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Free Content Business and Peace: Lessons from Bougainville

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This paper discusses the relevance and utility of the existing literature on business and peace for resolving armed conflicts related to natural resources. The paper argues that this scholarship is valuable in so far as it opens debate on the potential positive contributions of extractive companies to peacebuilding processes. However this scholarship primarily looks at areas affected by conflict to consider ways that companies with no previous connection to the area might establish a productive business. What is missing in this analysis is a critical engagement with the fact that resource companies are often heavily implicated in the causes of conflict, not just affected by the consequences. Drawing on a case study of Bougainville (Papua New Guinea), the paper highlights numerous roles for business in peacebuilding not previously identified in the business and peace literature. These contributions include very precise expectations for a company that was deeply entangled in the Bougainville conflict, yet wants to return to the island to resume mining. This finding has important implications for future research. In order to ensure the relevance of this scholarship to the extractive sector, there is a need to identify peacebuilding roles for an industry whose activities are often a key factor in the escalation of violence.
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Keywords: Bougainville; Business; Natural resources; Peacebuilding; Resource conflict

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

More about this publication?

  • Business, Peace and Sustainable Development (BPSD) aims at understanding the role of the business sector in enhancing peace and reducing violence, and contributing to sustainable development. On the other hand, it is also aimed at understanding the importance of peace to the economy and markets. While some research has been published on business and peace and peace through commerce, BPSD is the first journal dedicated to mutual contribution of business and peace.

    Peace is the absence of violence, but it also incorporates social justice, human rights, stability and sustainable development. Peace is essential to address the global challenges facing humanity today. Without peace we will be unable to achieve the levels of cooperation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve problems such as climate change, global poverty and the health crisis. It is acknowledged that most businesses and industries need a peaceful market to operate and assure a smooth supply chain. As such, the relationship between business and peace is an on-going and mutual one, and needs to be further developed and investigated.

    Corporate Peace is defined as the incorporation of peace and reduction of violence into a company's strategy, decision-making and the value chain in order to raise awareness to peace, support and enhance it. Corporate Peace is an umbrella concept that contains business, social and strategic dimensions.
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