USCIB Statement on U.S. Withdrawal From the Paris Climate Agreement

New York, N.Y., June 1, 2017 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most successful global companies, issued the following statement on U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement:

“Like many others in the U.S. business community, USCIB is disappointed by the news that the Trump administration has elected to leave the Paris Climate Agreement. In our view, this decision could leave U.S. companies unprotected and exposed to possible discrimination under the Paris Agreement if the U.S. government is not at the table.

“The Paris Agreement is redefining global markets for energy and environmental goods and services, as well as providing major economic stimuli for companies. U.S. energy security and access were never threatened by the Paris Agreement, which allows each national government to define its own climate action plan. Moreover, the U.S. stands to benefit from trade and investment opportunities that the Paris Agreement will set in motion.

“We are interested to learn more about how the U.S. will pursue new arrangements while remaining in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. While it does so, we encourage the U.S. to stay involved on behalf of U.S. economic interests, and to bring U.S. solutions to this crucial global effort. We encourage the administration to reform areas of the UN climate framework toward more fair, transparent and balanced approaches that are responsive to U.S. circumstances and aspirations.

“USCIB members are committed to advancing sustainable development and environmental solutions through international cooperation, and have supported the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement since their inception. Multilateral forums and cooperative approaches are the best way to address the transboundary challenges of energy access and innovation, climate change and sustainable development. In close coordination with our global business partners, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF), USCIB will continue to champion U.S. business interests in the UNFCCC, and will seek opportunities to promote U.S. environment and energy solutions through business engagement and implementation, and to broadly deploy climate-friendly investment and innovation.

“USCIB has represented U.S. business interests in the UN climate negotiations for over 25 years, and during that time has benefited from the diligent efforts of U.S. government representatives at the table to advance and defend U.S. business interests, often under challenging conditions. We express thanks to the current U.S. climate negotiating team, and others with whom we have worked, for their extraordinary efforts on our behalf.”

About USCIB:
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, including ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
Tel: +1 212 703 5043
jhuneke@uscib.org

Industry Appeals to China on Cybersecurity Law

With China’s broad cybersecurity law set to take effect next month, USCIB has joined with a range of industry groups from the United States and other countries in appealing for the country to delay its entry into force. Among other things, the new law would give law enforcement enhanced authority to access private data and require data to be stored servers located in China.

In a joint letter, the business groups said they are “deeply concerned that current and pending security-related rules will effectively erect trade barriers along national boundaries that effectively bar participation in your market and affect companies across industry sectors that rely on information technology goods and services to conduct business.”

The letter called on China to ensure that cybersecurity regulations comply with China’s World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments and encourage the adoption of international models that support China’s development as a global hub for technology and services.

Like it or Not, UN Needs Private Sector Input in Climate Talks

USCIB’s Norine Kennedy at the UN climate talks in Bonn

USCIB Vice President Norine Kennedy has an op-ed in The Hill today urging UN negotiators not to freeze the business community out of future discussion of climate change. The full text of the op-ed is available on The Hill’s website.

Kennedy, who attended the latest UN climate talks in Bonn last week, worked closely with the U.S. and other governments, as well as numerous business groups including the International Chamber of Commerce, to push back against proposals by a few governments and NGOs to curtail private-sector participation under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

 


 

The Hill

May 15, 2017

Like it or Not, UN Needs Private Sector Input in Climate Talks

By Norine Kennedy

BONN, GERMANY—As the current round of U.N. climate talks here in Bonn near their conclusion, delegates are allowing themselves a sense of cautious relief. The Trump administration has postponed a final decision on its continued involvement in the UN climate treaty – and the Paris Agreement concluded in 2015 – until after this meeting concludes on May 18. A hard-working, albeit smaller-than-usual, U.S. delegation is on hand, and the talks are moving ahead on a range of technical matters.

(Read the full text on The Hill’s website.)

 

 

USCIB and AFL-CIO Join Forces to Support Key Programs on Labor and Human Rights

CapitolUSCIB and the AFL-CIO recently joined forces in a letter co-signed by USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and ALF-CIO President Richard Trumka to the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies and its Senate counterpart to support the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) and the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL). Robinson and Trumka serve together as members of the President’s Committee on the International Labor Organization.

Separately, USCIB submitted written testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations to continue funding ILAB’s and DRL’s grants and programs. “These department bureaus are essential for ensuring compliance with our current trade law and a level playing field for businesses operating both in the U.S. and globally. The programs and grants of ILAB and DRL are critical to both employers and workers, providing essential support to efforts of U.S. companies and worker organizations to promote worker rights abroad, uphold labor commitments in free trade agreements, eliminate forced labor and child labor, and create an enabling environment for ethical business practices,” said Rob Mulligan, USCIB senior vice president for policy and government affairs.

The joint USCIB AFL-CIO letter is available here.

USCIB Urges Business Access in Comments to UNFCCC

As uncertainty in U.S. participation and leadership in UN climate negotiations and the Paris Climate Agreement continues, USCIB and its global network are pushing to ensure that business has a voice in the global climate policy process.

USCIB, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) recently submitted coordinated comments to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of its Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 46) meeting, to take place in Bonn, Germany on May 8-18, 2017. The USCIB, ICC and BizMEF submissions all make the case for enhancing engagement of Non-Party Actors (NSAs), particularly the private sector, in order to strengthen Paris Agreement implementation. USCIB’s Norine Kennedy, Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment will attend the Bonn meetings, along with USCIB members from Monsanto and Novozymes.

In preparing the comments Kennedy noted, “As it stands today, the UNFCCC institutional infrastructure does not adequately reflect the role of the private sector and therefore must be updated and expanded to recognize and mobilize business engagement as part of global efforts to deliver on the Paris Agreement. In our view, the May Workshop during SBI46 on enhancing NSA engagement could provide valuable ideas to begin to build this vital institutional infrastructure for implementation of the Agreement.”

Governments have recognized the major contribution of the private sector to achieving the Paris Agreement, its entry into force and other follow-up activities.  As a long-time observer organization representing American business in the UNFCCC since 1993, USCIB has consistently sought to extend existing opportunities to participate in the international climate processes.  USCIB’s advocacy has focused on broadening and improving existing options to create a more comprehensive, recognized channel for business engagement to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement and ensure the effectiveness and resilience of the UNFCCC.

In its comments, USCIB emphasized that enhancing business engagement requires innovative governance and partnership, and will be a prerequisite for successful and cost-effective implementation. Kennedy stressed that “the UNFCCC should adjust its means of working with business to a more collaborative and mainstreamed mode. This will require innovative leadership by policy-makers to engage the private sector in new ways.”

USCIB’s comments also included suggestions for the SBI workshop’s objectives, a long-term vision for business engagement in the UNFCC, and the role of business in national pledges under the Paris Agreement, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The full submission can be accessed here.

 

USCIB in the News: Joint Letter Seeks Fair Play in India

USCIB has recently been cited in two articles, the Economic Times India and the International Business Times India,  both of which featured a multi-industry letter that was sent to Congress regarding the United States’ role in ensuring fair play in India for American companies. USCIB joined a group of over twenty eminent American business organizations and industry groups, many of which are also USCIB members. The letter stated that “businesses in the U.S. continue to face an evolving array of tariff and non-tariff barriers, both longstanding and new, which impede businesses and manufactures in the United States from competing fairly in India and creating jobs here at home.”

The letter urges the U.S. government, including Congress, to use all available channels to ensure fair play and to support Indian efforts that align with U.S. goals. The letter emphasized the need to actively use existing as well as new platforms and tools to raise and resolve longstanding issues, including the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum, and the WTO dispute settlement.

The letter is available here.

ICC Statement on Code Interpretation/Reference Guide on Advertising to Children

The Reference Guide on Advertising to Children can be found here. 

ICC Statement on Code Interpretation

The International Chamber of Commerce Consolidated Code of Marketing and Advertising Practice
(ICC Code) sets forth standards for marketing communications, including provisions addressing
special responsibilities for marketing “products” (as defined by the ICC Code, which includes
services)to children and young people. Article 18 of the ICC Code outlines principles for advertising
to children and young people, while Article 19 establishes principles for data collection involving
children. The purpose of this Statement on Code Interpretation is to clarify the age of “children” and
the age of “young people” for purposes of the ICC Code.

The ICC’s approach has been informed by almost 100 years of research on child development, and
recognizes that children, on the one hand, and teens, on the other, require special consideration
based on their differing ability to understand marketing messages. A wealth of data and historical
customs and practices support defining “children” as age 12 and younger (i.e. under 13 years old) for
marketing-related purposes, and this is generally the age the ICC intends when referring to “children”
in the ICC Code. Where the ICC Code refers to “young people,” the ICC generally intends this
phrase to mean teenagers (“teens”) under age 18. Children and teens are typically considered
“minors” and are barred from purchasing, consuming or using particular products intended for adults.

An overarching principle of the ICC Code is that marketing communications must be legal, decent,
honest and truthful, considering how the communication is likely to be interpreted by the primary
target audience. The ICC Code recognizes that some added fair marketing communications
principles should apply to both children and teens, while other specific marketing communications
principles should apply only to children. For example, products that are unsuitable for purchase, use
or consumption by children and teens in the jurisdiction where the marketing communications appear
should not be advertised in media targeted to them, while other provisions of the Code (e.g. the use
of fantasy in advertising) include additional best practices for child-directed marketing
communications. Likewise, children and teens should not be portrayed in advertisements using
products that are not appropriate for them to use.

The ICC recognizes that some local laws may define “children” and “young people” differently.
Marketers of course must respect local laws when it comes to structuring local marketing
communications. The ICC decision to adopt age 12 and younger as the reference age of “children”
for purposes of advertising and privacy provisions of the ICC Code, and to define “young people” as
teens under 18, reflects proven differences in the ability of children versus teens to understand
marketing communications, the very real differences in teens’ interests as compared to children, the
practical impediments to obtaining parental consent where data collection from teens is concerned,
sensitivities about teen privacy rights, and respect for freedom of commercial communications where
the principal audience is adults. Harmonization around this age will help maintain international
consistency, and is consistent with many content ratings and safety laws around the world.

Business Highlights Opportunities to Strengthen Paris Agreement

ParisWorkshopLast week, business, government, OECD and UNFCCC representatives attended a first of its kind workshop at the OECD to share experiences and explore next steps to enhance the role of business in the preparation, review and improvement of national pledges for the Paris Agreement.  Organized by BIAC and the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF),  the workshop included presentations of pro-active business dialogue and cooperation with national and regional governments from representatives of BusinessEurope, CNI, Keidanren, and MEDEF.

Opening the meeting, Russel Mills, Dow Chemical, Chairman of BIAC’s Environment and Energy Committee, stated that “in today’s increasingly inter-linked economies more in-depth cooperation between governments and business is essential to build the best models to most effectively tackle our major climate change challenges.” Over the course of the workshop, representatives of the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement and implementation bodies presented their perspectives on where business could support action and inform technical discussions leading up to entry into force of the Paris Agreement and the development of rules for tracking progress of national actions.

Norine Kennedy, USCIB, presented a discussion paper, Business Engagement in Domestic and International Implementation of the Paris Agreement: Institutional Infrastructure for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the UN FrameworkConvention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , prepared by USCIB for BizMEF.  The discussion paper offers case studies drawn from a BizMEF survey of its partner organizations and recommends a recognized business interface to be developed as part of the Paris Agreement institutional infrastructure.  This unique report offered to UNFCCC by leading national and regional representative business groups will be further elaborated and presented in final form at a BizMEF side event during the next climate meetings in Marrakesh in November.

BIAC representatives also attended the OECD Global Forum on Climate Change this week.  BIAC’s ongoing policy work to advise OECD member states highlights the necessity of innovative technologies and investments that will support and scale up mitigation, adaptation and resilience.  In his closing comments, Mills reminded the Workshop that when “business identifies the most cost effective options for climate policy, this helps governments and society tackle climate challenges faster and cheaper.”

To read the current discussion draft, click here. We will keep you informed of further developments.

The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities

SustainabilityThe scale and ambition of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) create a tremendous opportunity for the private sector to demonstrate the central role it plays in human prosperity. Business will serve as an essential partner to meet the challenge of achieving the SDGs.

The recently unveiled OECD Development Co-operation Report 2016: The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities, acknowledges the private sector’s role as a “powerful promoter of sustainable development”. It also highlights the opportunity for the governments to leverage private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. The publication lists the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges.

The report also provides guidance on responsible business conduct and outlines the challenges in mobilizing and measuring private finance to achieve the SDGs. Throughout the report, practical examples illustrate how business is already promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. USCIB and its global network contributed to the report:

  • Shaun Donnelly, USCIB’s vice president for investment and financial services, contributed an article titled “Pro-Investment policies really matter!” about the link between good investment policies and development (p. 61 in the report).
  • Louise Kantrow, the International Chamber of Commerce’s permanent representative to the United Nations, highlighted the shared interests between the business community and the development community in her piece, “Sustainable development challenges are business challenges.” (p. 28 in the report)
  • And during the report’s launch event, USCIB Vice President for Labor Affairs, Corporate Responsibility and Governance Ariel Meyerstein showcased the influential Business for 2030 website, an initiative by USCIB highlighting the contributions from the private sector in helping to achieve the SDGs.

More details, including ways to access the report can be found on the OECD Website.

Making a Difference: USCIB Annual Report 2015 – 2016

Annual_Report_2015-2016Around the world, and across every industry, companies are facing increased regulation of their operations. New corporate tax rules, heightened privacy protections, environmental reporting, forced localization – these are just a few examples of the proliferating regulatory burden with which global companies must contend. The cost of regulation is increasing, eating into profits and hampering job creation.

In addressing regulation of cross-border commerce, one important avenue is to work with intergovernmental institutions – such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization and the OECD – that help set the global rules of the road and recommend best practices to governments. This is at the heart of what USCIB does. And we do so both offensively, providing proactive education and informed views to policymakers at the national and international level, to ensure better, more sensible polices, and defensively, helping companies mitigate the costs of rules and regulations.

Find out more about our work and how we can help your company in our Annual Report.