2017 USCIB International Leadership Award Dinner

USCIB is delighted to honor Ajay Banga, president and chief executive officer of MasterCard. Each year this gala event attracts several hundred industry leaders, government officials and members of the diplomatic community to celebrate open markets and the recipient of USCIB’s highest honor.

Established in 1980, USCIB’s International Leadership Award is presented to a senior business executive who has made significant policy contributions to world trade and investment, and to improving the global competitive framework in which American business operates. Join us for what will be a truly memorable evening!

USCIB Strengthens Business Voice at UNGA

The high-level portion of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) wrapped up last week in New York, attended by President Donald Trump and other heads of state, and featuring numerous parallel events involving business and business issues.

For the first time, USCIB convened a series of meetings during UNGA week to highlight challenges and opportunities for the U.S. business community in advancing inclusive growth and sustainable development, working with the United Nations, and the importance of partnering with the U.S. government in advancing economic and other benefits at home and abroad.  USCIB events highlighted key U.S. business recommendations and involvement to advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), inform climate change policy and implementation, and advance inclusive business engagement as part of UN reform.

These discussions explored the “ingredients for impact” to catalyze business contributions to the SDG’s under the theme, “Business Makes It Happen.”   Over the course of the week, USCIB worked closely with and welcomed representatives of the U.S Department of State, the Office for Management and Budget, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

USCIB organized 2 Breakfast Roundtables on:

  • Data analytics for SDGs and national reports, and
  • Public private partnerships for SDG impact
OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria speaks at one of USCIB’s UNGA side-events

USCIB members KPMG, Deloitte and Pfizer hosted USCIB events, which drew high-level participants and speakers including OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, Assistant UN Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs Thomas Gass, Assistant UN Secretary General and Head of the NY office of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Elliott Harris and Chief of the NY office of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Chantal Line Carpentier.  CEO of Novozymes and USCIB Board member and sustainability champion Peder Holk Nielsen presided over USCIB’s UNGA week wrap up event.

In addition to USCIB-organized events, USCIB was honored to work with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and to represent the International Organization of Employers (IOE) in the launch of two important initiatives: the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC) and the ILO Alliance 8.7 study, “Global Estimates on Modern Slavery.”

USCIB joined forces with Business Fights Poverty to co-host the September 18 Business Fights Poverty Conference, “Rethinking Collaboration for the SDG’s”.

A full review of these meetings, their recommendations and next steps, as well as other USCIB involvement in UNGA week will be shared later this week.

Business Makes It Happen: American Business at the UN General Assembly

By Peter M. Robinson
President and CEO
United States Council for International Business

 

“We live in a complex world. The United Nations cannot succeed alone. Partnership must continue to be at the heart of our strategy. We should have the humility to acknowledge the essential role of other actors, while maintaining full awareness of our unique convening power.”

-Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General

The 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) gets under way this week at a time of stresses and strains in the international community. The nature of these stresses is particularly acute for the U.S. business community: a growing need for financing and investment in infrastructure, the open trading system called into question, and calls by some for a retreat from engagement in multilateral forums. How does American business plan for these challenges, and where can we make the biggest difference?

For USCIB and its members, an important place to start tackling these questions is the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a framework that will be at the center of this week of high-level meetings, also known as Global Goals Week.

In the face of challenges such as unemployment, climate change and population growth around the world, USCIB believes we have to pursue the SDGs as “must-wins” for the United States and for the American business community. We know that economic growth abroad helps create jobs at home. Open markets and policies that foster private investment offers new markets for our products. Innovation aimed at improved sustainability give the U.S. a leg-up in global competition while advancing investment in energy sources and new technologies to combat climate change.

That is why, this week, USCIB is holding a series of discussions on the margins of the UNGA to cultivate the “ingredients for impact” to catalyze business contributions to the SDGs. We are doing this under the theme, “Business Makes It Happen,” because we believe that, without strong commitment and incentives for the private sector, we won’t be able to achieve the Global Goals.

USCIB supports multilateral solutions to global challenges, with business constructively involved. We rely on solid, long-term dialogue and a close working relationship with both our government and the UN system to advance U.S. business contributions to sustainable development, delivering economic benefits at home and abroad. When it comes to what business depends on to succeed, thrive and lift the American economy, we look to Washington, D.C., and to the United Nations. We depend on both, and that is why USCIB has chosen to step forward as a U.S. business organization, working closely with our partners in the U.S. government as UNGA gets underway.

The Three I’s

The 2030 Agenda provides a blueprint for action that enjoys wide business and government support. But there are still three broad challenges in terms of implementation by business – inclusiveness, innovation and information.

  • Information: While there is more and better information available from companies on SDG action, we are overwhelmed with the quantity of data, and so we – business, governments — don’t know where to begin to understand or prioritize action. We have too much information and not enough analysis. The business community needs to develop ways to present its progress that are accessible and relevant for the international community and national governments.
  • Innovation, which is the best source of solutions for sustainability, still faces obstacles due to a lack of proper incentives for researchers, inventors and investors. The UN must do better in creating a fully welcoming environment and institutional framework for technology innovation that is genuinely involving business experts.
  • Inclusiveness: A basic tenet of the Agenda for 2030 is that no one is left behind. That suggests that everyone needs to be involved to deliver solutions. Yet in some UN forums, the private sector is still not regarded as a full partner in the effort. At times, there are still political sensitivities when business wants to come to the table, or even just listen in on policy deliberations. Clearly, we in business need to do more to demonstrate commitment and deliver actual results.

Statements by both United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and President of the General Assembly Miroslav Lajčák suggest that, under their leadership in the UNGA this year, we could see progress towards a more inclusive and transparent framework to involve the business community across the board. USCIB would endorse and welcome such a development.

By their very nature, many of the SDGs depend on partnerships to be implemented, and we regard business as indispensable in collaborative action to deliver the SDGs. On its 2nd anniversary, the USCIB web platform, Business for 2030, now showcases 200 initiatives from 52 companies, in over 150 countries, covering 85 of the 169 SDG targets. These encompass both philanthropic and corporate responsibility initiatives as well as core business operations that all contribute to achieving one or more of the 17 SDG targets.

Progress has been made, as witnessed by the strong response to this year’s SDG Business Forum on the margins of last July’s High-Level Political Forum – it literally filled the UN’s largest room, the General Assembly Hall. Governments and the UN have to continue to create those new kinds of spaces in which that exchange on policy and practice can occur substantively and with good governance.

With our affiliations to leading global business organizations embedded in the UN system, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), we have been fortunate to be on the front lines of the collaborative discussions that brought forward the SDGs, and to foster recognized opportunities for the private sector to cooperate with the UN. The process of multilateralism does move slowly, demanding investment of time and effort, but the rewards are outcomes in which business is invested and knows what to expect.

It is already clear to USCIB that one element of success towards efficiency and effectiveness in the reform of the UN is to create the most open and inclusive institutional structures to consult with representative business bodies, and then to recognize and include those inputs. We have seen time and again how the ILO, the OECD and other inter-governmental forums have demonstrated that including business in a recognized manner is a value add because it is brings on board those societal partners that invest, innovate and implement.

At USCIB, we are more convinced than ever that a more open and accountable policy dialogue, with recognized involvement of representative business groups, is a fundamental element of good governance (which is in fact the aim of SDG16), and will deliver real results. By and large, UN bodies are involving business in more substantive ways, and we are looking forward to this year’s UNGA to keep that discussion going, particularly in the context of UN reform.

In his report laying out his vision of UN reform, Secretary General Guterres presents eight big ideas for reform of the UN system.  At the heart of those are the 17 big commitments which the global community made in 2015: the SDGs. Our main goal this week is to join the international dialogues and offer ways to make those big ideas a reality for, and with, U.S. business.

Throughout the negotiations leading to the SDGs, and now in the period of their execution, we have underscored the need for business to be embedded in the process. This is necessary to leverage all the resources that the private sector can provide through investment, innovation and know-how. With dialogue and the right mix of incentives, business really can make it happen and we will be working throughout this year’s UNGA to continue the evolution towards collaborative and impactful SDG partnerships with business.

Business Makes It Happen: UNGA Week Events Spotlight the Private Sector’s Role in Sustainable Development

New York, N.Y., September 13, 2017 – As United Nations members gather in New York to review progress on the UN’s ambitious 2030 Development Agenda, American business is underscoring how much it is doing – and could be doing, provided the proper incentives – in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most innovative and successful global companies, plans a series of events in New York throughout the week of September 18, centered on the theme: “Business makes it happen.”

“This is an important moment for the SDGs and for the UN family,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “Throughout the negotiations leading to the SDGs, and now in the period of their execution, we have underscored the need for business to be embedded in the process. This is necessary to leverage all the resources that the private sector can provide through investment, innovation and know-how. With dialogue and the right mix of incentives, business really can make it happen.”

Events the week of September 18 include:

  • Rethinking Collaboration for the SDGs, September 18 at Barclays, 745 Seventh Avenue. USCIB will join forces with Business Fights Poverty to co-host this action-focused half-day event on how business, government and civil society are collaborating to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals. USCIB’s Robinson and several USCIB members are among the speakers.
  • Data Analytics for SDGs and National Reports, September 19 at KPMG, 345 Park Avenue. Experts from USCIB member companies will present and discuss private sector frameworks for data analytics on SDG implementation, and consider opportunities for synergy with national reports for more targeted and comprehensive UN discussion and action.
  • Going Further Together for Shared Impact: U.S. Public-Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development, September 21 at Deloitte, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. USCIB member companies and government partners will present and discuss examples of public-private sector partnership to advance the SDGs, with a view to expanding those working relationships and improving and scaling up efforts for shared impact and benefit.
  • USCIB Side Event, Business Makes It Happen, September 22 at Pfizer, 235 East 42nd Street. This wrap-up event will present the main recommendations and initiatives identified during UNGA week, and discuss next steps on the intersection of UN reform and the SDGs, scaling up investment in infrastructure, public-private partnerships and institutional evolution needed to catalyze business involvement to advance SDGs.

In 2015, USCIB launched Business for 2030, an ambitious effort to catalogue and catalyze company efforts to support the SDGs. The site has quickly become a go-to resource for all stakeholders interested in the SDGs to learn about what the global business community is doing to help achieve them. Business for 2030 now showcases 187 initiatives from 49 companies, in over 150 countries, covering 83 of the 169 SDG targets. These encompass both philanthropic corporate responsibility initiatives as well as core business operations that all contribute to achieving one or more of the 17 SDG targets.

“Innovation, infrastructure, economic growth and empowerment and good governance are the four inter-linked cornerstones for all 17 SDGs for business,” stated Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment. “Therefore, it is crucial to consult with private-sector groups at the national and regional level to develop enabling frameworks for business actions to advance the SDGs.”

The latest list of UNGA week events organized by USCIB is available here.

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 the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and Business at OECD, 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: +1 917 420 0039
jhuneke@uscib.org

Business and Climate Summit Highlights Business Leadership

The third annual Business and Climate Summit—the leading forum for business leaders, investors and policymakers on climate action—took place from August 31 to September 1 this year in New Delhi, India. The Summit showcased business leadership in addressing climate change and highlighted how business can help governments achieve climate objectives.

This year’s Business and Climate Summit in New Delhi delivered a powerful statement as private sector representatives from around the world gathered for the first time in an emerging country to showcase their commitment to tackling climate change. While the Paris Agreement aims to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, current government pledges will only contain the increase in global warming to approximately 3°C. Business has already stepped up to bridge the gap, and the Summit aimed to highlight how.

Hosted by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce and other partners, the Summit consisted of two days of high-level discussions across six plenary sessions and nine ‘focus sessions’, covering topics from urban mobility to energy security. The Summit hosted high-level deliberations to voice messages from businesses on private sector actions around climate change and future visions for a low-carbon trajectory.

“Business has a vital and constructive role to play in informing climate policy,” ICC Secretary-General John Danilovich said. “This year’s Business and Climate Summit comes at a crucial time and offers business the opportunity to show the positive steps we are taking towards a more sustainable economic future.”

Bharat Salhotra, managing director of Alstom India and South Asia, said, “The transport sector has a key role towards delivering the mitigation and adaptation objectives of the Paris Agreement. Getting city-dwellers out of their private fossil-fueled vehicles and into sustainable mass transport must be an objective of city authorities.”

The Business and Climate Summit brought together more than 70 high-profile speakers from around the world—comprising CEOs of top companies, ministers and high-level representatives of governments, international agencies and global climate-related organizations—with participation from more than 15 countries representing over 30 sectors of the economy. Participants aim to amplify key policy messages ahead of the UNFCCC’s COP23 meetings.

The New Delhi Summit is being shown a high level of support from the Indian Government, with key ministries such as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Ministry of Railways represented by speakers at the event.

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 Issue

USCIB’s “International Business” Summer 2017 issue is now live!

The Summer 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “Why International Organizations Matter to Your Business” as well as articles on developments in the B20, NAFTA and the UN high level political forum and the sustainable development agenda, 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.

USCIB’s Global Impact: 2017 Update on Advocacy

Welcome to USCIB’s Global Impact – an update on USCIB’s advocacy activities around the world in support of your interests. USCIB was at the table, along with many of our members, at key international deliberations– all for the express purpose of ensuring that the voice of U.S. business is heard where policies and regulations affecting your bottom line are determined.

Download Global Impact

At a Glance

USCIB President and CEO Out Front for American Business: USCIB President & CEO, Peter Robinson’s leadership at the B20 and OECD Week.

Keeping Markets Open for U.S. Business: With uncertainty regarding trade agreements due to political developments at home and abroad, one thing remains certain: international markets need to be open for U.S. companies. USCIB was on the ground meeting with officials from the OECD and WTO pressing for strong investment agreements and the removal of trade barriers, all in support of U.S. jobs.

Advocating for a Continued Open and Dynamic Internet: Cross-border trade in digital goods and services has grown 45-fold over the past decade. USCIB was at ICANN and the OECD advocating for policies that do not hamper innovation and that allow the Internet and broader digital economy to realize the tremendous potential to create economic opportunity and address social challenges.

Safeguarding the Role of Business in Environment and Climate Change Policy: An increasing number of multilateral organizations are considering proposals to keep business out of policy deliberations where decisions are being made that impact U.S. business bottom lines. This is particularly prevalent in the UN environmental space. USCIB was on the front lines at UNEP and the UNFCCC pushing back against these efforts as private sector involvement is critical to the success in solving the very problems that these UN agencies seek to address.

Making International Taxation Rules Predictable for Business: New global tax rules have been developed under the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan. Now, the focus is on BEPS implementation and opportunities to improve tax certainty remain. USCIB met with OECD and other government officials urging them to consider the need for a predictable fiscal environment that will protect and encourage cross-border trade and investment in the context of implementing these BEPS recommendations.

Working to Reduce Trade Barriers: Unnecessary and burdensome barriers to trade can cost companies and national economies billions of dollars. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which entered into force earlier this year, promises to boost global trade flows by over $1 trillion and generate opportunities for easier, less costly cross-border trade. USCIB crossed the globe pushing for global modernization of customs laws, regulations, processes and day-to-day practices are necessary for efficient supply chains.

Leadership at the ILO and more…
Review USCIB’s engagement at the ILO’s International Labor Conference and the ICC Marketing & Advertising Commission.

Upcoming USCIB Representation around the World to be Covered in the Next Global Impact
APEC SOM 3 Meetings – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; August, 2017

WCO Harmonized System Committee (HSC) Meeting – Brussels, Belgium; November, 2017

APEC CEO Summit – Da Nang, Vietnam; November, 2017

ICC Customs & Trade Facilitation Commission Meeting – Paris, France; November, 2017

UNFCCC COP23 – Bonn, German; November, 2017

WTO Ministerial – Buenos Aires, Argentina; December, 2017

UNEA3 – Nairobi, Kenya; December, 2017

Historic Business Meeting at the UN Advances the Sustainable Development Goals

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich addresses participants at the Sustainable Development Goals Business Forum during the UN High Level Political Forum

USCIB members joined today’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Business Forum (live now on UN TV) during the High Level segment of the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to highlight the role of business in advancing environmental, economic and social cooperation for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  At this first business-organized meeting in the UN’s General Assembly Hall, speakers from the UN, governments, NGOs and business discussed private sector investment, information sharing and public-private partnership to take forward the 17 SDGs.  The SDG Business Forum was organized by the Business Coalition for 2030, a coalition of major business organizations and the UN Global Compact, facilitated by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

This year’s HLPF, from July 10 – 19, review and deliberations focused on SDGs on innovation and infrastructure, as well as food security, gender equality, health and oceans.  Speaking to the HLPF, USCIB Vice President for Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy stated, “Innovation, infrastructure, economic growth and empowerment and good governance are the four inter-linked cornerstones for all 17 SDGs for business.”  Kennedy also emphasized the importance of consulting with private sector groups at the national and regional level to develop enabling frameworks for business actions to advance the SDGs. Over 40 countries submitted national reports this year on their progress towards the SDGs.

In his remarks to the HLPF, ICC Secretary General John Danilovich noted that after two years of implementation, “the SDGs have been embraced by companies of all sectors and sizes as ‘Business Development Goals.’”

For this year’s HLPF, USCIB members, including Bechtel, Cargill, Citi, Hilton, Monsanto, Novozymes and Pirelli, added new examples of their actions to advance the SDGs to USCIB’s Businessfor2030 web platform.

For more information on USCIB’s SDG Working Group and Advocacy, please contact Norine Kennedy or Gabriella Rigg Herzog.

USCIB has been on the ground during the HLPF for the past two weeks, including supporting an International Agri-Food Network event on Agriculture and Food last week.

G20 Reaffirms Commitment to Resist Protectionism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at G20 Summit

Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies wrapped up their summit in Hamburg, Germany by issuing a communiqué that forged compromise language over trade enforcement and trade liberalization, and advanced discussion of the digital economy.

But the Trump administration appeared isolated on climate change, with the other G20 nations recommitting themselves to action under the Paris Climate Agreement despite the U.S. pledge to withdraw.

“G20 leaders said the right words about resisting protectionism which will be essential in ensuring access to good jobs in the 21st century,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, who serves as a co-chair of the B20 (Business 20) Employment and Education Task Force.

In their final statement, the G20 leaders committed to keeping global markets open, “noting the importance of reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade and investment frameworks and the principle of non-discrimination.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a closing press conference on Saturday: “I am satisfied that we managed to say clearly that markets need to remain open.”

John Danilovich, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce, said: “We commend the G20’s focus on strengthening the multilateral trading system. A strong, rules-based trading system is a pre-requisite to achieve the G20 leaders’ laudable ambition of making globalization work for all.”

USCIB’s Robinson also welcomed progress made by the G20 governments on enhancing digital commerce.

“We agree with the leaders statement that continued growth and innovation spurred by the digital economy will be essential to meeting the needs of people around the world,” he said. “It’s important that governments maintain a fundamentally pro-investment and pro-competition approach to the digital economy.”

But Robinson had a mixed reaction to the final language on climate change action. “Other members of the G20 are ramping up their cooperative efforts and joint action on climate,” he said. “so we encourage the United States to remain connected and involved in international collaboration for energy security and innovative technology deployment that is essential both for U.S. prosperity as well as tackling climate challenges at home and abroad.  USCIB continues to encourage the Administration to consider how to advance these efforts in the UN Climate treaty while it considers ways to re-enter the Paris Agreement.”

Regarding education and employment, Robinson emphasized the importance of educating, training and retraining to gain the necessary skills for the future of work, noting “workers need to be able to successfully adapt to change.”

USCIB Pushes for a Pro-Business Policy in Multilateral Forums

As an increasing number of multilateral organizations consider proposals to keep business out of policy deliberations, USCIB met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations (IO) Affairs Nerissa Cook on June 26 to encourage the administration to implement a consistent pro-business access policy in multilateral forums and to build on existing positive interactions between the UN and U.S. business.

The State Department has the lead for managing U.S. government engagement with international organizations, including many in the UN system which take decisions impacting U.S. business interests from the standpoint of regulations, norms and standards in the global marketplace.  USCIB members have voiced concerns about several of these bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), whose rules limit engagement with some private sector interests and set business-discriminatory precedents across the UN system.

“We appreciate the strong efforts across the State Department, IO and EB to advance and protect U.S. business interests,” said Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation, who leads USCIB work in the health, agriculture, and chemicals policy.  “American business strongly supports continued U.S. government engagement in multilateral forums particularly where decisions are being made that impact U.S. business bottom lines.  Moreover, business brings its commitment, innovation, know-how, and investment to solving the very problems that these UN agencies seek to address via the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. UN agencies stand to benefit from employing the inclusive multi-stakeholder partnership approach used by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) in the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Montreal, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm treaties.”

In concluding the discussion, USCIB President and CEO, Peter Robinson, highlighted the practical importance of good governance principles throughout the UN, stating, “access, transparency and accountability to the U.S. private sector are prerequisites for business engagement in implementation of UN initiatives and policies.”