Business Finalizes Recommendations to G20 Sherpas

USCIB President Peter Robinson and IOE President Daniel Funes de Rioja (2ns and 3rd from right, respectively) at the B20 session in Paris
USCIB President Peter Robinson and IOE President Daniel Funes (2nd and 3rd from right, respectively) at the B20 session in Paris

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson took part in today’s Special B20 Germany-OECD-BIAC meeting at the OECD in Paris, designed to provide coordinated private-sector input to the G20 leaders, in advance of a key G20 sherpas meeting this week in Germany. The main G20 leaders summit is scheduled for July 7-8 in Hamburg, Germany.

“Today’s meetings were important because we finalized key recommendations to the G20 sherpas on trade and investment policy, job-creation and the digitalization of the economy, among other topics,” said Robinson, who serves as co-chair of the B20 Employment and Education Task Force. “We hope the G20 governments will take these recommendations to heart.”

B20 President Jürgen Heraeus stated: “If we want to ensure future-oriented, sustainable economic growth, business has an important role to play. We are ready to do so. This cooperation offers the outstanding opportunity to shape global economic governance. Our global economy is changing rapidly. We are facing a multitude of risks: climate change, political conflicts, terrorism to name just a few. The G20 can serve as an agenda-setter.”

The B20 meeting was co-hosted by Business at OECD (BIAC), and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria addressed the gathering. “Business at OECD provides continuity and expertise across G20 and B20 presidencies,” said Business at OECD Chairman Phil O’Reilly. “We support the OECD in its vital mission to improve domestic and global economic governance. At a time when trade and investment across borders are subject of much ill-informed debate, OECD evidence on the substantial benefits of open and competitive markets is more important than ever.”

Daniel Funes de Rioja, chairman of the International Organization of Employers, also took part in today’s meetings. Meanwhile, USCIB Senior Vice President Rob Mulligan participated in meetings in London around the conclusion of the G20 finance ministers meeting, which was notable in part for the ministers’ decision not to re-emphasize their shard commitment to resisting trade protectionism.

Following the conclusion finance ministers meeting, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John Danilovich issued a statement calling on the G20 governments to commit to shared values of openness and cooperation.

“We continue to face the challenge of global growth being too low and benefiting too few,” said Danilovich. “This is the defining economic test of our times, and we urge all G20 economies to take concerted and urgent action to enable inclusive growth. A retreat into protectionism would be the wrong response to this challenge.”

Danilovich continued: “Trade and globalization are complex processes, but at their heart are some simple truths. Trade means more choice for consumers. It means lower prices, so the money in your pocket goes further. Companies that trade are more competitive, and create more and better-paid jobs. That’s why trade matters if we’re to deliver the increases in prosperity, and reductions in inequality, that G20 finance ministers rightly committed to realize this weekend.”

“The global business community is naturally concerned by any weakening of the G20’s decade-long stance on resisting protectionism. We remain encouraged that discussions on this issue will continue in the coming months at official level. ICC will do all it can to urge G20 leaders to take the strongest possible stance on maintaining open markets at their annual summit in Hamburg in July. Protectionism is no path to progress.”

IOE Update: Future of Work Report, IOE Global Employers’ Summit

The Future of Work Report

The International Organization of Employers (IOE) has recently published a report on the Future of Work, which presents perspectives on labor market fluctuations in job creation and transformation, technological change and new skills, changes in business models and ways or working, as well as challenges and opportunities in policy-making.  This Report is one of the IOE work products that will inform the B20 Employment and Education Task Force that is co-chaired by USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson.

The Report states that “institutions will need to be much more ambitious in providing enhanced access to lifelong learning and educational opportunities. To inform investment decisions on education and skills, as well as to inform individual career choices in an ongoing challenging environment, it will be essential to rely on more real-time, finely-tuned, holistic and dynamic data.”

An Executive Summary is available here.

IOE Global Employers’ Summit

Save the date for the second annual IOE Global Employers’ Summit scheduled to take place on May 17 in Bad Neuenahr, Germany. Please contact Linda Kromjong for additional details.

The Summit is organised back-to-back with the G20 Labor Ministerial on May 18-19 in Bad Neuenahr and will bring together high-level representatives from global companies, international organizations, employers’ organizations and institutions, to explore key areas of interest for business in the G20 process, including the economic implications of Brexit, the 2016 U.S. election result, making global supply chains more sustainable, bringing more women and youth into employment, and much more.

The event will conclude with a joint IOE-BDA-ITUC-TUAC-Deloitte dinner with G20 Labour Ministers, which will allow for an informal exchange with Ministers and key policy actors on policy developments and trends.

Berlin Meetings Kick Off Germany’s G20 Host Year

Co-Chair Kathryn Porter, Hilton International; Co-Chair Mthunzie Mdwaba, IOE VP for Africa; Co-Chair Peter Robinson; Chair Gerhard Braun, Vice President of BDA
Co-Chair Kathryn Porter, Hilton International; Co-Chair Mthunzie Mdwaba, IOE VP for Africa; Co-Chair Peter Robinson; Chair Gerhard Braun, Vice President of BDA

On December 1, the first full meeting of B20 members during Germany’s G20 host year was held in Berlin. The B20 brings together private-sector representatives from each of the G20 nations and provides official input and advice to the G20. This year’s G20 Summit will be held July 7-8 in Hamburg. The B20 Summit will take place May 2-3 in Berlin.

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson took part in the December 1 event in his capacity as a Co-chair of the B20 Employment and Education Task Force, which met in parallel with all other B20 Task Forces, and for which the IOE serves as Network Partner. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which USCIB also serves as U.S. affiliate, serves as Network Partner for other B20 Task Forces including Trade and Investment.

Because of the compressed schedule for 2017 – the G20 Summit has generally been held in the fall – Germany is proceeding with an accelerated work plan, and has entered into close cooperation with the B20 in support of a manageable yet ambitious agenda.

The December 1 conference brought together all Task Forces and cross-thematic groups. It gave members of various B20 working groups the opportunity to continue their work on policy proposals, and featured addresses by leading G20 and B20 representatives. The conference was opened by German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble and B20 Chairman Jürgen Heraeus. Lars-Henrik Röller, Head of the Federal Chancellery’s Economic and Finance Division and G7/G20 Sherpa, also participated. His B20 counterpart, Stormy-Annika Mildner of BDI, played an important organizational role in the conference.

B20 Germany is co-hosted by the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK)—all three USCIB partners in its global network for Business at OECD/BIAC, International Organization of Employers (IOE), and ATA Carnet, respectively.

The theme of the Conference was “Resilience, Responsibility, Responsiveness—Towards a Future-Oriented, Sustainable World Economy.” The B20 issued a statement calling for open markets and inclusive growth, entitled “Make Trade Work for Everybody. Initiated in response to troubling emotional rhetoric taking place around the world, the statement began with:

“The B20 is deeply concerned about current anti-globalization sentiments, which can be witnessed in many countries around the world. Increasingly, communities are voicing strong opposition to trade liberalization and international investment. We need to take these concerns seriously and support communities during times of change and disruption. At the same time, seemingly easy solutions risk having long-term negative consequences for business, workers, and consumers. We urge governments to resist the temptation to resort to protectionist measures such as trade barriers or investment restrictions”

Click here to read a B20 Statement for Open Markets and Inclusive Growth

G20 Scorecard

At the Berlin meetings, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) unveiled the latest edition of ICC G20 Business Scorecard, rating G20 responsiveness to key business policy priorities for growing the global economy, while revealing important missed opportunities G20 nations group to advance international trade and key international policy frameworks.

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich noted that ICC “is encouraged to see that G20 work is becoming increasingly responsive to priority recommendations put forward each year by business that aims to spur economic growth and job creation.”

The 2016 ICC Scorecard examined 25 business priorities developed during the Chinese B20 cycle and rates the G20’s responsiveness across seven policy areas. The overall score of 2.3 out of 3.0 across all seven policy categories marks the highest overall score since ICC began its monitoring. However, despite the positive overall trend, progress is shown to be uneven.

Click here to view the full results of the ICC Scorecard.

What’s New at IOE?

The International Organization of Employers (IOE) is staying busy in December and has multiple events on the calendar for 2017. From a Global Employers Summit to an International Conference on Business and Human Rights, see here for their upcoming events, news and more!

Business Urges Governments to Advance National Human Rights Action Plans

USCIB Vice President Ariel Meyerstein (2nd from left) and IOE Secretary General Linda Kromjong (far right) at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights
USCIB Vice President Ariel Meyerstein (2nd from left) and IOE Secretary General Linda Kromjong (far right) at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

As the world’s largest annual gathering on business and human rights gets underway in Geneva this week, the private sector is calling on governments to heighten efforts to develop and implement national action plans.

Bringing together over 2,000 participants – including government, business, civil society and academia – the 2016 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is a major opportunity to assess progress in relation to the United Nations’ Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights, and other current business-related human rights issues.

Endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the Guiding Principles comprise 31 principles and commentary based on three pillars, implementing the UN’s “protect, respect and remedy” framework. They are a blueprint for what governments and companies need to do to put in place appropriate policies to respect human rights.

With only eight countries having implemented national action plans, USCIB and its global business partners are seeking to mobilize their national representatives to call on their respective governments to develop a national plan in order to align national laws with global standards.

In a joint statement, USCIB and other business groups issued a four-point paper stating that:

  • Business supports the UN Framework and Guiding Principles and wishes to see States implement the State Duty to Protect human rights
  • States should see NAPs as the opportunity to exercise leadership to build genuine commitment and
    capacity to achieve tangible progress in standards, business behaviour and change for rights-holders
  • States should engage with the business community to learn from their experiences in dealing with
    human rights commitments, and
  • State should use the NAPs as an opportunity for collective action.

Speaking during a forum panel on human rights and investment treaties, ICC Senior Policy Manager Viviane Schiavi underscored the world business organization’s pivotal role in promoting business implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, and highlighted how the newly launched 2012 ICC Guidelines for International Investment call on investing companies to respect the human rights of those affected by their activities, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Read more on ICC’s website.

Business Engages With G20 on Employment

youth_workingLeading governments and business organizations are redoubling their efforts to boost employment opportunities worldwide. On November 2 in Geneva, Linda Kromjong, secretary general of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), and Phil O’Reilly, chairman of Business at OECD (BIAC), attended an informal meeting of the G20 Employment Working Group.

That same day, USCIB president and CEO Peter Robinson took part in the inaugural meeting of the B20 (Business 20) Task Force on Employment and Education, of which he serves as a vice chair. The task force is chaired by Gerhard Braun, vice chairman of the German Employers Federation BDA. Key issues for Robinson in the task force include adapting to the future of work‎ and addressing youth unemployment.

In her remarks to the G20 working group, Kromjong highlighted the fresh approach that had been taken by China, during its year in the rotating G20 presidency, to rising global unemployment by focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship. She underscored that a number of important initiatives of the Chinese presidency, such as the G20 Apprenticeships Initiative and the G20 Structural Reform Agenda, have the potential to contribute to more dynamic labor markets.

O’Reilly commended the upcoming German G20 presidency on its plans to closely engage with social partners, including the business community. He said business supports many of the ambitious agenda items of the German presidency and that it is exciting that the “future of work” has been put on the G20 agenda.

Employers Participate in Forum on Impact of Major Sporting Events

A male soccer player kicks a ball and soccer goalie jumping in motion for a ball while defending his gates on wide angle panoramic image of a outdoor soccer stadium or arena full of spectators under a sunny sky. The image has depth of field with the focus on the foreground part of the pitch. With intentional lensflares. Players are wearing unbranded soccer uniform.

The International Organization of Employers (IOE), part of USCIB’s global network, took part in the October 13-14 Sporting Chance Forum on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights in Washington, D.C.

Convened by the U.S. State Department, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, this high-level gathering convened 100 leaders from a wide variety of relevant stakeholder groups to discuss strategies to prevent, mitigate, and remedy human rights and labor standards abuses associated with the life cycle of major international sporting events such as the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup.

Read more on the IOE website.

Execs Meet With Labor Secretary to Promote Apprenticeships

US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez (second from right) at the Global Apprenticeships Network board meeting in Washington, D.C.
US Labor Secretary Thomas Perez (second from right) at the Global Apprenticeships Network board meeting in Washington, D.C.

Youth unemployment worldwide has reached crisis proportions. Businesses are often unable to find the skills they need among new graduates, and around the world 621 million youth are not engaged in employment, education or training. What’s more, 51 percent of millennials are underemployed, and student debt is growing.

Obtaining an apprenticeship as a first job allows the young person to benefit from “earning while learning,” which can lead to a lifetime of productive employment. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez has called apprenticeship “the other college, except without the debt.”

A business-led coalition spearheaded by CEOs representing some of the world’s largest companies, employer associations, and major international organizations have come together through the Global Apprenticeships Network (GAN) to create skills for business and jobs for youth.

gan_group
Secretary Perez (front row, center) met with CEOs and other private-sector representatives, including USCIB President Peter Robinson and IOE Secretary General Linda Kromjong (first row, far right), and BIAC Secretary General Bernhard Welschke (second row, second from right).

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson joined GAN CEOs and Secretary Perez at a series of events on October 6 at the White House in Washington, D.C. Also present were Linda Kromjong, secretary general of the International Organization of Employers, and Bernhard Welschke, secretary general of Business at OECD.

Coincident with the GAN meetings in Washington, Adecco Group CEO Alain Dehaze published a column on LinkedIn entitled “Employment: A Call to Action for the Next President of the United States.”

Click here to read more about the days events. You can also view a recap on the GAN’s website.

 

How Can Business Help Tackle the Refugee Crisis?

UNHCR_summit

This week the United Nations (UN) is hosting its first high-level summit in response to the global refugee crisis unfolding across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 60 million people, including 19.5 million refugees, have been displaced by conflict in 2015. The UN summit will focus on government efforts to diminish the suffering of people forced to flee conflict and support solutions for the resulting widespread societal disruption. The role of the private sector in tackling the refugee crisis should not be understated.

Companies of all sizes and from all sectors have already pledged to respond to the refugee crisis through a series of initiatives – from funding campaigns to delivering essential training programs. USCIB’s global network is encouraging companies to do more where they can, based on their own assets and capabilities.

“This is an important moment for expanding private-sector involvement in tackling the short- and long-term impacts of mass migration,” said John Danilovich, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). “We are committed to working with governments to help mobilize private sector resources and expertise in addressing the global refugee crisis.”

Ronnie Goldberg, USCIB’s senior counsel, addressed the summit on behalf of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), taking part in a roundtable dialogue on safe migration. USCIB played an instrumental role in in establishing the private sector mechanism at the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

“Employers regard migration as a necessary and positive phenomenon,” Goldberg said. “We believe our participation will help governments understand how migration policies and practices affect business operations, as well as enable private-sector representatives to actively contribute to migration policy debates by contributing their extensive experience and expertise on migration issues.”

Read more on ICC’s website.

 

African Employers to Launch Jobs for Africa Foundation

AfricaJobsThe African Employers’ Task Force on Employment and Employability has drawn up a Blueprint for Jobs in Africa. The Blueprint sets out ten Recommendations that African governments, working closely with employers’ organisations and trade unions, should implement in order to sustain growth and accelerate the pace of job creation in the continent.

Job creation is an important priority of the African Union Commission in the Ouagadougou Declaration on Employment and Poverty Alleviation and the Africa 2063 Agenda. It is also an important objective of the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 8 which seeks to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. Job creation through sustainable enterprises is a core priority of the IOE.

In order to continue with this work, the International Organization of Employers (IOE), with the support of the International Labor Organization, the European Commission and other partners, will launch the Jobs for Africa foundation. The main objective is to advance the work of the Taskforce by supporting governments, African employers’ organisations and trade unions to implement the 10 Recommendations of the Blueprint for Jobs in Africa.

Jamal Belahrach of CGEM Morocco will continue leading this work and will be supported by Frederick Muia and Anetha Awuku of the IOE.

The IOE announced that the European Commission has agreed to fund the next social partners’ forum on Jobs for Africa, which will be hosted by the Tunisian Employers’ Federation (UTICA) in Tunis on December 15-16, 2016. A formal invitation will be forwarded to our members and partners in Africa in due course.