Business and Peacebuilding: Seven Ways to Maximize Positive Impact


Business and International Humanitarian Law: An Introduction to the Rights and Obligations of Business Enterprises under International Humanitarian Law (ICRC, 2006)


Human rights due diligence in conflict-affected settings: Guidance for extractives companies (International Alert, 2018)


Multinationals and Conflict – International Principles and Guidelines for Corporate Responsibility in Conflict-affected Areas (SOMO, 2014)


Human rights due diligence in conflict-affected settings: Guidance overview and summary (International Alert, 2016)


A Seat at the Table: Capacities and Limitations of Private Sector Peacebuilding (CDA Collaborative, Africa Center for Dispute Settlement, PRIO, 2018)


Training Tool: Doing Business in Conflict-affected Countries (UN Global Compact and Maplecroft, 2013)


Human Rights Due Diligence in High Risk Circumstances: Practical Strategies for Businesses (Shift, 2015)


Red Flags - Liability Risks for Companies Operating in High-risk Zones


From Red to Green Flags - The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in High-risk Countries (Institute for Human Rights and Business, 2011)


Decision Map: Doing Business in High-Risk Human Rights Environments (DIHR, 2010)


Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected and Hight-Risk Areas: A Resource for Companies and Investors (UN Global Compact and Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative, 2010)


OECD Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones (2006)


Conflict-Sensitive Business Practice: Guidance for Extractive Industries (International Alert, 2005)


Enabling Economies of Peace - Public Policy for Conflict-Sensitive Business (Commissioned by the UN Global Compact, 2005)


Kimberley Process Certification Scheme


Guidance for Companies Operating in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas


Business and Peacebuilding: Seven Ways to Maximize Positive Impact

This publication offers initial guidance to companies interested in starting, expanding, or evaluating a peacebuilding portfolio across conflict settings, sectors, and peace and development mechanisms. It presents key findings and lessons learned from business engagement in peace in South Sudan, Somaliland, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Denmark. Its main audience is decision makers in foreign firms working in fragile/conflict settings who wish to ‘do no harm’ or go even further and make peace contributions, and policymakers and practitioners who wish to support these aims.

This publication aims to provide managers of business enterprises with a basic understanding of situations, where business operations may either benefit from the protections afforded by international humanitarian law or be constrained by its rules. It may also serve as a reference for financial, insurance and trading companies which are not directly operating in zones of armed conflict themselves but may do so indirectly through their clients and suppliers.

This guidance aims to enhance human rights due diligence in conflict-affected settings by drawing on knowledge and lessons learned in the field of peace, conflict and human rights, and providing additional considerations for companies and practitioners. Drawing extensively on Alert’s experience working with companies in a range of conflict settings, as well as the knowledge and experience of the companies, it will help companies understand how a specific conflict environment affects their impacts on human rights, and the ways in which the type of conflict informs how they conduct their human rights due diligence.

This recently published paper offers an overview of the numerous international principles and guidelines that outline how businesses should operate in complex environments, with a particular focus on their usefulness to civil society organisations. The paper includes detailed summaries of 1) Principles and guidelines of multilateral institutions, 2) Sectoral  and country-specific initiatives, and 3) NGO tools for doing business in conflict-affected areas.

This report provides a summary of our forthcoming guidance on human rights due diligence in conflict-affected settings. The guidance addresses the question of how companies can ensure respect for human rights in their operations without exacerbating or generating conflicts, by providing recommendations, considerations, case studies and tools to help companies integrate conflict sensitivity into the human rights due diligence process. Since International Alert published its Conflict-sensitive business practice in 2005, the field of business and human rights has emerged as a highly influential area of theory and practice. However, while there has been substantial uptake of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), particularly around company efforts to undertake more rigorous human rights due diligence, there is little available guidance on what this means for companies operating in conflict-affected settings.


A Seat at the Table: Capacities and Limitations of Private Sector Peacebuilding (CDA Collaborative, Africa Center for Dispute Settlement, PRIO, 2018)

This report presents the findings of a two-year learning project focused on identifying
effective, peace-positive roles for the private sector in fragile and conflict-affected
environments. The project documents a wide range of company practices, connects these to the theories and assumptions on which different approaches are built, and assesses evidence of impact on key drivers of conflict and peace —those factors without which the conflict would not exist or would be significantly different. Besides literature reviews and expert insights, it incorporates in-depth case studies on companies or private sector actors operating in Brazil, Colombia, Cyprus, Kenya, Norway, Philippines, Sierra Leone and South Africa on which basis practical implications for companies, peacebuilders and policymakers are outlined.

This scenario-based training tool provides interactive guidance for responsible businesses in conflict-affected countries. The training tool includes background information, policy recommendations and case studies to illustrate security and human rights challenges companies may face. Most importantly it provides a detailed and real-world scenario exercise based on a company’s dilemma situation with the host government in a post-conflict situation.

This report provides an overview of good practices drawn from the strategies business practitioners have found most effective when conducting human rights due diligence in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. The report covers internal processes within the company as well as external processes with stakeholders and provides a template of key diagnostic questions to identify risk factors. 

“This web site lists activities which should raise a 'red flag' of warning to companies of possible legal risks, and the need for urgent action.”

This report provides guidance for business leaders on how to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights when investing in high-risk areas, based on enhanced due diligence procedures. It is divided into two parts: the first part presents some of the challenges companies operating in high-risk areas face; the second part explores some generic company responses to these challenges.

This brochure aims to assist companies when considering to engage or withdraw from operations in complex or conflict environments. It provides a decision map identifying guiding principles and illustrates each stage of the decision-making process, as well as the resulting decision, with examples and indicators.

This guidance document “aims to assist companies in implementing responsible business practices in conflict-affected and high-risk areas consistent with the Global Compact Ten Principles.” It categorises responsible business practices into the following four areas: core business, government relations, local stakeholder engagement and strategic social investment.

“The OECD Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones aims to help companies that invest in countries where governments are unwilling or unable to assume their responsibilities. It addresses risks and ethical dilemmas that companies are likely to face in such weak governance zones, including obeying the law and observing international instruments, heightened care in managing investments, knowing business partners and clients and dealing with public sector officials, and speaking out about wrongdoing.” (Foreword) The tool is structured as follows: 1) Introduction; 2) Obeying the law and observing international instruments; 3) Heightened managerial care; 4) Political activities; 5) Knowing clients and business partners; 6) Speaking out about wrongdoing; and 7) Business roles in weak governance societies – a broadened view of self-interest.

This publication “consists of guidance on doing business in societies at risk of conflict for field managers working across a range of business activities, as well as headquarters staff in political risk, security, external relations and social performance departments. It provides information on understanding conflict risk through a series of practical documents, including: 1) Introduction to conflict-sensitive business practice, including an overview of the regulatory environment for doing business in conflict-risk states; 2) Screening tool for early identification of conflict risk; 3) Macro-level conflict risk and impact assessment tool; 4) Project-level conflict risk and impact assessment tool; and 5) Special guidance on key flashpoint issues where conflict could arise at any point during a company’s operation.” (Preface to the Guidance)

“The aim of this report is to identify public policy options by which governments and international organizations can better assist private sector efforts to promote effective conflict-sensitive business practices, and do so in ways that make a demonstrable contribution to sustainable peace in the countries in which companies invest and operate. This report assesses the achievements and limitations of emerging private sector initiatives, identifies continuing gaps, and surveys the range of opportunities for complementary public policy action.” (Synopsis of the report)

The ‘Kimberley Process’ is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds. It aims to prevent trade in conflict diamonds, while protecting legitimate trade in rough diamonds, by establishing the minimum requirements for shipments of rough diamonds to be certified as “conflict-free”.

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