Monday, February 28th is International Corporate Philanthropy Day. The Committee to Encourage Corporate Philanthropy says that the day is meant as an “an international advocacy day intended to build awareness of corporate-community partnerships and to inspire businesses around the world to engage further in philanthropy.”
But we can also take a broader look at corporate social responsibility: what about the benefits that businesses themselves gain from supporting philanthropic efforts?
Let’s look at peace: increases in peace create a more stable society and a more predictable business environment, according research from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Peace creates a safer backdrop for capital investment by stimulating investment due to decreased risk of violence and disruption to the production cycle. This strong relationship between business competitiveness and peacefulness can be shown statistically: the Global Peace Index, produced by IEP, has a 0.75 correlation with the Global Competitiveness Report (produced by the World Economic Forum), a .52 correlation with the Ease of Doing Business Index (World Bank), and a 0.63 correlation with the Economic Freedom of the World Index (Fraser Institute).
Peacefulness itself also helps the economy grow: IEP research shows that a 25% reduction in violence would add $1.2 trillion to the global economy. Global peace would add 8.7% to global GDP, or $4.8 trillion – almost 3 times 2010’s growth. This added value comes from both new economic activity that is generated in peace, as well as economic activity that shifts from violence- to peace-related.
Peace also opens up more developed and richer markets for companies to grow and sell in: every 10 places a nation rises on the GPI, per capita expenditure on footwear and clothing increases $87 and $132 on food and non-alcoholic beverages. Overall, average per capita income increases by $3100, leaving consumers with more money to spend.
The relationship between peace and business growth is what is known as a “virtuous circle,” with each part helping to stimulate the other. Peace opens up more and healthier markets for businesses to operate in. On International Corporate Philanthropy Day, companies should remember that philanthropy and efforts toward peace aren't just important on one day, but every day -- because these efforts can seriously aid their bottom line.
For more about the Global Peace Index, visit www.visionofhumanity.org
 International Monetary Fund: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/update/02/index.htm