Call for Nominations of Good Practices
IMMEDIATE RELASE – MAY 3, 2014
The UN Global Compact’s Business for Peace platform and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation call for nominations of for-profit businesses that have advanced interfaith understanding and peace through their core business and/or outreach activities to be highlighted in new resource/publication.
How Business Can Contribute to Inter-religious Understanding & Peace Nominate a Business
Examples of Shared Value from Around the World
Background and Objectives
Building on the common objectives of the UN Global Compact “Business for Peace (B4P)” platform and the Religious Freedom & Business (RF&B) Foundation, these organizations have decided to collaborate to develop a new resource/publication.
UN Global Compact and Business for Peace Background:
The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. With over 12,000 corporate participants and other stakeholders from over 145 countries, it is the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world.
The UN Global Compact works toward the vision of a sustainable and inclusive global economy which delivers lasting benefits to people, communities, and markets. To help realize this vision, the initiative seeks to (1) Mainstream the Global Compact’s Ten Principles in business strategy and operations around the world, and (2) Catalyze business action in support of UN goals and issues, with emphasis on collaboration and collective action.
With these objectives in mind, in September 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, launched Business for Peace (B4P), a business leadership platform that aims to expand and deepen private sector action in support of peace – in the workplace, marketplace and local communities. The platform assists companies to implement responsible business practices aligned with the UN Global Compact Ten Principles in conflict-affected and high-risk areas and catalyze action to advance peace.
Recognizing that sources of instability and social tensions vary and that companies in different contexts will have vastly different roles to play, the issue of inter-religious understanding and peace has been highlighted as critical to sustainable peace and development. As such, this project will make an important step forward in providing companies with guidance on why and how they can make practical contributions in this area – in ways benefitting both their business and the societies where they operate.
Religious Freedom & Business Foundation Background:
The RF&B Foundation is a non-partisan charitable organization collaborating with businesses, government officials and community leaders from multiple faiths (or of none) in countries throughout the world to work for a future of peaceful, innovative and sustainable economies where religious freedom and diversity are respected
The RF&B Foundation educates the global business community about how religious freedom is good for business, and helps the business community join forces with government and non-government organizations in promoting respect for freedom of religion or belief, which is a universally recognized human right. The RF&B Foundation engages in four main areas of work:
Business, Faith & Freedom Global Forums at World Expos (Milan in 2015) that showcase faith’s role in inspiring business innovations that improve the world;
Biennial Religious Freedom & Business Global Awards presented in host cities of the Olympic Games (Rio in 2016) for best religious freedom initiatives;
Research and executive training which includes providing to the business community practical tools to address the issue, including suggested language for governance documents, policies and training materials, and a comprehensive educational “certificate program” to be offered by leading international universities; and
Empowerment of religious minorities through sustainable businesses and networking with investors who obtain financial and social returns on their investment.
This project will provide case studies that expand existing research showing that religious freedom leads to peace, stability, global competitiveness, and better business environments for majorities and minorities alike, including for women. It will also help set standards for the RF&B Foundation’s Biennial Religious Freedom & Business Global Awards.
Given this context, the UN Global Compact and the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation will raise awareness among the business community, Governments and other stakeholders of the ways in which companies can and are contributing in this important area:
Showcase specific good corporate practice examples: Present suggested actions companies could take to have a positive impact. Profile specific examples from different sectors on different issues and from different regions containing key challenges and “good practice” examples/models/lessons learned that companies and others can learn from. Mechanisms to showcase examples include creating a series of 15-minute videos (like TED Talks) where CEOs and business leaders talk about how their businesses foster inter-religious understanding, respect and peace, filmed at AOC Global Forums and the Business, Faith & Freedom Global Forums at World Expos.
Provide recognition: Recognize and profile the leadership and progress made in this area so far. We then expect to build on this initial joint project with a variety of other collaborative efforts where our interests align to advance progress in this important area. Ideas thus far include:
Develop Recommendations directed towards Governments: In addition to inspiring companies to take action, develop recommendations for Governments on how they can better leverage the expertise and experiences of the private sector to make a greater contribution in this area, for the benefit of the host country. These recommendations could initially be discussed and validated at the private sector session in Bali and then could be formalized into a “private sector statement” that could feed into the AOC Forum deliberations.
Support for and collaboration around the biennial Religious Freedom & Business Global Awards at each upcoming Olympic host city (Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020) with gold, silver and bronze awards in each of four categories: multinational companies, national companies, women-led businesses and young entrepreneurial enterprises.
Foster networks: Initiate a series of events for businesses committed to interreligious harmony and understanding to meet, share experiences and be updated on the latest research and best practices at each subsequent AOC Global Forum as well as at the upcoming World Expos (Milan 2015, Astana 2017 and Dubai 2020).
Create a database: The development of a global database of potential business projects that pay financial and social dividends (such as empowering a religious minority) and match them with companies that are capable of and interested in innovative investments that also foster social harmony.
Engage in research: Discover opportunities for businesses to support enterprises that make a profit as well as a positive difference in inter-religious understanding and peace, collect examples of companies so engaged, and study the social and economic impact of these enterprises.
Proposed Structure and Content
- WHY/RATIONALE: It will be important that the resource make a strong and clear business case as to why it’s important for companies to take action in this area. What is the rationale and what are the business and societal benefits?
- WHAT ACTIONS TO TAKE/HOW TO TAKE ACTION THAT HAS REAL IMPACT: The resource will profile approximately 5 examples of how companies have taken action to advance inter-religious understanding and peace. Relevant examples will be drawn from all regions of the world and from a variety of sectors.
Selection and Evaluation of Examples
Suggested criteria for examples could include, but need not be limited to the following:
- Examples needs to profile a specific challenge(s) along with concrete steps the company took to address them;
- It should be a core business example. (such as providing employees with specific accommodations for religious beliefs or practices), rather than a philanthropic example. Some specific outcomes, metrics or expected impacts should be articulated;
- Companies should stem from a diverse range of countries and from diverse sectors. (Ideally one example from each region of the world and from 5-6 different business sectors.)
The UN Global Compact Office will draw on its diverse group of corporate participants and Local Networks to identify relevant examples for consideration, but other organizations will also be asked to contribute their ideas and suggestions.
Following the submission of suggested examples by companies, UNGC Local Networks and others, the content will be developed through interviews with the companies and other stakeholders involved. The examples will be written by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, but final approval will be given by the companies before publishing.