Business for Peace in Geneva: The International Day of Living Together in Peace 2024

June 4, 2024

On May 16th, the Business for Peace Foundation had the great pleasure to attend the roundtable discussion for International Day of Living Together in Peace, hosted by AISA ONG Internationale, at the UN Building in Geneva. The city of Geneva was chosen to host the seventh edition of the International Day of Living Together in Peace this year.  An array of key actors from member states of the UN, non-governmental organisations, experts in education and actors from civil society gathered around the theme of “Education for a Culture of Peace”, discussing how we can implement peace in all forms of education. With 700 people in the audience, our Executive Director, Marius Døcker, spoke alongside Dominique Steiler, the UNESCO Chair for Economic Peace Culture at Grenoble École de Management, Michele Guillaume-Hofnung, President of the Guillaume-Hofnung Institute for Mediation, and Saïda Benouari, Head of the Mediation Unit of AISA International NGO. The panel was moderated by Hamis Demmou, Doctor of Paul Sabatier University – Toulouse III and former president of AISA International NGO. On the topic of economic peace, Marius emphasised the need for a mindset shift in business, highlighting the significant role businesses play in addressing societal issues.

In a world where conflict and violence are on the rise, it is crucial for all sectors to collaborate in seeking solutions for sustainable peace and for ensuring a better future for generations to come. Sheikh Khaled Bentounes, the initiator of the International Day of Living Together in Peace, said, “we must make our enemy our partner”. These words resonate deeply today and can be applied to the context of business and peace. Businesses can be an important force for good by placing responsible and ethical practices at its core. If done right, responsible business can make meaningful contributions to lasting peace, development and prosperity while ensuring long-term business success. The Business for Peace Foundation celebrates businessworthy behavior and leadership, which implies ethically creating economic value that also creates value for society. The shift of businesses towards the normative ideal of being businessworthy was at the heart of our message in Geneva. We strongly believe that business can be important catalysts for peace and thus must be included in the talks and work for developing peaceful and inclusive societies in the world.

During our visit to Geneva, our Executive Director, Marius, signed the Geneva Declaration on Education for a Culture of Peace: Putting Peace at the heart of Education and Learning. The declaration sets out seven articles containing a common frame of reference and affirms the signatories’ commitment to ensuring that Peace is at the heart of education and learning. By signing this document, the Business for Peace Foundation has pledged to mobilise our efforts to advocate and implement the content of the declaration. Peace should always be at the heart of education to ensure a better world for the future generations. An important step in realising change, we must invest in education: “Education is a sacred duty and we cannot avoid this responsibility towards our children. Put our skills, our assets, our knowledge and our technology to work in synergy at the service of the common good and the future. The Business for Peace Foundation encourage all our stakeholders to commit to the Education for a Culture of Peace by signing the Declaration here.

In addition to the celebration of the International Day of Living Together in Peace, the BfP also met with a number of organisations at the forefront of this work in Geneva.  Thank you to Principles for Peace, Interpeace, International Trade Centre, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and Peaceinvest for the important discussions on the role of the private sector in securing positive social change.

This trip to Geneva has given us important insights for our work ahead. Business for Peace is committed to convey the important message of being businessworthy and we have some exciting projects coming very soon. Stay tuned for more updates in the months to come.

Beyond a Rainbow Logo: How businesses can better support the LGBTQ community

10 June 2022

Written by Brady Flynn, Intern at Business for Peace Foundation

The calendar shifts to June and social media is instantly flooded with colours of the rainbow as many companies begin to show their support for LGBTQ+ Pride month. Companies across all sectors do a vibrant new aesthetic for 30 days, often paired with a public statement in support of LGBTQ+ inclusion.

These public statements are to be applauded, as such widespread corporate support of LGBTQ+ issues is something that has only emerged in the last decade. But consumers and corporations alike must look beyond a rainbow logo to see how the private sector can better leverage their influence to create an empowering, safer, more accepting world for LGBTQ+ people.

Companies should focus on both internal inclusion efforts and public support if they are to be deemed as true allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

Build a company culture

Even in countries with strong legal protections, many LGBTQ+ employees choose to remain closeted at their workplaces. In the US, nearly half of LGBTQ+ employees choose not to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity at work (Human Rights Report).

Businesses must ask themselves: Do employees see their workplace as a safe environment to openly be themselves?

There are many practical steps that can foster a more inclusive work environment. This extends to workplace protections being spelled out specifically for LGBTQ+ individuals, seeing that any benefits (such as healthcare and parental leave) are implemented in a way that includes same-sex couples and transgender individuals, as well as stressing the use and respect of gender-inclusive language within the company.

Be an advocate

Believing that businesses have a role in bettering their communities and the world at large, businesses that are truly committed to LGBTQ+ rights should also be involved in the greater fight for increased equality and visibility. There is no lack of incredible LGBTQ+ organisations that the private sector can promote and support such as local LGBTQ+ shelters like Uganda’s Children of the Sun Foundation, suicide prevention call centers like the Trevor Project, transgender support services like India’s Sahodari Foundation, to large international campaigns such as the UN Free and Equal Campaign.

Beyond financially supporting LGBTQ+ organisations, businesses can support this important work by allowing for paid volunteer time off, through leveraging their brand recognition and marketing resources to promote these organisations, and working alongside such organisations in calling upon legislators to protect LGBTQ+ rights.

An example of a successful partnership between business and LGBTQ+ organisations is with the outdoor apparel brand, The North Face. Through their “Exploration for All” 2021 Pride campaign The North Face is supporting Brave Trails, a non-profit outdoors summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth. Over the last six years, Brave Trails has hosted thousands of LGBTQ+ youth at their camps dedicated to raising up young LGBTQ+ leaders with a focus on imparting life skills, building community, and bridging the gap between the outdoors and the LGBTQ+ community. An 11-year-old camper named Lou, who identifies as non-binary, “struggled to find places where they could meet friends and safely be who they are.” At camp, Lou began to thrive, and their transformation was described as “astonishing.” Lou took the lessons they learned at camp back home and started a LGBTQ+ school group at their middle school, which is still going today.

In similar fashion to how The North Face partnered with Brave Trails, businesses can seek to find LGBTQ+ organisations to support that line up with their overall brand vision, mission, and culture.

(Photo: Matt Detrich, IndyStar)

Live your values: Salesforce

A prime example of facilitating a LGBTQ-friendly workplace is in the software company Saleforce; Founder and CEO, Marc Benioff, is a 2020 Business for Peace Honouree. Based in San Francisco, Salesforce has emphasized LGBTQ+ employee involvement at all levels, including in the establishment of its LGBTQ+ employee group “Outforce”. Salesforce continues to be a champion of equality and inclusion through a core belief that “diversity and inclusion create business success”.

Salesforce also has actively leveraged its resources and influence to support some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community, notably transgender women of colour. Such practices have landed Salesforce a spot among the 2021 Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality (Human Rights Campaign).

Businesses can follow the lead of Salesforce in fostering a truly inclusive work culture by reviewing company policies, benefit packages, and promotion structures to be sure they are comprehensive and inclusive of LGBTQ+ employees. Larger companies can also follow Salesforce’s example in creating intentional spaces for LGBTQ+ employees to gather and express issues directly to leadership.

When Salesforce is seen marching in Pride parades across the world, it is clear that they are truly a business ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

Be a businessworthy ally

Failure for consumers and businesses to critically examine how business is actually being used to support the LGBTQ+ community can lead to an unfortunate “rainbow washing” and overt capitalization of Pride month.

Business for Peace is built around the idea of recognizing businessworthy leaders. Being businessworthy includes using the power of business to truly support the LGBTQ+ community through fostering a safe internal working environment as well as using the influence of business to advocate for greater LGBTQ+ inclusion societally.

Join us in going beyond sporting a rainbow logo and recognising the important role of businesses in being businessworthy LGBTQ+ allies.

Businesses can do so by critically examining their internal policies and procedures to gauge if they are truly inclusive in practice. Businesses should also actively seek to partner with any of the thousands of LGBTQ+ organisations doing important work in communities around the world. And when June comes to a close, it is crucial that this work continues throughout the other eleven months of the year.

From Business for Peace, we wish everyone a happy Pride month!

This article was originally published in Business for Peace Medium.

Guide to the Ghana SDG Investor Map

 Friday, 19 March 2021 10:28

Key takeaways from our impact facilitation event and how the results impact investments across the country

What are the SDG Investor Maps?

Developed by SDG Impact, the SDG Investor Maps are tools that are focused on mobilising capital flow across the Global South.

Championed by the United Nations Development Programme, their objective is to provide localised insight into sectors and market conditions that advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Investor Maps ultimately serve as a guide to realising economic growth, promoting social reform, fostering environmental conservancy and building more transparent and resilient economies.

In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme Ghana, the Ministry of Finance Ghana and the International Chamber of Commerce Ghana, we recently held an online impact facilitation event focusing on the country results for Ghana. Take a look at the key takeaways below.

Key takeaways

1. The eight-step methodology behind the Maps identifies viable Investment Opportunity Areas (IOAs) and business models, supported by actionable data to guide investor decision-making.

2. The Investor Maps empower investors with data and insights to drive SDG-enabling investment on a large scale. The Maps provide stakeholders with information, data and specific investment opportunities.

3. In Ghana there are five main development and investment areas that are mutually beneficial for society and investors: agriculture, infrastructure, technology and communication, healthcare, and consumer goods.

4. Within the five development areas, twelve core IOAs in Ghana have been identified: investment in affordable irrigation systems and dams, scaling aquaculture and fish breeding, scaling up storage infrastructure and logistics services for grain value chains (including, e.g. maize, rice, cassava, yam), investment in upscaling of integrated farm operations and management systems, IoT and agribusiness analytics, construction of affordable housing, road construction & maintenance, up-scaling collection and recycling of electronic waste, investments in providing and upscaling sanitation services for unserved areas, affordable mobile internet hotspots for villages / schools / rural areas, developing and up-scaling systems for digitalization of patients’ health data and inventory & supplies, upscaling drones transportation and logistic solutions (e.g. medications to remote locations), and manufacturing and distribution of improved cooking stoves.

5.The results will be made available online for all investors to access as a one-stop-shop. Stay tuned!

Ultimately, these maps are uniquely positioned to unlock private capital to finance the SDGs. Currently, there are significant investment return opportunities in Ghana for investors within a short timeframe that benefit local and global stakeholders.

Curious to learn more? Read on to better understand how the SDG Investor Maps impact investments across the country.

The Investment Journey in Ghana

As Ghana continues to strengthen its advocacy for the SDGs, government and private sector cooperation is needed to encourage further investments aimed at turning global challenges into local business.

In recent years, Ghana has been a leading entry point into West Africa for well-established international businesses.These investors have come to Ghana because of the country’s stable democratic climate, strong resource pool, and known reputation for its ease of business. Here, they can invest, grow and thrive.

Investments are all about building relationships and relationships are all about trust. An investment is not a single event but is a mutual, and hopefully long-term partnership. Right now, this is Ghana’s approach to creating a strong economy while also creating social benefits for everyone in Ghana.

The Investment Journey in three steps

There are three key steps that we like to label as the “Investment Journey”.

The first is making the results of the Investor Maps available to the public, thus giving insight into important SDG-focused investment opportunities post COVID.

The second step involves taking a closer look at the main investment opportunity areas as laid out by the methodology of UNDP, as well as securing local stakeholder involvement. Here, roadblocks and needed policy changes to facilitate such investments are addressed.

Finally, bringing together investors and SDG entrepreneurs to usher new solutions aligned with the investment opportunity areas and the SDGs comprise the third step.

At Business for Peace, we see informed investments and committed businesses as critical in finding solutions to global challenges. With the SDG Investor Maps soon becoming a public good, it is now time for many more investors and businesses to step up to the plate to do their part.

Announcing the SDG Impact Nordic Springboard

 Monday, 06 May 2019 11:36

Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, will gather with leading Nordic investment firms EQT, Summa Equity and LGT at the Business for Peace Summit in Oslo, Norway on May 15, 2019 to call for all global capital flows to advance the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda. The event marks the Nordic Springboard of the United Nations’ SDG Impact initiative.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is expected to require $5-7 trillion in total annual investment and requires a fundamental rethinking of global financial flows. Up until now there has not been a standardised or consistent approach to defining and measuring impact.

SDG Impact initiative has been designed to help meet this challenge. It is a United Nations-led initiative to enable private sector investment by providing investors and businesses with the clarity, insights, and tools required to support and authenticate their contribution toward achieving the SDGs.

SDG Impact aims to catalyze up to $1 trillion annually in private sector investment to achieve the SGDs. These efforts would contribute towards helping create some $12 trillion per year in economic opportunities and 380 million new jobs, which the Business Commission on Sustainable Development estimates would be possible from investing in the SDGs.

On May 15, 2019, the Business for Peace Foundation, an official partner of this initiative, will bring the SDG Impact initiative forward in the Nordic region with a springboard event in Oslo, rallying top investment firms in the region. Nordic institutional investors are widely regarded as world-leading in ESG and impact investment, with much influence globally. EQT, Summa Equity and LGT have taken a lead in the Nordic region on developing the initiative. CEO Christian Sinding of EQT, and Chair Anna Ryott and CEO Reynir Indahl of Summa Equity will speak at the Nordic Springboard about why they support the initiative. They will be joined by CEO Sverre Thornes of KLP and CEO Jan Erik Saugestad of Storebrand Asset Management, in a panel discussion, moderated by Ylva Lindberg, Director of Norfund.

“Sustainability is, and has always been, a central part of EQT. Through our involvement in this new SDG Impact initiative, EQT will be able to influence the way that SDG-alignment is measured and develop our own impact approach further. For EQT, the initiative is particularly exciting, as we are taking a stronger position on climate change and thematic investing in solutions with positive societal impact,” says Christian Sinding, CEO, EQT.


The springboard is part of the 2019 Business for Peace Summit, an annual event that brings together business leaders, investors, leaders of NGOs, politicians, academics, and civil society from all over the world to discuss the practical actions needed in order to make substantial and sustainable business contributions to society. This year, the Summit’s topic is “Navigating in a World of Imbalance”, with the SDG Impact Springboard event as a


“Summa Equity was amongst the first Private Equity firms to commit to the SDGs, aligning our investment and value creation strategy with the SDG framework. We are proud to be part of the SDG Impact initiative and challenge the whole private equity community to invest in the SDGs. It helps companies show stronger growth and returns, while having lower risk,” says Anna Ryott, Chair of the Board, Summa Equity.

Ryott and Denton are part of the ten-person Steering Group, chaired by Steiner, which was created to signal markets and drive adoption. The Steering Group will play a critical role in the global effort to authenticate SDG-enabled investment and represents an influential cross-section of industries from the global North and South that collectively influence investing around the world.

The SDG Impact springboard event in Oslo will gather Nordic investor support and build momentum to an upcoming global event in Stockholm.


Business for Peace is an international foundation based in Oslo that aims to support, inspire, and recognise global business leaders who are positively changing the face of business. At the centre of the Foundation’s activities is the annual Oslo Business for Peace Award, conferred to exceptional individuals who exemplify the Foundation’s concept of being businessworthy: ethically and responsibly creating value both for both business and society. An independent Award Committee, consisting of Nobel Laureates in peace and economics, selects the Award Honourees each year. The Foundation also hosts an annual Summit bringing together business leaders, investors, leaders of NGOs, politicians, academics, and civil society from all over the world to discuss the practical actions needed in order to make substantial and sustainable business contributions to society. 

For more information, interview requests, or photos please contact:  

Alison Uttley, alison@businessforpeace.org 



The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) works in approximately 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. UNDP helps countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. This is a critical time for the world. At UNDP, we see this period as a huge opportunity to advance the global sustainable development agenda. In September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. UNDP is working to strengthen new frameworks for development, disaster risk reduction and climate change.  

For more information, interview requests, or photos please contact:

Eirik Talleraas, Head of Office, UNDP Nordic Representation Office, eirik.talleraas@undp.org 

Christina LoNigro, Press Secretary, UNDP Executive Office, christina.lonigro@undp.org

Tune in to the 2019 Oslo Business for Peace Award Announcement

 Thursday, 14 March 2019 20:01

On March 20, we will announce who will receive the 2019 Oslo Business for Peace Award. Following a global nomination process through our partners, the International Chamber of Commerce, Principles for Responsible Investment, UN Development Programme, and UN Global Compact, our Award Committee of Nobel Laureates has made its selection.

Hear from Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo, Per Saxegaard, Board Chair of Business for Peace, and Fiona Reynolds, CEO of Principles for Responsible Investment, as they share the news.

Tune into our livestream on 20 March at 9:00 CET for the announcement. 

BfP Foundation Joins Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace

Monday, 12 November 2018 17:37

Business for Peace Endorses the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace President Macron and the French Government launched the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace at the Internet Governance Forum on 12 November 2018. This cross-industry initiative supports the call of 25 European governments so far to address state-sponsored cyberattacks. Business for Peace is proud to be one of the initial signatories endorsing the Call.

Cyberspace plays a crucial role in every aspect of our lives and it is the shared responsibility of a wide variety of actors to improve trust, security, and stability in cyberspace. Signatories of the Paris Call affirm their support of an open, secure, stable, accessible, and peaceful cyberspace. The Call underlines the need to enhance broad digital cooperation and recognises the necessity of a strengthened multi-stakeholder approach to reducing risks to the stability of cyberspace, and to building confidence, capacity, and, trust.

Business for Peace Foundation partners with Oslo European Green Capital 2019


Our foundation is based in Oslo, Norway, so we are delighted to announce that we will be an official partner in Oslo’s upcoming role as the 2019 European Green Capital.

What does that mean? Oslo will work to strengthen the green economy, promote green citizens, and support ambitious green policies. As the capital city of Norway, Oslo has a population of 658,390. It is surrounded by the Marka Forest, a nationally protected area, and the Oslo Fjord, both connected by a number of waterways, and its approach to conserving its natural areas and restoring its waterway network is just one of the many reasons why it won the European Green Capital Award for 2019.

Governed by #businessworthy thinkers, the municipality of Oslo has made tackling climate change a priority. The city aims to cut emissions by 50% by 2020 (as compared to 1990) and wants to be carbon neutral by 2050. Oslo has introduced a range of integrated measures to achieve these ambitious targets, including the promotion of zero emissions transport, and is currently the ‘Electric Vehicle Capital of the World’ with 30% of all vehicles sales involving electric cars.

Given that innovation and the creation of new jobs in the circular economy are featured as hallmark priorities for Oslo’s future, we are proud to hold our annual Business for Peace Award Ceremony and Summit in the city every May. The Summit will be held from May 14-15, 2019, but until then, learn more about Oslo’s selection as the 2019 European Green Capital here.

Nominations for the 10th Anniversary Oslo Business for Peace Award now open

Tuesday, 21 August 2018 12:20

Nominations for the 2019 Oslo Business for Peace Award have now closed.

Business for Peace is seeking candidates for the 2019 Oslo Business for Peace Award. Candidates can be nominated through the Foundation’s global partners: International Chamber of Commerce, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Global Compact and, new this year, Principles for Responsible Investment.

The Award, first conferred in 2009, is the highest distinction given to a business leader who exemplifies outstanding businessworthy accomplishments: ethically and responsibly creating value both for business and society.

How to nominate a candidate

Help us celebrate businessworthy leaders and nominate a candidate for the 2019 Award by using our partner nomination tool via the links below.

Candidates can come from a wide variety of business backgrounds and industries. Previous Award recipients range from a United Kingdom product designer who has created sustainable refrigeration, to a Nigerian entrepreneur who has increased the overall returns to rice farmers through improved quality, enhanced productivity, and guaranteed crop buy-back.

Evaluation Criteria

There are three evaluation criteria:

  1. being a role model to society and their peers
  2. having earned trust by stakeholders
  3. standing out as an advocate

Following the nomination process, Honourees will be selected by an independent committee consisting of Nobel Laureates in peace and economics. The current Award Committee consists of Ouided Bouchamaoui (Tunisia), Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), Finn Kydland (Norway), and Eric Maskin (USA).

Winners of the 2019 Oslo Business for Peace Award will be announced March 20, 2019 and will be presented with the award at Oslo City Hall May 15, 2019 in a public ceremony. Previous winners include Elon Musk (Tesla and SolarCity), Paul Polman (Unilever), Marilyn Carlson Nelson (Carlson Companies), Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Sarah Beydoun (Sarah’s Bag), Edgar Montenegro (Corpocampo), Martin Naughton (Glen Dimplex Group), and Durreen Shahnaz (Impact Investment Exchange).

Nomination Links

Insights from the 2018 Summit

 Monday, 09 July 2018 17:32

The 2018 Business for Peace Summit brought together business leaders, investors, politicians, academics, and civil society to discuss businesses’ role in accelerating climate leadership and how trust is central to the way forward.

The Summit report, prepared in collaboration with McKinsey, covers how businesses can thrive by embracing sustainability, the role of the finance sector in funding a sustainable future, what’s ahead for the energy sector, and more.

See key insights from Summit speakers such as Christiana Figueres, Convenor of Mission 2020, Matthew Harrington, Global COO of Edelman, Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2011, and other thought leaders. Case studies from companies across the world add further insight.

Christiana Figueres to 2018 Summit

Tuesday, 06 February 2018 18:34

Forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy, Christiana Figueres spent six years working for the UN as the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and was one of the key architects of the Paris Agreement.

Christiana is now leading Mission 2020, a global initiative to bring “new urgency” to the “global climate conversation”. If the world is to avoid surpassing 2C by 2100, the emissions must peak before 2020 and then begin to rapidly decline – this means that the window of being able to change the course is very narrow. Private sector plays a significant role in reducing emissions and Figueres underlines the business opportunity that lies in taking climate leadership.

There is no doubt that the private sector is going to play a huge role (…) It is the private sector that has the technology, the capital, the know-how, the ingenuity to actually get us there. 

Christiana Figueres