This session is part of the Second Business for Peace (B4P) Annual Event: Building Peace, Realizing Sustainable Development will leverage the great momentum behind the business for peace movement to convene stakeholders from around the world in New York as part of Global Compact+15: Business as a force for good (23-25 June), which marks the UN Global Compact’s 15th anniversary. The B4P Annual Event will bring together representatives of business, Global Compact Local Networks, civil society, investors and Governments to focus on why and how business can play an important role in supporting peace and stability, rule of law and good governance – all critical building blocks for implementing Sustainable Development Goal 16.
The Strategic Needs
General: High-risk and conflict-affected areas are home to over half of the world’s population living on less than $1.25 a day. Violent conflict disrupts markets and business opportunities. If the world had been 25% more peaceful in 2010 – the global economy would have gained an additional economic benefit of over US$2 trillion. Company materiality is tied to the health of the communities where they operate. Long-term financial success goes hand-in-hand with social and environmental responsibility.
Religious: According to the Pew Research Center, approximately three-in-four people today (73%) live in countries with high levels of social hostilities involving religion. But, interfaith understanding – and its contribution to peace – is in the interest of business.
- Recent research shows that economic growth and global competitiveness are stronger when social hostilities involving religion are low and government respect for, and protection of, the universally recognized human right of freedom is high.
- Interfaith understanding also strengthens business by reducing corruption and encouraging broader freedoms while also increasing trust and fostering respect. Research shows that laws and practices stifling religion are related to higher levels of corruption. Similarly, religious freedom highly correlates with the presence of other freedoms and a range of social and economic goods, such as better health care and higher incomes for women.
- Positively engaging around the issue of interfaith understanding also helps business to advance trust and respect with consumers, employees and possible partner organizations, which can give companies a competitive advantage as sustainability and ethics come to the forefront of corporate engagement with society.
- With the shared vision of a more sustainable and inclusive global economy that delivers lasting benefits to people, communities and markets, it is clear that companies can make significant contributions to advancing interfaith understanding and peace through both core business and outreach activities.
For more, see the examples in a joint UNGC-Religious Freedom & Business Foundation publication that offer an important step forward in providing companies with guidance on why and how they can make practical contributions in this area – in ways benefitting both their business and the societies where they operate.