USCIB Urges Trump Administration to Remain Engaged in UN Climate Talks

With senior advisors in the Trump administration set to meet tomorrow to discuss U.S. engagement in the UN and other international climate change discussions, USCIB has urged the administration to keep the U.S. seat at the table.

Earlier this month, in a letter to the White House, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson wrote: “In spite of challenges and shortcomings in the UN climate policy arena, USCIB reaffirms its support for the United States to continue as a Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement.”

However, USCIB’s letter, which was sent April 17 to National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, explicitly recommended that the U.S. place a number of conditions on continued engagement, including reassessing existing U.S. emissions reduction and related commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement in the context of broader consultation with the private sector.

The letter further recommended that the U.S. insist on greater access and transparency in the UN climate negotiation process for U.S. economic stakeholders, call on the UN to discourage unilateral trade measures related to climate, and work through the UN and other international forums to foster speedier development and deployment of environmentally sound technologies.

“Addressing climate change and its impacts will require a long-term international cooperative approach with due attention to national circumstances and priorities to assure ongoing economic development,” Robinson wrote. “USCIB members are convinced that U.S. engagement and leadership are required to champion economically sound approaches to energy and climate change risks that advance U.S. economic prosperity and create new job and market opportunities for U.S. businesses at home and abroad.”

USCIB Convenes Multistakeholder Roundtable on Business and Infrastructure for SDGs

L-R: USCIB Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, and Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. State Department

As the UN gears up for its annual high-level political forum (HLPF) to review progress on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in July, the international community is turning its attention to SDG 9—building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. The extensive role of infrastructure in achieving all 17 SDGs prompted USCIB to organize a ‘Business for SDGs’ roundtable on Infrastructure last Friday, April 21, hosted by Covington LLP in Washington DC.

Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment and the lead for USCIB’s work on the sustainable development goals opened the meeting and served as the event’s master of ceremonies.  “USCIB’s SDG Working Group realized that no SDG can be delivered without the right ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ infrastructure, such as education, financial inclusion, food systems and healthcare, in place. The pipeline for bankable projects for both has to accelerate to broadly deploy and leverage business resources and know,” said Kennedy.

The event, held on the margins of the UN Financing for Development Infrastructure Forum, drew participants from government and business, including USCIB member companies AT&T, Bechtel, Citi, KPMG, MasterCard, and Monsanto as well as the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, NGO groups such as the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, and U.S. government representatives, notably Ambassador Lisa Kubiske from the U.S. Department of State who gave closing remarks.

The roundtable discussed obstacles to and best practices in public private partnerships for infrastructure projects, challenges in removing barriers or dealing with corruption, and the importance of scaling U.S. business investment, and the role of business in developing and utilizing SDG-relevant metrics. “There’s a huge financing gap, especially in terms of development and sustainable infrastructure projects around the world,” said Kubiske before citing U.S. government resources and initiatives that to de-risk and support U.S. companies competing for infrastructure projects, such as Power Africa.

“Investment in infrastructure is key to achieving a successful implementation of the SDGs,” emphasized Peter M. Robinson, USCIB’s CEO and president in discussing key takeaways from the roundtable. “We must actively search for ways to discourage governments from crowding out private investment; the implementation imperative requires scaling up business involvement and commercial opportunities. A first priority is to knock down obstacles to infrastructure investment, which can take the form of formal barriers to foreign investment in specific sectors or burdensome regulation affecting both foreign and domestic firms,” he said. Robinson’s remarks can be found here.

USCIB will host another roundtable on Innovation and SDGs in May in conjunction with the Financing for Development Forum.  Please see USCIB’s Businessfor2030 website for more information on the roundtable and other USCIB actions and engagement on the SDGs.

USCIB Welcomes New Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility

Gabriella Rigg Herzog
Gabriella Rigg Herzog

USCIB welcomed Gabriella Rigg Herzog as its new Vice President for Labor Affairs and Corporate Responsibility yesterday, April 17. Herzog will be based in USCIB’s New York office.

Most recently, Herzog served as Senior Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Hess Corporation and actively participated in the USCIB Corporate Responsibility Committee.  She worked with her predecessors Adam Greene and Ariel Meyerstein and knows many of the company representatives on the committee including the Chair, Laura Rubbo.  At Hess she handled CSR and human rights issues and was active in a wide-range of internal and outside activities that led to Hess being recognized as one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens.

Prior to her work with Hess, Herzog was a Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, where she led the Bureau’s global CSR policy and program practice.  She also worked at the U.S. Department of Labor developing and implementing labor cooperation programs to help labor ministries improve enforcement capacity.

“We are excited to have Gabriella join the USCIB team and fortunate to be able to bring in someone who has worked with us in her previous roles,” said Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs. “She brings a strong background in CSR and Labor issues to the role at USCIB with the added advantage of already being very familiar with the work of the committees she will manage.”

USCIB’s Sustainable Development Event to Focus on Infrastructure

Vertical Garden – Green Wall – BioWallSince the global adoption of the UN Agenda for 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has turned its attention to implementation, and the resources from governments and business required to set the SDGs into motion. In this regard, a pressing priority across all seventeen SDGs is upgrading and building infrastructure for sustainability. USCIB will host a roundtable on infrastructure for sustainability this Friday, April 21 in Washington DC.

“Roundtable participants will discuss where and how business is already planning for and investing in infrastructure for sustainability, what are the enabling frameworks, policies and partnerships that can be scaled for impact, what new sources and approaches exist to mobilize resources and advance bankable projects for sustainability infrastructure and which indicators to use to measure and report impacts of infrastructure investments by the private sector,” said Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment.

Both “hard” and “soft” forms of infrastructure have also figured prominently in the UN Financing for Development (FfD) process. The USCIB Roundtable will immediately precede the FfD Infrastructure Forum, and inform recommendations by USCIB to the UN High Level Political Forum meetings in July when they review SDG actions by governments, business and others.

Notable speakers at USCIB’s event will include Ambassador Lisa Kubiske, deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of State, Albena Melin, principal operations officer at the International Finance Corporation, Krishan Sharma, senior economist at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Alan P. Larson, senior international policy advisor at Covington.

For further details and registration information please contact Mia Lautermlauter@uscib.org.

International Business Spring 2017 Issue

IB_Spring2017USCIB’s “International Business” Spring 2017 issue is now live! A web version can be accessed here.

The Spring 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “American Competitiveness and Innovation in the 21st Century” as well as articles on developments in the G20, WTO and the UN climate talks, plus news from our global network–Business at OECD, the International Organization of Employers and the International Chamber of Commerce.

“International Business,” USCIB’s quarterly journal, provides essential insight into major trade and investment topics, a high-level overview of USCIB policy advocacy and services, USCIB member news and updates from our global business network.

Subscribe to USCIB’s International Business Magazine

Subscriptions to “International Business” are available free upon request to representatives of USCIB member organizations. Contact us to subscribe.

Non-members may subscribe to “International Business” and other USCIB print publications at an annual rate of $50 (U.S.) for domestic delivery, or $75 for overseas delivery. Contact us to subscribe. USCIB’s annual report, studies from the United States Council Foundation and related publications are included with your paid subscription.

Our free electronic newsletter, “International Business Weekly,” provides regular updates on USCIB’s major activities and priorities. Click here to view a sample issue. Click here to subscribe.

We welcome outside submissions and inquiries regarding our publications – send them to news@uscib.org.

We welcome advertising in International Business magazine — special discounted rates for USCIB member organizations! Contact Kira Yevtukhova (kyevtukhova@uscib.org) for more information.

 

Washington Conference Looks at OECD’s Role in Fostering Digital Transformation

OECD Deputy Secretary General Doug Franz
OECD Deputy Secretary General Doug Franz

Cross-border trade in digital goods and services has grown 45-fold over the past decade. How can policy makers and the business community work together to ensure that new technologies and digital applications can lead to a more prosperous, productive, inclusive and socially beneficial world? And what lessons can be learned from current discussions and related work within the 35-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)?

This was the focus of a conference today in Washington, D.C., “Facilitating Digital Transformation: The OECD’s Role,” organized by the USCIB Foundation, the educational arm of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), in partnership with the OECD and Business at OECD (BIAC).

In opening keynote remarks, David Redl, chief counsel for communications and technology at the Energy and Commerce Committee, U.S. House of Representatives, compared extending broadband access to the construction of the interstate highway system. “Despite everyone’s best efforts, there are still parts of the United States that lack the infrastructure to meet universal availability and adoption,” he stated. Redl said government spending alone won’t get the job done. “We must also foster investment in U.S. networks, streamline regulation, and improve online trust and security to bring the benefits of the Internet to every American.”

OECD Deputy Secretary General Douglas Frantz identified several factors as key to ongoing digital transformation: improved communications infrastructure and services, new and innovative business models, improved consumer trust and privacy protection, effective policy making, and a robust approach to the challenges and opportunities posed by improvements in artificial intelligence (AI). On the latter point, he proposed that the OECD work toward some sort of policy instrument to address AI.

Andrew Wycoff, director of the OECD’s Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, outlined the OECD’s work to assess the G20 economies’ uneven progress to date toward enabling the digital transformation. He said the OECD’s upcoming policy recommendations would focus on the importance of boosting investment in digital infrastructure, ensuring competition in the ICT sector and the broader economy, and establishing sufficient trust in the digital economy while also making it truly inclusive.

Jacqueline Ruff, Verizon, gives remarks during panel
Jacqueline Ruff, Verizon, gives remarks during panel

During an industry roundtable on emerging technologies, Jacqueline Ruff, vice president for international public policy and regulatory affairs with Verizon, said public policy will be important to remove barriers to the deployment of fifth-generation wireless technology, while creating a pro-investment environment. “They key to 5G will be smart communities,” she stated.

Other conference panels examined questions of equity and potential negative effects of digital technologies, as well as ways to enhance trust in an increasingly connected world. Organizers said the event would help steer discussion toward practical measures to maximize the benefits of new technologies. Panelists also focused on jobs, as well as education and skills-development challenges and opportunities, posed by digital transformation and the efforts by companies, such as IBM, to create “new collar jobs” enabling a segment of workers in more mature industries to become productive participants in the digital economy.

“Getting policy right for digital innovation is a critical factor for economic competitiveness, for trust and confidence in the digital environment, and ultimately for societal well-being”, said Bernhard Welschke, Secretary General of Business at OECD. “We need to communicate the benefits of digital transformation and Business at OECD will continue to work closely with the OECD on this challenge.”

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson stated: “We hope that today’s discussions will enable those who may not participate directly in OECD meetings to learn more about the OECD’s work and its value to the process and substance of crafting sensible, effective policy and regulation. Whether it is in providing frameworks, or in the development of consensus-based guiding principles, the OECD has a lot to offer and think about.”

USCIB, OECD and BIAC Leadership Discuss Trade, Digital Revolution

Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs addresses OECD and USCIB members, alongside USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) and Rick Johnston, Citi (left)
Rob Mulligan, Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Affairs addresses OECD and USCIB members, alongside USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson (center) and Rick Johnston, Citi (left)

USCIB hosted leadership from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Business at OECD (BIAC) on March 9 in Washington DC, following a successful joint OECD-BIAC-USCIB Fostering Digital Transformation Conference the day prior. Nearly forty of USCIB’s leadership and members attended the meeting, including USCIB Vice Chair Rick Johnston (Citi) and Vice-Chair of USCIB’s China Committee Tad Ferris.

OECD and Business at OECD officials included OECD’s Deputy Secretary General Doug Frantz, Secretary General of Business at OECD (BIAC) Bernhard Welschke, Senior Policy Director at BIAC Nicole Primmer and Acting Head of the OECD Washington Center Susan Fridy.

This was a timely opportunity for USCIB, OECD and BIAC to have a roundtable discussion on a wide range of issues that are being addressed in the OECD such as tax, cross-border data flows, health, investment, digital trade, the Sustainable Development Goals and the G20. These issues were framed in a larger discussion of the role of business in the current political and economic climate in the U.S., about which Frantz said, “we need help from business to convey that free trade, open borders and anti-corruption guidelines require multilateral engagement. The U.S. and the U.S. business community benefit enormously from the work done at the OECD.”

Doug Franz, Deputy Secretary General OECD addresses USCIB members
Doug Frantz, Deputy Secretary General OECD addresses USCIB members

Frantz also emphasized the role of digital innovation in providing future growth, prosperity and equal distribution of wealth to curtail the negative effects of the digital revolution, noting “taking digital innovation and its breakthroughs and making sure that the breakthroughs are more evenly distributed through training, skills-building and education that is based on deductive reasoning, will cushion the fall for people who are at risk of losing their jobs to the digital revolution.”

Global Partnerships Week Launches With Focus on SDG-17

(L-R) Kathy Calvin, President & CEO, UN Foundation, Trevor Davies, Global Head, International Development Assistance Services Institute, KPMG and Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes
(L-R) Kathy Calvin, President & CEO, UN Foundation, Trevor Davies, Global Head, International Development Assistance Services Institute, KPMG and Claus Stig Pedersen, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Novozymes

Global Partnerships Week (GPW) kicked off yesterday, March 6, to celebrate the role of public-private partnerships in promoting global development and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The two-week, annual event is organized by Concordia, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, and PeaceTech Lab and engages experts from the public and private sectors, as well as foundations and multilateral institutions.

The U.S. Institute of Peace hosted GPW’s day-long Global Practitioners Forum yesterday, which focused on engaging practitioners in achieving what many consider to be the most imperative and interconnected SDG, Goal 17. Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar moderated the opening panel titled “Goal 17 in 2017: Partnerships for the Global Goals,” which featured USCIB members KPMG and Novozymes, as well as UNESCO, UN Foundation and New America. The panel aimed to explore the role of partnerships in addressing challenges presented by inequality, poverty and governance to ensure the achievement of a comprehensive 2030 development agenda.

Claus Stig Pedersen, head of corporate sustainability at Novozymes, presented participants with anecdotes and insights around partnership challenges, as companies look to align both longer-term strategies and growth opportunities with the SDGs. “It’s not just about partnerships for the sake of doing partnerships, it’s an investment in the future, but it takes time,” stated Pedersen. Pedersen cited several examples including Novozymes’ leadership in the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL), first launched by the United Nations and World Bank at the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, where it subsequently helped establish a coalition of partners aimed at developing and deploying sustainable bio-energy solutions. “Although the partnership was first launched in 2013, we [Novozymes] have continued to stay engaged, establishing concrete projects and cases that are driving the initiative forward.” While many stakeholders increasingly subscribe to the idea of partnership, Pedersen noted some of the success factors behind this effort. “We all really need to do our due diligence and build up good relationships together, as well as learn to draw on each other’s strengths as we look to partner to achieve greater positive impact.”

Additional information on Novozymes public-private partnerships can be found on USCIB’s Business for 2030 website, which serves as an important tool to showcase business’s past and continuing contributions to sustainable development through the prism of the SDGs.

Food and Agriculture

Background

Significant shifts in trade, technological advances and changing consumer preferences have placed new demands on the agro-food chain.  Intergovernmental bodies will be challenged to uphold the values of free trade through the application of sound science, while ensuring consumer confidence in the global food supply.

Objective

Promote an open and efficient global food system by providing industry expertise to government officials working to eliminate existing barriers to agricultural trade and investment; foster coordination among organizations working to ensure a safe food supply, meaningful food security and enhanced environmental sustainability.

Current Priorities

  • Through the BIAC Committee on Food and Agriculture, provide industry input into the work of the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate.
  • Ensure the OECD’s project on the economics of the prevention of lifestyle related chronic diseases to reflect input from the US food and beverage companies.
  • Advocate for APEC to improve and implement the APEC Food System.
  • Provide business industry input for the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development meetings.
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Chair

Vacant

Staff

Michael Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Recent Accomplishments

  • Secured speaking roles for US business representatives at the OECD Symposium entitled “What Future for the Agriculture and Food Sector.”
  • Organized meetings with OECD Health Secretariat to provide input for the OECD’s project on the economics of the prevention of lifestyle related chronic diseases which resulted in having US food and beverage industries comments reflected in the most recent OECD report on “Summary of findings and policy implications concerning the prevention of chronic diseases linked to unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles.”
  • Met with US government officials to discuss US engagement in OECD and provided US food and agriculture industry perspective to various OECD projects.

Please use the links below to explore recent statements and reports, news stories on USCIB’s website, and media coverage related to our work.

News Stories

USCIB in the News: Op-ed in The Hill on UN Funding (1/11/2017) - USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson published a timely op-ed in The Hill addressing calls in Congress to withhold funding for the United Nations.
Successful Policies to Fight Obesity (7/5/2016) - Are there any successful policies and programs to fight overweight and obesity? USCIB responded to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Global Forum request for answers to this important question.

Read More

Health Care

What’s at Stake for Business

  • Global health issues have risen to the top of the agenda as policymakers struggle to ensure the best quality health care at an affordable price.
  • There are limited opportunities for business to engage with the WHO. Engagement with the OECD on health care issues is critical as the OECD’s work often mirrors WHO priorities.
  • The challenges to health care systems and the implications of non-wage labor costs affect competitiveness and economic growth as the economy is broadly dependent on healthy and active populations and workforces.
  • To address NCDs, governments are looking at ways to further regulate food and beverage products. This may result in sin taxes, labeling, marketing, advertising and trade restrictions.

Current Priorities

  • Encourage the OECD to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach to health care solutions.
  • Promote disease prevention and healthy lifestyles.
  • Demonstrate that business is instrumental in finding innovative solutions for sustainable health care systems and in addressing the urgent health care challenges we face today, such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
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Chair

Vacant

Staff

Michael Michener
Vice President, Product Policy and Innovation
202-617-3159 or mmichener@uscib.org

Mia Lauter
Policy and Program Assistant
212-703-5082 or mlauter@uscib.org

Recent Advocacy Engagement

USCIB is the lead voice for U.S. business within international forums determining health care policies and is:

  • Reinforcing the need for multi-stakeholder initiatives and the central role of science and evidence-based data in developing policy.
  • Making the case that fiscal policy is complex and “sin taxes” is not the best tax practice.
  • Advocating for a holistic approach to assessing the value of medicines.

Who We Are

The USCIB Health Care Working Group is composed of USCIB member companies representing a range of business and industry sectors. Advocacy priorities are determined that reflect consensus among the members.

Mission

The Working Group aims to support multi-stakeholder approaches to global health policy by providing international organizations with expertise and policy advice on:

  • The broader economic and social consequences of national health care policies.
  • The long-term innovative potential of the health care sector and the broader health ecosystem.
  • The quality and costs of health care labor and technology.
  • The health care related impacts on the capacity of employers to compete and provide jobs and support for their employees.

News Stories

OECD Holds Workshop to Measure Business Impact on Well-Being (3/3/2017) - The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organized a workshop on measuring business impacts on people’s well-being in Paris last month.
Public Private Collaboration Crucial for Success of Health Reforms (1/17/2017) - Addressing the OECD Health Committee yesterday, Business at OECD (BIAC) emphasized the private sector role as partner both in bringing innovative solutions in health and well-being and in intensifying public-private collaboration with OECD and governments. Ministers from over 35 OECD and partner countries discussed the Next Generation of Health Reforms. This reflects the challenge that […]

Read More