Investing in Business and Peace Project


Expand the level of investments in business activities that contribute to making communities more peaceful as a reliable mechanism for reducing violence and conflict around the world.


The Investing in Business and Peace Project was created to identify investment opportunities in business activities that reduce violence and conflict and foster innovative financing for investing in those business activities that achieve these goals. 


We are committed to organizing the following activities:

  • Collaborate with other researchers across multiple disciplines to advance and confirm our knowledge about the empirical evidence that informs decisions on which business activities can reduce violence and conflict and why, in various settings of conflict and fragility. 
  • Engage international development and humanitarian organizations and work with them to integrate their knowledge about the on-the-ground  impacts of development  policy and practices. 
  • Create content on selected topics to inform government, business and non-profit sector leaders on 'best practices’ regarding business engagement in fragile and conflict-affected areas that rescue violence and conflict.
  • Develop and bring to market innovative financing instruments that fund business activities that reduce violence and conflict in communities, regions and countries where they are needed most.

Current Projects

  • Peace Bond Principles
    We have partnered with the Global ESG Investment Forum (GEIF) at the George Washington University to create and bring to market the first Peace Bond, using Peace Bond Principles.  The Peace Bond Principles will follow the structure of other labeled bonds (e.g. Green, Sustainable, Social), but with important context-specific modifications that will increase measurable impact, improve reporting and accountability. The project began in Fall 2022 and will be completed in Summer 2023.  
  • White Paper on Peace Bonds
    We are composing a White Paper that discusses the evidence that has been provided by empirical research for specific business activities that reduces violence and conflict under specific circumstances and situations. The White Paper builds upon earlier work in this space by Interpeace, UK Aid, and others. 
  • Peace Bond Conference
    We will host an Investing in Business and Peace Conference in fall 2023, with a focus on Peace Bonds. This conference will unite scholars, practitioners, and the business and finance communities to discuss the opportunities for financing projects that make communities more peaceful in 2023, and how Peace Bonds can be more impactful for local communities.
  • Peace Bonds and ESG Investing
    We are conducting research on which investments financed by future Peace Bonds will qualify as meeting ESG investing standards and reporting requirements.

Investing in Business and Peace Learning Community

Our collaboration is focused on elevating findings from empirical studies that have provided evidence of the efficacy of business activities that build and promote peace, and under which circumstances.  The Business and Peace literature offers a rich and diverse collection of research considering and exploring the various ways in which business and commerce influence, or are influenced by, violence and conflict. Related fields including peace and conflict studies, political science, management, law, and international development add to the richness of the scholarship that can help identify what business activities should investors finance that will promote peace.  

Existing guidance from the corporate, academic and practitioner communities has helped deliver possible pathways for peace-positive business activities, but the empirical evidence only lends its endorsement to a more limited set of actions that are effective only under certain circumstances. The goal of the Investing in Peace Learning Community is to build clarity about the efficacy of particular business activities and further validate and expand our understanding of investment opportunities for investors through rigorous qualitative and quantitative research. 

Primer on Business and Peace

We have identified a few articles that reflect our approach to thinking about business and peace and the efforts to bring greater empiricism to our research. We welcome suggestions for additional readings.

Read an Overview of Each Article

1) How Business Can Foster Peace

There are many ways businesses can and do promote peace in conflict zones, but smart strategies will take into account the firms’ size, ownership, industry, and the degree to which they are connected to local supply chains. This report by the United States Institute of Peace outlines a series of business strategies proven to be effective in conflict and crisis settings.

2) A Seat at the Table: Capacities and Limitations of Private Sector Peacebuilding 

This expert report, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Carnegie Corporation, comprehensively outlines from deep research in seven countries how the private sector can build peace in fragile and conflict-affected regions, and provides a roadmap for the importance of local context in business activities for peace.  

3) Business and Peace: Seven Ways To Maximize Positive Impact

What are the conditions under which businesses can move beyond ‘doing no harm’ in the societies where they work to deliver more tangible positive peace dividends? Designed for businesses, practitioners, scholars and others who are interested and engaged in corporate impact in such areas, this report provides an overview of the main lessons from a four-year study of corporate peacebuilding initiatives across a range of contexts.

4)  Business in War Zones: How Companies Promote Peace in Iraq 

How do companies promote peace on the ground in an active war zone? This research in Iraq during the ISIS invasion based on interviews with company leaders in a diverse cross-section of Iraqi and international businesses showed that companies can promote peace, but often in unexpected ways. This paper provides some of the first empirical work to support existing theories on the private sector’s ability to promote peace in an active warzone. 

5) Innovative Finance to Sustain Peace: An Explainer 

Financing the sustaining peace agenda, the SDGs, and the prevention of conflict requires innovative thinking about new methods of generating resources. While calls are increasingly being made across sectors for new ways of funding prevention and peacebuilding, there is not yet a clear strategy on how to do so, as the UN-World Bank report notes. This report considers the various options available for increasing effective and innovative financing for peace and suggests next steps to turn these calls into reality, related to financing for sustaining peace.

About Us

The Investing in Business and Peace initiative is led by the Institute for Corporate Responsibility at the George Washington University in partnership with the University of Oslo and Queens University, Belfast. The founders are: 

John Forrer
Director, Institute for Corporate Responsibility
Research Professor, Strategic Management and Public Policy, The George Washington University
Fellow, One Earth Future Foundation
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
Senior Fellow, Canadian Center for the Responsibility to Protect, University of Toronto

John Katsos
Associate Professor of Business Law and Ethics, School of Business Administration (SBA), American University of Sharjah
Research Affiliate, Center for Leadership, Ethics, and Organization (CLEO), Queen’s University Belfast

Jason Miklian, Ph.D.
Senior Researcher in Business and Peace, Center for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo (Norway)
Visiting Fellow, Political Science, Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)

For all questions and comments, please contact us at [email protected].