Lloyd’s Charities Trust announced that it plans to donate £50,000 ($110,000) to “a unique fund set up by International Alert to aid companies operating in conflict areas around the world.”
The organization is in the process of developing a “Business and Peace Fund,” which will “support work that develops corporate awareness of its role in regions of conflict by implementing the Voluntary Principles in Security and Humans Rights as well as the Conflict-Sensitive Business Practice Guidelines,” Lloyd’s explained.
The donation to International Alert, a non-governmental organization, established in 1999, is the first of its kind to be made by the Lloyd’s Charities Trust Special Award. The NGO has worked with multi-national corporations, governments and international institutions to improve the prospects for sustainable peace in over 20 countries and territories around the world. Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa was one of its founders,
Lloyd’s noted: “A key part of International Alert’s work on business and conflict issues is the development, together with others, of ‘Red Flag Guides’, forthcoming publications outlining potential legal liabilities for companies operating in zones of conflict, making people more aware of potential risks and how to manage them appropriately for social benefit.
“Lloyd’s Charities Trust is donating the £50,000 to help set up and develop this fund. According to Lloyd’s recent 360 research project – ‘Under Attack? Global Business and the Threat of Political Violence” – only a small minority of businesses would build bridges with the local community during a conflict, which is the area that International Alert helps with.”
Nick Gooding, Chairman of Lloyd’s Charities Trust, explained the reasoning behind the grant. Lloyd’s has undertaken significant research on “terrorism and political risk” as part of its 360 project. One of the findings indicated that “global businesses can often, unknowingly, exacerbate political risk exposure, and could do more to be part of the solution in some of the volatile countries they operate in,” Gooding stated. “This donation will help International Alert to provide practical advice and guidance for these businesses as part of their efforts to work with all parties to contribute to peace building.”
Dan Smith, Secretary General of International Alert, expressed the organization’s pleasure with the grant, adding that it “will go a long way in realizing the objectives of the Fund. As both organizations deal with issues of risk, we particularly welcome the association between International Alert and Lloyd’s in the future.”
Speaking on Political Risk in Emerging Markets, the first of a series of Lloyd’s videos to be broadcast on www.lloyds.com, Smith said he believes businesses need specialist information, not just media sources, to help them understand the risks they face. “Companies need more than just information about events. They need to know about trends, they need to know about the context. For that, you’ve got to turn to people who have a feel for the countries,” he stated.
He added that, “if companies don’t have those kinds of people, then they are going to have to outsource the task of developing that kind of material. Sometimes NGOs are the best source of information because they have people who have been in those countries for years and they are impartial.”