The swisspeace Business Conflict Check (sBCC) assists business leaders in analyzing the political risk environment and defining strategies to cope with challenges arising from conflict. It consists of a web-based self-assessment and tailor-made consultancy services.
Doing business in politically unstable regions creates specific challenges and risks for international business:
– Companies are directly affected by the existing conflict context: Operations can be hindered or even brought to a halt as a result of hostilities, putting investments at risk. Company personnel might be exposed to physical threats due to escalating tensions.
– Company activities can themselves have a negative impact on the conflict context: Corporate behavior seemingly favoring a specific local ethnic, religious or interest group can exacerbate conflict situations. Environmental damage or the violation of human rights standards linked to a company’s activities can create tensions between the local population and the company. In addition, ill-perceived business activities pose a risk with regard to reputational damage in the country itself, at home, and internationally.
These challenges show: Taking the conflicting environment into account when planning operations in politically unstable situations is not only an important part of responsible corporate governance but also of risk management.
Response: Conflict-sensitive business
Conflict sensitive business reflects the ability of a company to:
– understand the context it operates in;
– understand the interaction between its activities and the conflict context;
– act upon this understanding in order to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts on peace and stability.
Conflict sensitive business is a win-win-situation: a company that acts in a conflict sensitive way behaves responsibly within the political and social environment and thus thereby contributes to local economic development. At the same time, conflict sensitive business reduces the company’s exposure to conflict-related risks.
The sBCC has been developed by the Business and Peace Program of swisspeace in close cooperation with the organization’s Business Advisory Board. swisspeace is a practice-oriented research institute on peace and conflict in Berne with extensive country expertise and experience in the development of strategies in response to conflict-related risks.