Corporate Peace

How Global Business Shapes a Hostile World

January 2020 9781787381278 228pp


Ours is an era of big companies, multinational brands and global business power, but also of seemingly unending conflict. Corporate Peace examines how corporations respond to the life-and-death business of war and peace. What happens when they come up against Mexican drug cartels, or the Ebola epidemic in Liberia? Through the experiences of behemoths such as Fiat, Veolia, BP and Unilever, Mary Martin shows how big business is increasingly critical in building a safer world, in the face of failed states, health pandemics, insurgencies and organised crime.

Can companies do more than generate profits in the poorest and most fragile parts of the world? Should they also shoulder responsibilities neglected by government? Martin contends that corporations must move beyond simply ‘doing no harm’, or upholding human rights. They are becoming part of the solution, contributing expertise and investment to resolve complex issues of violence, authority and law.

Corporate Peace offers an alternative account of business, challenging our assumptions about security and how companies function in an unstable world. It is an invitation to anyone interested in how society works: to rethink how multinationals can mobilise their power and influence for the common good.


‘A novel and challenging perspective on the purpose and merits of MNEs. In a deeply insightful assessment addressing the multiple demands and expectations stakeholders have from MNEs, Martin explores if MNEs can support the development of peace.’ — Hinrich Voss, Professor of International Business, the Centre for International Business University of Leeds (CIBUL)

‘Martin’s highly original approach shows how global enterprises can accept responsibility for bringing peace and greater prosperity to remote, challenged communities in troubled regions of the world. Using vivid storytelling and incisive thinking, she redefines and broadens the responsibilities of the 21st century capitalist corporation.’ — Gavyn Davies, Chairman of Fulcrum Asset Management, former Chairman of the BBC and former Partner of Goldman Sachs



Mary Martin is Director of the UN Business and Human Security Initiative, LSE IDEAS. She was formerly European Business editor of The Guardian and later The Daily Telegraph.

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