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

The Peace Innovation Lab at Stanford has been working to establish a metrics-based approach to measure and price the value of peace. As early as 2009, we partnered with Facebook to create a page devoted to emphasizing the social media friendships created across conflict groups. Facebook’s Peace page (called Peace Dot) reports the number of friend requests accepted between conflicting groups in real-time. Since then we have worked with companies such as Swoop Analytics to take a microscope on gender engagement via online communications inside of companies to assess the frequency and quality of communication between men and women.

This spring we published the first iteration of the Peace Data Standard: A Practical and Theoretical Framework for Using Technology to Examine Intergroup Interactions which defines the data format and standard that will allow anyone who uses technology for engaging with others, to measure their peace impact, both as it happens, and, more importantly, over time. This ability to give a peace score to individuals for their behaviour provides the auditable standard for issuing “peace credits” (think carbon credits but for peace), not only to individuals, but also to the companies, organizations, and communities they are part of.

The Peace Data Standard addresses a capital dilemma for both investors and companies who are looking to invest in or be considered ESG Index compliant. Through our research, we have found that investors have difficulty defining, discovering and investing in companies that fulfill the Social aspect of ESG. Likewise, companies don’t have a consistent way of demonstrating their social impact. The Peace Data Standard provides a common reference for companies to identify, monitor and report the positive peace they create in the world and it also gives investors a common reference to evaluate and make strategic investments that reward peace creation.

Peace Data Standard is a first step toward creating concrete metrics that will make it easier for everyone to measure the peace and associated value they create in the world.

Additional Peace Data Standard Readings and Videos:
Peace Data Standard and ESG Investing
Peace Data Standard video at Engage Prague
Peace Data Standard Deck – The Hague Impact City Event
Peace Data Standard: A Practical and Theoretical Framework for Using Technology to Examine Intergroup Interactions