Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected & High-Risk Areas: A Resource for Companies and Investors

This guide seeks to provide a common reference point for constructive dialogue between companies and investors on what constitutes responsible business practices in difficult operating environments, though it does not provide guidance on investment practices of financial institutions.

This voluntary guidance aims to complement applicable national and international laws by promoting international good practice. It does not presume to replace the private sector’s legal rights and duties to their home and host country governments. Voluntary approaches cannot be a substitute for government action, but they can reinforce the positive impacts of investment in conflict-affected and high-risk areas.

This guidance is designed to stimulate learning and dialogue and to promote collective action and innovative partnerships through Global Compact Local Networks and other initiatives. It was developed by the United Nations Global Compact Office, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative and an expert group comprised of company representatives, investors, civil society leaders, UN representatives and others. It was informed by good corporate practices from around the world, as well as a series of multi-stakeholder events (Istanbul; New York; Khartoum; Tokyo). Global Compact Board members and Global Compact Local Networks have also been involved in its development. It is subject to review in the light of new developments and – like all guidance developed by the Global Compact Office – it is voluntary.

For companies of all sizes, operating a business unit in a high-risk area poses a number of dilemmas with no easy answers. There are challenges, yet a number of difficulties can be defused with early proactive measures. It is our hope that this guidance is a useful resource to help reduce corporate risks and enhance the capacity of companies to make a positive long-lasting contribution to peace and development.