Theorizing Business and Local Peacebuilding Through the “Footprints of Peace” Coffee Project in Rural Colombia

Journal article

Miklian, Jason & Juan Pablo Medina Bickel (2018) Theorizing Business and Local Peacebuilding Through the “Footprints of Peace” Coffee Project in Rural Colombia, Business and Society. DOI: 10.1177/0007650317749441.

Read the article here (Open Access)

Despite emerging study of business initiatives that attempt to support local peace and development, we still have significant knowledge gaps on their effectiveness and efficiency. This article builds theory on business engagements for peace through exploration of the Footprints for Peace (FOP) peacebuilding project by the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (FNC). FOP was a business-peace initiative that attempted to improve the lives of vulnerable populations in conflict-affected regions. Through 70 stakeholder interviews, we show how FOP operationalized local peace and development in four conflict-affected departments of Colombia, and examine FNC’s motivations for and effectiveness of its peacebuilding activities. Our main finding is that FOP’s success supported several existing theories on business engagement in peace both in terms of peacebuilding by business and for local economic and societal development, providing evidence in support of development–business collaborations and local peacebuilding by business under certain targeted circumstances. We relate these findings to existing literature, highlighting where existing business-peace theory is supported, where FOP challenged assumptions, and where it illuminated new research gaps. These findings serve to take business-peace theory forward and improve our understandings of what can constitute success for business-peace initiatives in Colombia and possibly other conflict-affected regions.

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