggest priority is to make a profit for their shareholders and stakeholders; peace is not the main driver. Academi (formerly Blackwater), Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and other defense companies and private military companies are perfect examples of delivering results to the stock and stakeholders before doing what's best of society, peace.

While most businesses don't directly work for peace, they indirectly can. Small companies and co-ops working in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, etc. help provide sources of income and relief for the dismal conditions in each country. By giving people the opportunity to work, they are less motivated to turn towards violence and the higher the income level in the country, generally less corruption occurs, which is a large factor in the creation and sustainment of violence in third world countries.


(Young Jin Kim) #117

I agree that profit is key factor that impacts company's decision to contribute to peace. I also believe that a company that really cares about creating peace would be the one that seek to maximize the profit of all related stakeholders and create sustainable environment where everyone can benefit. Typical stakeholders of a company are employees, shareholders, consumers, suppliers...etc. The fact that company chase after profit itself does not tell me that this company is creating peace because they could be harming some of its stakeholders to achieve their goal. i think it is more about the process they adopt to reach goal that determines whether they are worthy of being called peace promoting company.

Julia Rivera said:

I believe that profit is largest reasoning for why business contribute to peace. The purpose of a business is to be profitable and many business see profit coming from peace bringing initiatives. Many companies are more profitable when they publicly boost of their efforts. Many consumers are interested in purchasing products from businesses that support peace efforts. There are many companies that have sustainable efforts because they feel that it is the right thing to do but in the end the most influential aspect is profit.


(Saee Lele) #118

I agree with this. Paying attention to what drives small and medium sized business owners to contribute towards peace is important to create incentives for them to actively participate in peace-building and maintaining initiatives. Besides a small firm of today will go on to become a giant player in the industry. Nurturing a culture of commitment to peace and stability from the start will save costs and trouble in future.

LaVonn Schlegel said:

I think a challenge for all of us working in this space is to remember that overarching development goals agreed upon as important by the world community most likely wont be what's driving a local business who is just trying to find and contribute to stability and opportunity. There are goals and challenges at all levels here and we must look at our work and expectations through the eyes of those living the situation. I agree with Tim in that this conversation can't just be about the MNEs (although they are a critical player in the arena.) It has to embrace the local small business guy who is just trying to provide for his family and his community.


(Allison Penzenik) #119

I agree with this because consumers have access to more information about companies. This allows customers to be more selective when choosing to purchase goods and services from companies whose values better align with their own. As more companies invest money into peaceful behavior, it is becoming expected of every company by consumers. Therefore, in order to compete all companies must consider their actions that support a peaceful and ethical business environment.

Bryce Smith said:

In today's society of mass media and information sharing, companies are in the public eye now more than ever. With that being said, I think a company who puts their resources into promoting a more peaceful world has a lot more to gain than a similar company in the past. On the flip side, a company who disregards this has a lot more to lose than ever before. In recalling The Ring of Gyges in Plato's Republic, I think this plays a large part into the reasons behind why business as a whole would want to contribute to peace.


(Allison Penzenik) #120

I agree that incorporating peace into a company's business model is an effective way to promote peace in business. While I think this is a great strategy, businesses must truly believe in the ethical practices they choose to promote. If a company only promotes peace because of higher profits, then this strategy may fail. The company's culture and employees need to reflect ethical and peaceful behaviors at all times in order for a company to succeed with a business model based on peace.

Mark Francisco said:

If businesses truly want to increase their contribution to peace around the world, then they can do so by modeling their company cultures, best practices, and ethical standards after positive examples seen elsewhere around the world. From other businesses, companies can draw from experiences with labor practices and rights, such as minimum wages and working conditions. From the government, businesses can develop their practices related to capital development with respect to the environment and local cultures. The most critical factor to continue to encourage businesses to contribute to peace would be through the creation of positive reinforcement and incentives, backed by necessary regulatory frameworks and laws. Empowering stakeholders who may not necessarily be shareholders also can potentially encourage more businesses to work to create and support peace. Examples of important stakeholders include employees, customers, and NGOs.