The new study looked at geographically diverse case studies and found that "impact investments" by businesses can result in tangible positive impact, especially when companies invest in areas where religious or ethnic minorities have yet to be fully integrated into society, or where cultural or religious differences create barriers.
The case studies come from diverse regions of the world - the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America - and are chosen to be illustrative, not exhaustive. The study's limitation, however, is that it does not show that business is necessarily a force for peace, interfaith understanding and religious freedom. Rather, the study shows that business can be, and some businesses certainly are.
- Coke Serves Up Love and Peace with Small World Machines - Last year, Coca-Cola brought some laughter and joy to one of the most volatile and dangerous regions on earth, when it installed two Small World Machines in New Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan.
- BMW AWARD, Driving Global Peace and Success - For luxury carmaker BMW, intercultural understanding is more than just a nice sentiment, it’s “an essential part of our daily work,” says Bill McAndrews, the company’s Vice President for Communications. Indeed, since 1997, BMW has been actively promoting cooperative dialogue between different cultures, giving out awards to support businesses that innovate interculturally. Awards highlighted are (1) Helping Muslim Youth in the Philippines; (2) Giving a Voice to the Voiceless in India; and (3) Promoting Understanding Through Tourism in the Holy Lands.
- Nigerian Conflict: Is Business the Answer? - In Nigeria, businesses and economic development NGOs are working to stop widespread religious violence between Christians and Muslims, which has already taken hundreds of lives and threatens to thrust parts of the country into civil war.
- World Cup Highlights Struggles & Contributions of Afro-Brazilians - In Brazil, where religious freedom is generally well-protected, Brazilians of African descent still face discrimination for their appearance and beliefs, including their religious beliefs. But an NGO, the Afro-Brazilian Incubator, is working to fight this discrimination by promoting entrepreneurship among Afro-Brazilians.
- Indonesian Businesses Open Their Doors to Faith and Action - In Indonesia, businesses are at the forefront of efforts to promote interfaith understanding. For instance, EXPRESS Taxi, with a fleet of more than 7,000 taxis in Jakarta, promotes a faith-friendly workplace by setting up prayer rooms and facilitating Muslim and Christian observances as well as celebrations of Chinese New Year. In addition, businesses in Indonesia have worked to fix large, seemingly intractable social problems such as helping 4,541 poor couples in interfaith marriages to receive the proper marriage licenses.