This paper argues that the emphasis on the private sector's contribution to fuelling armed conflict has neglected our understanding of business motivations operating in the opposite direction: building peace. Based on four cases of local business-led peacebuilding in Colombia, this paper concludes that these represent innovative and quite pragmatic solutions to the specific needs of companies faced with conflict. The paper suggests that factors explaining business-led peacebuilding include variables related to context (conflict costs; economic recession; and state absence) as well as to company-specific traits (nature of assets, size, and sectoral profiles; institutional trajectories; and the ability to free ride). The findings point to the importance of self-interest as an explanation of business-led peacebuilding and offer insights for scholars and policymakers interested in promoting private sector participation in overcoming crisis.
Rettberg, A. Working Paper No.56. Business-led Peacebuilding in Colombia: Fad or Future of a Country in Crisis? (2004) 29 pp.