Why might business contribute to peace?


(Luke Humphrey) #121

In today's business environment, it is much easier for consumers to keep tabs on their favorite businesses' ethical or unethical behavior. With this in mind, businesses much act more ethically than ever, or else risk not only sanctions and fines but also consumers migrating to another product. This was recently seen in Volkswagon's emissions scandal, with customers who admitted they didn't even care about the environment switching to competitors just out of principal. When this drive for more ethical business can be partnered with a care for global peace, then businesses can further the triple bottom line- people, profits, and planet more efficiently.


(Luke Humphrey) #122

Caroline, you bring up an interesting point when you say that businesses need to look long-term in order to promote peace. With so many companies incentivized to prioritize short-term gains, it may take an entire culture change in some companies in order to get them to a point where long-term growth that leads to peace is promoted. Whether or not this is a change that some companies are willing to make is really up to the management and employee base of each individual company. However, with business transparency and the rise of social media in recent years, the trend is looking good in terms of whether or not these companies will come to see the benefits of long-term growth and ethical decision-making.
Caroline Bleser said:

I also think one implication in balancing shareholder theory and shared stakeholder theory is that the timeline is important. Due to pressures from Wall Street to produce sales increases and improved bottom lines every quarter, many companies are forced to think about the short term in order to survive. Effective peace initiatives, however, are strategic and might not take a fiscal quarter to complete. It’s important for companies to balance between the short term and long term in accordance with these implications. Short-term monetary success might prove to be enough for the shareholder, but the stakeholder who expects peace initiatives might be looking out for the long-term brand reputation. Companies that do wish to create peace can learn several things from political and diplomatic leaders. By learning about the culture and values of foreign countries that company’s want to make peace in, they can target those specific values and ensure that stakeholders are positively affected in a way that goes beyond just making the firm’s reputation look good. Firms can also learn about regulations and policies that can help or hinder their initiatives.


(Luke Humphrey) #123


Camden, it is interesting how you say that change from businesses must come from within each individual corporation, as opposed to having been steered toward a more ethical direction by outside NGO's and government. With this in mind, I feel like the trend of businesses in recent years of pushing these corporations to be more ethical and transparent with the rise of social media and the ease at which word spreads should see more and more corporations, hopefully, turn to more ethical and peaceful decision-making in the next few years, not only to merely create a positive image, but also hopefully because they are being driven by profits to do so.
Camden Newton said:

I agree with your two ideas about why a business might contribute to peace. With that being said, most organizations are primarily only focused on the bottom line and being a successful company. I think it would be hard to convince businesses to start making huge efforts towards peace. A company cares the most about its success so I believe, that is the most important motivator for continuing peace in the future. As Tim Fort noted, respecting employees and treating them fairly contributes to peace. If companies can end the old practices of discrimination based on age, gender, race, and other factors than it can help businesses. By creating an inclusive workforce and hiring people based on qualifications rather than physical differences improves peace as well as the bottom line. The incremental approach also plays a role in this because taking small steps towards overall peace will change the environment and hopefully become common practice. If this is the case peace will eventually be reached and businesses might not even notice they are doing it.


(Luke Humphrey) #124

It is interesting how you bring up that businesses would chose to pursue peaceful and ethical decision-making out of self-interest purely, and how there would be certain situations in which they could get in potentially hot water by involving themselves in these so-called situations of unrest. Under this method of thinking, the decision to involve a businesses in more ethical decision-making could be seen as an opportunity by all involved to not merely cover themselves as to appear more ethical to consumers, but to use it as a real marketing and growth opportunity to the world.

Thomas Bolanowski said:

Businesses can contribute to peace in many ways. A business can take an active role in the pursuit of peace by creating platforms in which people can directly affect peace and make a stance to promote peace in areas of unrest. Motivations for this kind of action could include it being the right thing to do, or it may help them in the long-run. The fact that it will help the business in the long-run seems like the most obvious motivation. Businesses are in business to make a profit, and it is hard to do that in areas of unrest. Also, a firm viewed positively by consumers for its efforts to create peace might become a consumers choice for a product or service for that reason. When a company uses its resources to benefit society, society tends to reward them with praise and attention. This attention can then create loyal customers or new customers from word-of-mouth marketing. I think this motivation to be viewed positively by society will be the most important in the future because it aligns with the companies' strategy, but also creates peace as a result.


(Saee Lele) #125

You make a great point about businesses trying to contribute towards peace and stability in local areas. I read about political and economic instability stemming from and leading to more illiteracy, poor living standards and poor living conditions in six novels last year. The situation in Zimbabwe you describe is similar to the plot of the book One Day of Life by Manlio Argueta. You might find the read to be interesting!

Businesses should certainly facilitate more educational and training programs to train local residents and give them a good source of livelihood, in order to maintain stability, specially in more conflict ridden or conflict prone regions. Starting small and then focusing on larger areas will probably give better, more long-lasting results.

Daphne Halkias said:

Business can do much to work on regional conflicts that interfere with peace initiatives between political and social groups in developing nations. Without peace "within nations", business or anyone will find the building of peace between nations an impossibility. Conflict within developing nations undermines their growing economic systems and particularly the livelihoods of the economically disadvantaged groups. Take for example the challenges smallholder farmer s face in Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, as in much if sub-Saharan Africa, land underpins the economic, social and the political lives of the majority of the people. There is evidence that the lack of suitable mechanisms for disseminating the available knowledge on sustainable land management from business educators to smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe presents a barrier for innovation and sustainable adoption of viable land management techniques. Should smallholder farmers not receive training in sustainable land management techniques, the persistence of intragroup conflicts, poverty, deteriorating living conditions, multi-nutrition and diseases will continue to challenges the fragile livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the country. Education is one of the best means Business has in fighting for peace within nations.


(Saee Lele) #126

I think you and Camden make a good point about focusing on internal culture and attitude towards peace- building initiatives. However, I think an equal amount of emphasis needs to be placed on the business's responsibility towards the betterment of the society. When the organization's commitment and goals are clear, it will attract the right kind of employees and then training and educating them to fulfill the company's objectives will be a more effective process. That emphasis on their commitment would motivate employees to work towards the organization's goals.

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.


(Jennifer Redden) #127

Jessica, I appreciate how you break it down in terms of an incremental approach to peace in the business world. It’s not going to happen all at once, but it’s going to take every business doing their part to build peace within their organization - starting from the ground up, making sure employees are happy. Businesses are often looked to as a beacon of hope. Successful companies have even more pressure to perform well as a company socially. As Daniel mentions above as well, social media has created more pressure for companies to do more than make high profits. Based on shareholder theory, people want to see a company investing in their employees to build peaceful relations because these customers believe the company’s actions will affect them personally. Social media makes this even more of a bigger problem because companies are constantly receiving critical feedback 24/7 from all kinds of current and potential customers. In order to keep companies in the proactive mode in terms of building peace, it’s important for companies to build peace from within and then focus on external factors. This will create a seamless transition for the company.

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.


(Jennifer Redden) #128

Nicholas, I think you bring up a very intriguing point! Businesses like Academi and BAE Systems are great examples of how companies contribute to peace on an external scale. These businesses deal with what’s currently a forefront issue in society to help build the peace in the community. This kind of peace keeping is absolutely necessary to have in our day to day lives because it’s a realistic and valid approach to building peace within a society. A society where peace may already be disrupted. Additionally, your point of small companies and co-ops working in less fortunate countries is another valid point of indirectly building peace in society. Furthermore, I think this a way companies could learn to build peace from within. While companies focus on investing in their employees to build for a happier workforce, I think it could be a major possibility for companies to add in their drive and focus in creating a better world around them. A massive company could partner with a smaller nonprofit and build their values into their own massive corporation to help build peace from within. When their workforce sees their company investing not only in them, but in the betterment of the world around them, this could lead to an extremely devoted and inspired workforce.

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.


(Emily Wilets) #129

A reason that businesses might contribute to peace is because they are more profitable during peaceful times. In times of unrest, people are less likely to spend their money due to the lack of clarity in their futures. Of course, when people are not spending money, business is not nearly as profitable. Businesses will contribute to peace to keep the unrest out and encourage people to exercise their buying power. As long as there is peace, people are more comfortable spending their money. Therefore, it is in a business’ best interest to contribute to peace now to reduce a possible decline in profitability in the future. This relates back to shareholder theory because, in the end, a business is supposed to be profitable and give back to their shareholders. This creates a circular effect because if a business contributes money and energy to peace now, profits will increase, leading them to have more money to contribute to peace in the future, and on and on. With profitability in mind, I think that businesses can almost view this as a sole motivator to contribute to peace.


(Emily Wilets) #130

Businesses should just take a look at areas of unrest and see how they have grown since the rougher times. Thinking of places where peace may not be a given, one common theme is trying to help the economy. A popular vision that political and diplomatic leaders have when trying to help their country is to first help their economy, which leads back to business. The best practice is to make safe decisions that help raise profits and improve the economy for the entire country. A very important part of any organization/community/country/etc is their economy, and very little improvement can be made before the economy starts to rise again. Businesses are key in developing a country and their future successes, so it is important that they are on board with the peace efforts before everyone pushes forward to a hopefully peaceful future.


(Emily Wilets) #131

I agree that not only are they helping the “here and now”, but that they are making waves for the future and encouraging future peaceful gestures. Peace is not just a one-and-done thing; peace must be consistent for our communities and the world to grow. By helping peace in the long run, businesses are buying into a bigger picture of success and growth. I personally believe that profits are a major motivator for businesses, but that the people behind these businesses must have a soul and see the vision of peace through just the profits. You made a great point that by contributing to peace, business are not only helping their profits, but are helping the people in the business and in the community surrounding it, therefore supporting stakeholder theory. This helps their vision for success and their image as a supporter of peace and peaceful actions. I thought it was interesting how you hinted that what goes around comes around and the businesses will be better if in the end if they contribute to peace now.



Thomas Bolanowski said:

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 the immediate payout for their shareholders, but for the good of everyone associated with the business. This indicates that they are doing this because they see a greater benefit to helping promote peace than a quick payout. This doesn't necessarily mean that profits are not a reason. When a company focuses on the stakeholders they may look at their employees, the people in the communities they serve and work in, and anyone affected by the business they practice. They can therefore contribute to peace for the stakeholders by practicing more environmentally friendly actions within the communities they operate. They can also promote peace in areas of unrest to help protect employees and customers. These actions will allow them to create a company that is viewed positively and has integrity. 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. A business acting unselfishly attracts more business than a company that disregards the effects its business has on the people it serves.


(Emily Wilets) #132

This was my method of thinking too, Julia. Some people, business students included, think that a business’ sole purpose in society is to generate profits and push that cash flow through the economic system. I am not sure that a business’s efforts to support peace really pass through the minds of most consumers. As much as I’d like to think that all consumers are socially responsible spenders, I think that there are other motivators that drive them to make the spending decisions that they make, which would mean that peaceful efforts are noticed by a small fraction of consumers. The term “charitable” is placed on a lot of initiatives by businesses, and I think that because the trend of helping the community has become so prominent in society, consumers notice it (or take it into account when making decisions) much less than they used to. In regards to peace, I think that there are less companies that we see everyday making these strides towards a peaceful world, so these companies have a better image in our minds, but I do not really think that influences our decisions enough. I think that companies deep down think that it is the right thing to do but are also motivated by profits.



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.


(Yunzhu Shen) #133

I agree with you that the goals of most businesses are making money, not contribute to peace. Therefore, if we want to engage more businesses in peace contribution, we should tell them the profit or benefit they can get from what they do. For the company, when it does some good things for the society, customers who care about social responsibilities will be willing to spend more money for the products from it. Also, it can attract more stockholders who prefer to invest their money in companies which have good reputations. For the society, companies can help create a better environment by contributing to peace and it is not only for other people, it is also for the company itself. It is impossible for companies to earn a lot of profits without a stable business environment. I think possible benefits will be a good motivation for companies to contribute to peace.



Astha Bhargava said:

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.


(Yunzhu Shen) #134

I agree with your opinion that there will be many benefits for companies which contribute to peace. As you said at first, businesses can actively contribute to peace in many ways. However, I do not think every company knows their possible connection with peace and what they can do to contribute. It is actually really simple for a company to contribute to peace even without any extra expense. When a company provides job offers for people, it helps reduce the unemployment rate, improve the stability of the living environment and therefore contribute to peace. When a company refuses to accept bribes, it also helps create a peaceful environment. So I think it can be a motivation for companies if they realize the importance of peace for their businesses and the little cost of peace contribution.


Jordan Bernstein said:

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.


(Nick Reuter) #135

I agree with this idea that people are much more conscious of brands that violate peoples’ trust. I also want to add an idea that this breach of trust can contribute to peace or a lack thereof. When brands like Volkswagen cheat on emissions tests, it brings to the forefront issues like environmental protection and skepticism of the morality of large businesses. Those two issues in the spotlight among the public are the lingering effects of the VW scandal, and it remains to be seen if this necessarily contributes to peace, but it certainly will affect consumer behavior and set precedent for the moral behavior of corporations.


Luke Humphrey said:

In today's business environment, it is much easier for consumers to keep tabs on their favorite businesses' ethical or unethical behavior. With this in mind, businesses much act more ethically than ever, or else risk not only sanctions and fines but also consumers migrating to another product. This was recently seen in Volkswagon's emissions scandal, with customers who admitted they didn't even care about the environment switching to competitors just out of principal. When this drive for more ethical business can be partnered with a care for global peace, then businesses can further the triple bottom line- people, profits, and planet more efficiently.


(Nick Reuter) #136

Going off your comment about stability in the economy as a result of business' contribution to peace, I believe there is a connection to risks in the global economy to the effectiveness of businesses in promoting peace. In conditions of high risk or weak economic times, people are more likely to act in fierce competition, thereby potentially increasing unrest associated with economic activity. However, in developed, stable economies, we can take more liberty to consider things like the “triple bottom line” where we consider people, profit and planet to be as important as financial results at the end of the day. It is the sustainable mentality that allows for businesses to look at the greater social impact of their businesses, and this is what can allow businesses to promote peace. If businesses are polluting the environment as they struggle to make profits, or are failing and laying people off in the process, they are not contributing to making the world a more peaceful place.



Mark Francisco said:

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.


(Nick Reuter) #137

I believe that business can promote peace by enabling economic empowerment, and in turn, by promoting economic empowerment they strengthen the economy as a whole. Business, and an economy that includes a population in producing and purchasing goods can provide structure when there otherwise wouldn’t be. This may be a reason why crime rates are lower in areas with low unemployment and areas with many people unemployed have higher crime. Being able to devote oneself to an occupation, and having easy access to goods and necessities greatly contributes to the enrichment in people’s lives and it obviously immensely increases peoples’ living standards. This reduces unrest, gives populaces organization and structure, and promotes peace in the process. Businesses are motivated to take a part in this process because without being good corporate citizens and positively impacting the communities in which they operate, they in turn weaken the economies in which they operate. It is therefore mutually beneficial for businesses to promote peace and prosperity and for communities to allow them to do so.


(Nick Reuter) #138

A key driver of corporate social responsibility is the notion of a triple bottom line- people, planet and profit. Shareholder theory focuses on profits, and ensuring investors interests are being reflected in executive decision-making. However, when one considers that a business as a part of the community has so many parties besides shareholders that are directly affected by the business, it seems unethical to ignore these stakeholders when a company makes decisions. Stakeholder theory, then, brings on entirely new implications as far as which parties businesses should serve.

A business’ human assets must be respected and treated well in order for the business, and the communities it operates in, to remain peaceful. If they are treated poorly or are underpaid, this results in unrest, poverty and a lack of peace. The business must also treat the environment as a stakeholder, as its resources are limited and the business relies upon their availability. Also, lack of resources, namely water, can create conflict as can climate change as a result of CO2 emissions. Finally, however, shareholders must also be considered because if there is not “peace” among shareholders, they will discontinue investing in the company and the company and its community will suffer as a result. The ethical issues arise when a business must be forced to balance these stakeholders and find compromise that may or may not serve all of the parties involved, which causes a lack of peace.


(Claire Theodorescu) #139

I agree with your point about a stable business environment leading the way for expanding businesses, but I think there is another side of the coin. With instability, new needs are exemplified throughout societies and these new needs lead to new businesses. Therefore, businesses that are created in an environment of instability might proceed to maintain that state of society. If the global environment becomes more stable, there might be loss in their business share and need as a whole. Although, I think in the long term, if there is a continued stable environment, all the businesses that exist will be focused on maintaining the stability rather than the instability.



Mark Francisco said:

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.


(Megan Welch) #140

I also agree with the fact that profit is the largest reason for why businesses contribute to peace. However, if a company truly only cares about profit, I think that they would do the bare minimum to contribute to peace because they want to reduce costs as much as possible. Like Julia Riveria said, contributing to peace is the cost of doing business which implies that it can make or break a business. I think that some businesses are generally good at pretending that they are sustainable or socially responsible in order to improve their branding but they don't make enough effort to be on the same level as their competitors. It's all about the strength of the branding message and how their consumers respond. For example, BP tried to get away with green-washing by branding itself as "green" to appeal to its investors. Obviously, they didn't get away with those practices but it makes me wonder how many companies make up their statistics on sustainable or socially responsible practices such as volunteering or charitable donations.

Young Jin Kim said:

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.