Business and Peace

A Seat at the Table

A Seat at the Table is the capstone report of a two-and-a-half year learning project entitled “Engaging the Private Sector as a New Peacebuilding Actor.” It documents the efforts of individual companies, as well as those of associations of companies acting collectively, as they sought to transform the dynamics of conflict unfolding around them. The analysis identifies patterns that are common to effective approaches to peace and conflict by private sector actors, and the specific means and resources through which private sector actors implemented those approaches in successful cases. It offers insights for individual companies, for peacebuilding actors, and for policy organizations seeking to define and establish a role for the private sector in efforts to address fragility and conflict. The report systematizes and builds on insights gleaned over the course of the project through literature reviews, case study development, and consultations with a range of experts.

Project Overview

Multi-actor initiatives, international institutions, and donor governments have all expressed enthusiasm for companies to undertake deliberately actions that “support peace”. Confidence about what businesses can do and the role they can play in contributing to peace, however, is founded on little concrete, direct evidence of effective practices and approaches for doing so. A great deal remains to be learned about what corporate practices are effective in addressing key drivers of conflict and peace, both for private sector actors interested in improving social impacts, and for development actors and policymakers seeking to partner with businesses or include them in larger development and peacebuilding agendas.

CDA, in partnership with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Africa Centre for Dispute Settlement of the University of Stellenbosch (ACDS), is seeking to improve corporate practice in conflict settings as well as policy and multi-actor initiatives relating to business and peace through field-based evidence of good practice and effective approaches.

Core Questions

  • In what ways can private sector actors contribute to peace in conflict affected and fragile environments?
  • What mechanisms, practices, or partnerships allow private sector enterprises the most effective approaches to contributing to positive change? Why?
  • What motivates individual companies and business associations to engage in processes and initiatives that are focused on peace
  • Are there resources and levers that are unique to private sector actors that enable them to be effective peacebuilders?
  • What expectations of companies are realistic for development actors and policymakers seeking to engage the private sector in peacebuilding activities?
  • Is there a need for new processes or tools that might aid companies that are seeking to enhance their social impacts?

Below, you can access our blog series, case studies, and consultation reports, as well as other relevant documents and reports as we make them public.

Learning Partners


Project Funders

In the first phase of this collaborative learning project, the team is developing ten case studies of both individual enterprises and business associations and networks in order to expand the base of evidence of corporate practices that positively impact peace. Issue papers will then capture analysis of the cross-cutting themes emerging from the case studies. These case studies and issue papers will be accompanied by a series of consultations which will convene experts across a variety of sectors and industries in order to collaboratively analyze the evidence.

Phase I of this project will culminate in a preliminary framework that analyzes the case studies and highlights the potential implications of the findings for a range of actors, including companies, policymakers, peacebuilders, donor governments, and international financial institutions, while also presenting emerging questions that might inform subsequent research.

Blog Posts

Case Studies

Background Papers

Consultation Reports


Ben Miller, Senior Associate, Responsible Business

Sarah Cechvala, Senior Associate