Peace Data Standard

Canonical as of Sept 24, 2018

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Health, the environment, clean water, clean air and strong, healthy societies have often been viewed as social goods that defy a market value. Because capital markets struggle to assign a dollar value to them, investing to protect, maintain or increase these social goods becomes difficult. In the same way, society struggles to value and invest in peace. How do you manage what you can’t measure?

For these reasons, the Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford has been working to establish a quantitative approach to measure—and ultimately price—the value of peace. For our first proof of concept, way back 2009, we partnered with Facebook to create peace.facebook.com (the legacy site is still visible, now at facebook.com/peace). This was a page showing the number of facebook friendships created across a selection of conflict boundaries around the world, every 24 hours. More recently, we worked with a large financial services company, in collaboration with our partner Swoop Analytics, to measure gender engagement via online communications inside their organization, to assess various dimensions of engagement quality between men and women in the workplace.

This spring we published the first iteration of the Peace Data Standard: A Practical and Theoretical Framework for Using Technology to Examine Intergroup Interactions. This defines a structured data format that will allow any organization using technology in their daily operations, to measure their peace impact in the background, both as it happens, and, more importantly, over time. This ability to give a peace score to individuals for their behaviour lays the foundation for an audit standard, which in turn provides the basis for issuing "peace credits" (think carbon credits but for peace), not only to individuals, but also to the enterprises, organizations, and communities they are part of.

The Peace Data Standard (now The Hague Peace Data Standard, thanks to support from the City of The Hague and the Dutch government) addresses a deep structural problem in capital markets, and a capital dilemma for both investors and companies who are looking to invest in or be considered ESG (good Environmental, Social, and Governance) compliant companies.

On the one hand, investors have difficulty defining, discovering and investing in companies that fulfill the Social aspect of ESG. At the same time, companies who would like to be eligible for ESG investment don't have a consistent way of demonstrating their social impact. The Hague Peace Data Standard provides a common reference for companies to identify, monitor and report the positive peace they create in the world, while giving investors a common reference to evaluate and make strategic investments that reward peace creation and the deeply sustainable new value it generates.

The Hague Peace Data Standard is a first step toward creating concrete metrics that will make it possible for everyone to measure, for the first time, both the peace they create in the world, and the associated economic value of strengthening the social fabric that knits humanity and our environment together.

How You Can Get Involved:

  • Help source Peace Data

  • Help your organization get recognition for the positive peace it is generating.

  • Help make Peace Data auditable, so it becomes an effective market

  • Signal for (at least some of) the true value peace creates

  • Help improve the standard

  • Help establish a Peace Data Prize