Pakistani Executives Discuss Business Contribution to Peace and Stability

(Karachi) – More than 200 business executives, civil society and labour leaders met in Karachi, Pakistan today for a National Conference on Peace through Business to identify practical steps business can take to contribute to peace. The event was organized by the Global Compact Pakistan Network under the leadership of Ahsanullah Khan and Fasih-ul-Karim Siddiqui, by the Swiss Business Council and the Consulate General of Switzerland in Karachi.

Participants at the meeting stressed the strong link between business and peace, and recognized the need to nurture social enterprises and promote peace through good governance and commerce with neighbouring countries, especially India. Many also acknowledged the historical importance for business to engage to make a contribution to peace and development. The effective implementation of the Global Compact and its principles was noted as a major pathway towards advancing peace and development in Pakistan.

Addressing the meeting, Swiss Ambassador Christoph Bubb called on all companies to join the Global Compact and lead the movement towards greater corporate sustainability in Pakistan, and to translate the principles of the Global Compact into action in the workplace, community and throughout supply chains. The proposed range of concrete areas for collaboration included scaling up vocational training, education and skills development, as well as combating corruption and promoting gender equality.

In a subsequent session of the Pakistan Network’s steering committee, the proposals made during the conference were prioritized along with enhancing the Network’s capacity to support collective action of its members. (A full report on the meeting and subsequent decisions by the steering group will be available shortly.)

The National Conference on Peace through Business took place in the framework of the Global Compact’s Business and Peace program, which has provided a discussion forum for all stakeholders since 2001 and aims to enhance the capacity of companies to make a positive contribution to peace and development. With the launch of the Guidance on Responsible Business and Investment in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas in 2010, companies, investors and other stakeholders have been provided with a common reference point to assist with aligning their operations and strategies with the ten Global Compact principles – even in challenging operating environments – and in taking actions in support of broader UN goals. Twelve companies and 12 investors are currently engaged in piloting this guidance tool in their operations and investment activities.

The Business and Peace work of the Global Compact is made possible by the generous support of the Swiss government.

Melissa Powell
UN Global Compact
+1 212-963-0566

Adrienne Gardaz
UN Global Compact