Guidance for Companies Operating in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas

This publication aims to provide managers of business enterprises with a basic understanding of situations, where business operations may either benefit from the protections afforded by international humanitarian law or be constrained by its rules. It may also serve as a reference for financial, insurance and trading companies which are not directly operating in zones of armed conflict themselves but may do so indirectly through their clients and suppliers.

This report provides an overview of good practices drawn from the strategies business practitioners have found most effective when conducting human rights due diligence in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. The report covers internal processes within the company as well as external processes with stakeholders and provides a template of key diagnostic questions to identify risk factors. 

This recently published paper offers an overview of the numerous international principles and guidelines that outline how businesses should operate in complex environments, with a particular focus on their usefulness to civil society organisations. The paper includes detailed summaries of 1) Principles and guidelines of multilateral institutions, 2) Sectoral  and country-specific initiatives, and 3) NGO tools for doing business in conflict-affected areas.

This scenario-based training tool provides interactive guidance for responsible businesses in conflict-affected countries. The training tool includes background information, policy recommendations and case studies to illustrate security and human rights challenges companies may face. Most importantly it provides a detailed and real-world scenario exercise based on a company’s dilemma situation with the host government in a post-conflict situation.

“This web site lists activities which should raise a 'red flag' of warning to companies of possible legal risks, and the need for urgent action.”

This report provides guidance for business leaders on how to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights when investing in high-risk areas, based on enhanced due diligence procedures. It is divided into two parts: the first part presents some of the challenges companies operating in high-risk areas face; the second part explores some generic company responses to these challenges.

This brochure aims to assist companies when considering to engage or withdraw from operations in complex or conflict environments. It provides a decision map identifying guiding principles and illustrates each stage of the decision-making process, as well as the resulting decision, with examples and indicators.

This guidance document “aims to assist companies in implementing responsible business practices in conflict-affected and high-risk areas consistent with the Global Compact Ten Principles.” It categorises responsible business practices into the following four areas: core business, government relations, local stakeholder engagement and strategic social investment.

“The OECD Risk Awareness Tool for Multinational Enterprises in Weak Governance Zones aims to help companies that invest in countries where governments are unwilling or unable to assume their responsibilities. It addresses risks and ethical dilemmas that companies are likely to face in such weak governance zones, including obeying the law and observing international instruments, heightened care in managing investments, knowing business partners and clients and dealing with public sector officials, and speaking out about wrongdoing.” (Foreword) The tool is structured as follows: 1) Introduction; 2) Obeying the law and observing international instruments; 3) Heightened managerial care; 4) Political activities; 5) Knowing clients and business partners; 6) Speaking out about wrongdoing; and 7) Business roles in weak governance societies – a broadened view of self-interest.

This publication “consists of guidance on doing business in societies at risk of conflict for field managers working across a range of business activities, as well as headquarters staff in political risk, security, external relations and social performance departments. It provides information on understanding conflict risk through a series of practical documents, including: 1) Introduction to conflict-sensitive business practice, including an overview of the regulatory environment for doing business in conflict-risk states; 2) Screening tool for early identification of conflict risk; 3) Macro-level conflict risk and impact assessment tool; 4) Project-level conflict risk and impact assessment tool; and 5) Special guidance on key flashpoint issues where conflict could arise at any point during a company’s operation.” (Preface to the Guidance)

“The aim of this report is to identify public policy options by which governments and international organizations can better assist private sector efforts to promote effective conflict-sensitive business practices, and do so in ways that make a demonstrable contribution to sustainable peace in the countries in which companies invest and operate. This report assesses the achievements and limitations of emerging private sector initiatives, identifies continuing gaps, and surveys the range of opportunities for complementary public policy action.” (Synopsis of the report)

The ‘Kimberley Process’ is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds. It aims to prevent trade in conflict diamonds, while protecting legitimate trade in rough diamonds, by establishing the minimum requirements for shipments of rough diamonds to be certified as “conflict-free”.

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