Responsible Business

CDA helps companies to improve their social impacts, support development in communities they affect, and operate in ways that strengthen their relationships with those communities. CDA works on a bi-lateral partnership basis with individual companies, and also works in multi-stakeholder initiatives to advance public understanding of corporate social impacts and their mitigation. CDA is a thought leader on business and conflict issues and has authored or contributed to influential guidance, such as the UN Global Compact’s Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and IPIECA’s Creating Successful, Sustainable Social Investment, and the Preventing Conflict in Exploration tool.

CDA’s work on Responsible Business began in 2000 with the launch of the Corporate Engagement Project (CEP). CEP performed 16 asset-level field assessments around the world between 2000-2009, primarily with extractive industries companies. These included over 2000 individual and group consultations, culminating in the publication of the book Getting It Right: Making Corporate-Community Relations Work

CDA is currently engaged in a learning project about the ways in which violence affects small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and how SMEs affect violence, in partnership with the universities of Oslo, Los Andes in Colombia, and Stellenbosch, and Peace Research Institute Oslo.

CDA is a member of the Voluntary Principles Initiative, a multi-stakeholder initiative involving governments, companies, and NGOs that promotes implementation of a set of principles to guide companies in the energy and extractive industries on providing security for their operations in a manner that respects human rights.

Business and Peace – It takes two to tango


Jobs, jobs, jobs – according to the 2011 World Bank/UN report “Pathways to Peace” and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ “Sustaining Peace” Agenda – are central in responding to the needs of war-torn societies and fragile contexts. As the thinking goes: job creation through economic development and corporate investment has an important stabilizing impact in fragile and conflict settings and therefore the private sector has a key role to play in peacebuilding.

But is it really that simple? Do we just have to create jobs, boost economic development and facilitate investment to enable divided communities and conflict actors to live better and more peacefully as neighbors? Of course, it is not that simple: we have known for decades that business activity can drive conflict, and that, in some cases, some businesses profit from conflict.

The relationship between business and peace poses a range of questions: What gaps exist in company practice and standards of responsible business?? How much responsibility do investors and banks bear as financiers of private sector development and company projects? How should aid funding best be allocated to ensure that business does not drive conflict? This newly edited paper aims to raise awareness of the opportunities and prospects but also the risks and challenges associated with the business and peacebuilding nexus.


A Selection of Publications

Recent Field Site Assessments

Continue Exploring

Business and Armed Non-State Actors Project

Business and Peace Project

CDA’s Corporate Work in Myanmar

Ask the Experts

CDA provides services to companies, industry associations, and international organizations.  Ask us how we can customize our resources and expertise to help you improve your responsible business practice. Contact [email protected].
Ben Miller [email]
Sarah Cechvala [email]

Maureen Moriarty-Lempke, Ph.D [email]

Kathryn Nwajiaku, Ph.D [email]