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Corporations and their role in violent conflict

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The presentation is about the role of (multinational) corporations in violent conflict. It is a presentation of Michelle Ruesch's bachelor thesis, given at University College Maastricht in December 2009.

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Corporations and their role in violent conflict

  1. 1. Corporations and their role in Violent Conflict Capstone presentation by Michelle Ruesch University College Maastricht December 2008
  2. 2. Introduction Which company produces these shoes?
  3. 3. What does this bulldozer have to do with violent conflict?
  4. 5. Overview <ul><li>What is the role of corporations in violent conflict? </li></ul><ul><li>Article 1: Corporations and global politics </li></ul><ul><li>Article 2: Free trade: a pacifying force? </li></ul><ul><li>Article 3: Turning risk factor analysis around: How corporations can cause & fuel violent conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Article 4: Turning a curse into a blessing: How corporations can contribute to conflict resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Article 5: Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) </li></ul>How corporations can cause & fuel violent conflict How corporations can contribute to conflict resolution  Discussion on Conflict Resolution & CSR multinational corporations corporations protracted social (intrastate) conflict violent conflict ?
  5. 6. Negative and positive corporate involvement Direct complicity Indirect complicity Do no harm Peace-building low Silent witness Contribution to conflict resolution negative positive 0 Negative involvement, causing and fuelling violent conflict Positive involvement, facilitating & contributing to conflict resolution high Degree of MNC involvement
  6. 7. Negative and positive corporate involvement Direct complicity Indirect complicity Do no harm Peace-building low Silent witness Contribution to conflict resolution negative positive 0 Negative involvement, causing and fuelling violent conflict Positive involvement, facilitating & contributing to conflict resolution high Degree of MNC involvement
  7. 8. Negative corporate involvement (in the original presentation, these macro- and micro level factors where shown on the blackboard next to the previous slide)
  8. 9. Positive corporate involvement (in the original presentation, these macro- and micro level factors where shown on the blackboard next to the previous slide)
  9. 10. Summarizing table for positive & negative corporate involvement (this slide did not appear in the original presentation) macro level micro level * The factors in bold have been mentionned in the presentation <ul><li>providing a fair, non-discriminatory workplace </li></ul><ul><li>guidelines & training for security forces </li></ul><ul><li>dialogue with local stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>community-based social investment </li></ul><ul><li>poor, discriminatory working conditions </li></ul><ul><li>repressive security forces </li></ul><ul><li>forcible resettlement of communities </li></ul><ul><li>failure to consult community </li></ul><ul><li>developing internal guidelines on good business </li></ul><ul><li>putting pressure on the government </li></ul><ul><li>social investment programs </li></ul><ul><li>engaging in policy dialogue & financial support </li></ul><ul><li>complying with law & conventions </li></ul><ul><li>sustaining conflict by trading </li></ul><ul><li>financing repressive regimes </li></ul><ul><li>engaging in corruption </li></ul><ul><li>damaging the environment </li></ul><ul><li>reinforcing inequalities </li></ul><ul><li>bypassing (inter)national law </li></ul><ul><li>standing by human rights violations </li></ul>positive negative
  10. 11. Conflict Resolution & Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Social Responsibility <ul><li>norm & strategy </li></ul><ul><li>conflict-sensitivity </li></ul><ul><li>International law: based on system of states </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary, non-binding global agreements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2001) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UN Global Compact (2002) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UN Norms for Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises Regarding Human Rights (2003) </li></ul></ul>Public pressure Benefits of conflict resolution
  11. 12. <ul><li>Practical questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What needs to be done in order to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a) minimize corporate negative impacts and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>b) maximize corporate contributions to conflict resolution ? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is Corporate Social Responsibility the solution? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Normative question: « There is only one responsibility of business, namely to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits. » Milton Friedman </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should corporations contribute to conflict resolution? </li></ul></ul>Discussion questions
  12. 13. <ul><li>Complex interactive relationship between corporations and violent conflict </li></ul><ul><li>There are limits to Corporate Social Responsibility: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing strategy; based on public pressure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tyranny of the bottom line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prisoner’s dilemma  being good doesn’t always pay </li></ul></ul><ul><li> global regulatory framework is needed! </li></ul><ul><li> prerequisite: integrate corporations in International Relations, International Law & Conflict Studies </li></ul>Conclusion
  13. 14. <ul><li>For more information on the topic, see: </li></ul><ul><li>Banfield, J., Haufler, V., Lilly, D. (2005). Transnational corporations in conflict-prone zones: public policy responses and a framework for action. Oxford Development Studies, 33 (1), 133-147. </li></ul><ul><li>Bennett, J. (2002). Multinational corporations, social responsibility and conflict. Journal of International Affairs, 55 (2), 393 – 410. </li></ul><ul><li>Close, H. (2006). Profiting from the Occupation: Corporate complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people. War on Want . </li></ul><ul><li>Dearden, N. (2005). Making a killing: Corporations, conflict and poverty. War on Want conference. </li></ul><ul><li>Hook, J. & Ganguly, R. (2002). Multinational corporations and ethnic conflict: Theory and experience. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics , 6 ( 1), 48 – 71. </li></ul><ul><li>Human Rights Watch (2008). On the margins of profit: Rights at risk in the global economy. Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, NYU school of law, 20 (3). </li></ul><ul><li>Kinley, D. & Joseph, S. (2002). Multinational corporations and human rights: Questions about their relationships. Alternative Law Journal, 27 (1), 7-11. </li></ul><ul><li>Nelson, J. (2000). The Business of peace: The private sector as a partner in conflict prevention and resolution. The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum. International Alert, Council on Economic Priorities. </li></ul><ul><li>Oetzel, J., Getz, K. A., & Ladek, S. (2007). The role of multinational enterprises in responding to violent conflict: A conceptual model and framework for research. American Business Law Journal, 44 (2), 331 – 358. </li></ul><ul><li>Palacios, J. J. (2004). Corporate citizenship and social responsibility in a globalized world. Citizenship Studies, 8 (4), 383 – 402. </li></ul><ul><li>Rambotsham, O., Woodhouse, T. & Miall, H. (2006). Contemporary conflict resolution (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Tripathi, Salil (2005). International Regulation of Multinational Corporations. Oxford Development Studies, 33(1 ), 117-129. </li></ul>Thank you for your attention!

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