Business as an instrument of peace

Author: Carol Elliott


A new book by Rev. Oliver F.Williams, C.S.C, presents the case for business not only as a significant force in raising living standards, but actually bringing about world peace.

Williams is an associate professor of management at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, as well as the director of the College’s Centerfor Ethics and Religious Values in Business. His book, “Corporate SocialResponsibility: The Role of Business in Sustainable Development” (Routledge, November 2013) is a comprehensive exploration of the themes surrounding what has become known popularly as CSR, a reference to corporations’ efforts to address societal and environmental needs as part of their core operations.

Williams presents a history of business ethics—which goes back at least to ancient Mesopotamia—before exploring the state of CSR today. The book argues that a wide-ranging understanding of the purpose of business is necessary to create value for a community of stakeholders, which in turn can generate a sustainable future.

The book also provides an examination of the present and future work of the UN Global Compact. The Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

"This well-written, and easily accessible book on corporate social responsibility cuts through the mountain of literature to tackle the big issues” said Malcom McIntosh, professor and director of the Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. “It is both intelligent and compassionate at the same time, coming from a wise and experienced man."

The book is available through Routledge publishers at

Rev. Oliver Williams is the editor or author of 15 books as well as numerous articles on business ethics in journals, such as the Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, Business Ethics Quarterly, the Journal of Business Ethics, Business Horizons and Theology Today. Recent books include Economic Imperatives and Ethical Values in Global Business: The South African Experience and Global Codes Today (co-authored with S. Prakash Sethi) and Peace Through Commerce: Responsible Corporate Citizenship and the UN Global Compact.

Williams served as associate provost of the University of Notre Dame from 1987-94 and is a past chair of the Social Issues Division of the Academy of Management. In 2006, he was appointed a member of the three-person Board of Directors at the United Nations Global Compact Foundation. The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative with over 7,000 businesses around the world as members.

For more information, contact Williams at (574) 631-5761 or