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 in the News: Business and the UN Climate Process

USCIB Vice President Norine Kennedy and CEO Peter Robinson at COP21 in 2015.

The Financial Times has published a letter to the editor from USCIB Vice President Norine Kennedy on the role of business in the UN climate change talks — please see below. The op-ed is also available on the FT’s website.

Publication of this letter comes as UN members gather in Bonn, Germany for talks leading up to this December’s COP23 summit. A few governments and interest groups have called for new rules aimed at restricting the private sector’s participation in the UN climate process. Kennedy’s letter forcefully rebuts these efforts.


Financial Times

May 4, 2017

Letter

Business takes its climate responsibilities seriously

From Norine Kennedy, New York, NY, US

Sir, Regarding “Developing nations seek to reveal business influence on climate talks” (May 1): the UN is at its best when it opens its doors to all relevant stakeholders. Potential conflicts of interest pertain to all organisations, not just business associations. Business representatives are obliged to abide by all UN rules as a condition of their attendance at UN meetings.

We take this responsibility seriously. Just two years ago, my organisation joined others from around the world in celebrating the Paris Climate Agreement. The political will needed to reach consensus in Paris was spurred in part by support from business. Now, disappointingly, some wish to disinvite the private sector.

Since it is business that will deliver the lion’s share of the investment and innovation needed to confront the climate challenge — a fact recognised in the Paris Agreement — shouldn’t the conversation include business representatives? How else can governments and other stakeholders develop effective policy frameworks to unlock potentially game-changing solutions?

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Energy and Environment,
United States Council for International Business,
New York, NY, US

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.

Workshop Highlights Need for Business Input to Implement UN Climate Agreement

marrakechLeading business organizations met in Marrakesh, Morocco on the margins of the UN’S COP22 climate meetings, to address the next steps under the Paris Climate Agreement, specifically the prospects for injecting business expertise and technical advice into the agreement’s implementation at the national and global levels. Convened by USCIB, in cooperation with the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) and the Moroccan business federation CGEM, the Marrakesh Business Dialogue brought together over 70 government, business and UN representatives at the Universite Privé de Marrakesh.

Topics under discussion included where national pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could be delivered more cost effectively, and where business could provide necessary information to international reviews of progress under the Paris Agreement. Previous USCIB-organized BizMEF Dialogue meetings in Doha, Warsaw and Lima provided important thought leadership and input to the UN process, en route to finalizing the far-reaching treaty agreed last year.

“The Paris Agreement’s entry into force earlier this month increases the urgency to engage business in all aspects of the Paris Agreement, including its implementation,” according to USCIB Vice President Norine Kennedy, who is spearheading USCIB’s representation in Marrakesh.

Opening the meeting, Said Mouline, the Moroccan official responsible for public-private partnerships for COP22, stated that “business engagement is needed for capacity building and technology transfer.” In the course of the dialogue, participants talked about defining entry points in the Paris Agreement for representative business organizations that would contribute to transparency in reporting, reviewing national progress and informing future national pledges.

Business and government representatives agreed that both have a lot to gain from working together on the NDCs, improving transparency and measurement, verification and verification (MRV) systems, and seeking to maintain continuity and resilience of the pledges made. This cooperation will need to long term and ongoing, through the five-year cycles that are at the heart of the infrastructure of the Paris Agreement.

USCIB’s Kennedy presented a recently completed report, Business Engagement in Domestic and International Implementation of the Paris Agreement. This first-of-its-kind report offers case studies from BizMEF partner organizations and recommends a recognized business interface to be developed as part of the Paris Agreement institutional infrastructure.

“USCIB’s consistent message has been that enhancing business engagement is not just a matter of innovative governance and partnership, but also a prerequisite for successful and cost-effective implementation of climate policy,” stated Kennedy. She said such engagement should build on existing entities such as the Green Climate Fund, the Technology Executive Committee, and the Climate Technology Center and Network, and should work in synergy with the Global Action Agenda and NAZCA Platform. “The structure can be similar to other existing successful examples of business consultation and dialogue in inter-governmental forums,” such as the OECD and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, she said.

Kennedy added: “It is the business community that will do much of the implementation that is needed to reach the goals under the Paris Agreement, and USCIB has set enhancing recognized business consultation as a priority in its post-Paris climate advocacy.”

Kennedy stated that it is only with broader, more substantive and inclusive business engagement that the Paris Agreement can meet its potential. “This is more than a “nice-to-have,” she said. “It is essential to further the evolution at needed speed and scale to a lower carbon and sustainable global economy.”

BizMEF, of which USCIB is a founding member, is a partnership of leading multi-sectoral business organizations from over 25 major economies that provides responsible business views and practical input to inform deliberations in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

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.

#OurClimate ICC Photographic Award 2015

2015 COP21 Photo Award facebook_01This year, the International Chamber of Commerce launched the first annual ICC Photographic Award, a celebration of artistic skill and outstanding photography which aims to draw attention to—and stimulate dialogue around—the global challenge of climate change.

The award invites professional and amateur photographers from all over the world to submit applications reflecting on the theme of #OurClimate: from the causes and impacts of a changing climate, to our response (past, present or future), to the single biggest challenge facing humanity.

“The winning photographs will be exhibited alongside a selection of shortlisted images that most powerfully illustrate the theme of #OurClimate,” said ICC Secretary General John Danilovich. “The exhibition will be held in December 2015 during the Paris Climate Conference at ICC Global Headquarters in Paris.”

The winners will be chosen by a high-level judging panel—including ICC and USCIB Chairman Terry McGraw, Christiana Figures of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Arancha Gonzalez of the International Trade Center—and will be announced at ICC’s COP21 gala reception on December 8.

The Award is open to all photographers—whether amateur, professional or student—who are invited to submit between 1 to 3 thought-provoking and captivating images exploring the theme of #OurClimate.

The jury members will award three prizes:

  • First prize: € 2,000
  • Second prize: € 1,000
  • ICC Young Photographer of the Year (26 years or under): € 1,000

To learn more about the award and terms of entry, visit: iccwbo.org/photoaward

Energy

3791_image002

Vice Chairs

Paul Hagen
Director
Beveridge & Diamond, PC

Justin Perrettson
Senior Advisor, Public Affairs
Novozymes

Staff

Norine Kennedy
Vice President, Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environmental Affairs
212-703-5052 or nkennedy@uscib.org

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

Background

Energy policies are increasingly being discussed and established in international settings, with significant competitiveness, regulatory, investment, trade and market access impacts for U.S. companies operating in global markets.  Some examples of ongoing policy and media focus on international energy access, environmental impacts, pricing and security include:

  • EU policy approaches to climate change and energy based on subsidies, targets, product labels and renewables;
  • Ongoing OECD and International Energy Agency (IEA) energy policy analysis and activity;
  • G8 2008 initiatives on energy and climate;
  • Public-private partnerships: Asia Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate, the Major Economies Process;
  • APEC and China: Energy supply and competition issues;
  • U.S. domestic legislation and initiatives: Energy security, energy labeling, objectives for bioenergy, energy R&D.

The development and implementation of these processes can be expected to significantly affect a wide range of US companies (producers, investors, transport, consumers) doing business overseas.

Objectives

Ensure that U.S. business expertise and views on more sustainable energy systems in the context of environmental risks, climate change considerations, economic growth and free and open markets are heard in international policy deliberations. Promote global energy systems that allow U.S. companies to compete and flourish, to develop and disseminate more sustainable and efficient energy systems and technologies and to manage and improve energy use, conservation and environmental/social impacts. Encourage integration of international energy policy issues across other policy areas: promoting enabling frameworks to encourage investment and innovation while promoting more sustainable and environmentally friendly development and commercial activity.

Current Priorities

  • Develop USCIB position on enabling bioenergy in international markets, setting out business recommendations on how to approach sustainability considerations, and promote innovation towards “second generation” bioenergy options.
  • Through ICC, emphasize the importance of a diverse energy mix as a key element of energy security in international policy frameworks and markets.

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

Global Partnerships Week Launches With Focus on SDG-17 (3/6/2017) - Global Partnerships Week (GPW) launched yesterday, March 7, to celebrate the role of public-private partnerships in promoting global development and advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
Workshop Highlights Need for Business Input to Implement UN Climate Agreement (11/15/2016) - At the COP22 conference in Morocco, business groups met to make the case for closer cooperation with the private sector in implementing last year's landmark Paris Climate Agreement.

Read More

 

Business Looking to Move Forward at UN Climate Conference, Even as Governments Wrestle With Developing Country Obligations

4205_image002USCIB and its partner business groups are actively pushing for progress at the UN climate conference now underway in Durban, South Africa.  But governments are hamstrung by precedent-setting decisions taken two decades ago.

A number of USCIB member company representatives, as well as Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president of environment and energy, are attending the conference.  They are in Durban as part of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) delegation. ICC has long served  as the business focal point in the climate negotiations.

Other groups are in Durban as well, working to ensure business engagement in support of meaningful action to address climate change.  Increasingly prominent in this regard is the Major Economies Business Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change (BizMEF), which consists of major business groups from G20 countries.

BizMEF has just released a series of important papers, with general perspectives on the Durban negotiations, and examining business engagement, the role of technology, establishing a green climate fund, the use of carbon offsets, and competitiveness issues.

Yesterday, Ms. Kennedy published an insightful column on the website GreenBiz that notes the varying expectations of business and the governments represented in Durban, and describes the genesis and work of BizMEF.  She writes that even as business presses for meaningful progress on global measures to address climate change, government delegates are laboring under the burden of precedent-setting decisions, made some two decades ago, to bifurcate climate obligations between developed and developing countries.

“Some countries that were developing countries then, such as China and India, are now growing rapidly and are major economic forces in their own right,” writes Ms. Kennedy.  “If current trends continue in the fastest growing developing country economies, reductions made in developed countries will be cancelled out and overtaken by emissions in the BRICs in coming years.”

The United States and countries including Australia, Canada, Russia and Japan have strongly encouraged a new framework obliging all major economies, whether developed or developing, to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But, Ms. Kennedy wrote, “as evidenced in the entrenched positions being expressed here, this is prevented by the precedents that do not allow updating to reflect today’s realities.”

Staff contact: Norine Kennedy

More on USCIB’s Environment Committee

From the President: An Energy Agenda for the Next Administration

The path to cleaner, affordable energy is through international cooperation

By Peter M. Robinson

Peter M. Robinson
Peter M. Robinson

The next administration will face a number of important international challenges requiring prudent and effective action.  Near the top on anyone’s list is energy and climate change.

Energy is the lifeblood of the global economy.  American business is a vital player in the production and transport of energy all over the world, and of course our society consumes more energy than any other nation.  We have made tremendous strides in developing cleaner technologies and energy sources, while improved efficiency has boosted our competitiveness as well as environmental protection.  Nevertheless, as a trip to the gas station will attest, energy costs are a challenge for everyone, including global companies.  Indeed, some say we may need to adapt to an era of permanently higher energy prices.

However, energy can never be seen as just a “business” issue.  Indeed, it is a fundamental prerequisite for social and economic development across a broad range of areas.  Pick almost any of the Millennium Development Goals – progress toward which is a key goal of this year’s UN General Assembly session – and you will find an energy-related component.  Clean water, health care, poverty eradication: how can any of these be effectively addressed without greater access to energy?

Of course, much of the debate over energy has focused on climate change.  What is the best path to a lower-carbon future?  And how can we best use our energy resources to mitigate and adapt to the effects of global climate change, while still ensuring we meet the needs of a growing world?  Global solutions are called for, and our next president will need to take the lead in crafting international rules to tackle both the energy and climate challenges.

For USCIB members and other global firms, the way forward is clear: the only way to provide dependable, affordable and cleaner energy is through international action and cooperation to deploy and upgrade energy systems worldwide.

We have worked hard to advance understanding of these issues at the highest levels, in global talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, where countries are seeking to forge agreement on broader and more inclusive post-2012 actions as the Kyoto Protocol reaches the end of its first round commitments, and in the G8 as well (see page 9).  We have leveraged our unique affiliations with the International Chamber of Commerce and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD to advance a coordinated and integrated approach to climate and energy around the world.

There can be no doubt that American companies are up to the challenge.  The next administration must therefore frame a vision of U.S. leadership on energy and climate that places a high priority on our proven technological know-how and the business community’s ability to commercialize and disseminate the fruits of innovation.  This vision should be optimistic, driven by an understanding of the power of markets and international trade to deliver results.

A new vision on energy and climate should encompass four essential goals:

  • Broaden the energy mix. Diversifying energy portfolios is a proven strategy to manage tradeoffs and uncertainty in the near and long term.  We should not foreclose any energy options in international discussions.
  • Foster innovation. The transfer of new and cleaner energy technology to emerging markets such as China and India will be critical.  But to make this happen, private-sector innovation needs to be fostered, and intellectual property rights protected.
  • Embrace markets. The International Energy Agency puts the bill for meeting global energy needs over the next two decades at $20 trillion.  The lion’s share must come from the private sector.  To do this, we need open markets, protection for investments and trade liberalization.
  • Regulate wisely. We need long-term international policies, often called “enabling frameworks,” that are consistent and predictable, encouraging investment, securing property rights and promoting public-private partnerships for energy innovation.

The next administration must work closely with other nations, not just in established settings such as the UN, but in new arrangements that enable countries best placed to move forward to do so with a minimum of impediments.  It is a time for creative leadership, not dogma.

American business is ready to build our energy competitiveness in the global marketplace, to grow our economy and to move decisively towards a sustainable energy future.  We hope the next president is up to that same challenge.

For more information or to get involved, please contact USCIB’s Norine Kennedy  (212-703-5052, nkennedy@uscib.org).

Mr. Robinson’s bio and contact information

More on USCIB’s Environment Committee 

Other recent postings from Mr. Robinson:

Employers’ Vision of the ILO (Summer 2008)

New Financial Challenges on the Horizon (Spring 2008)

Trade Can Save the Climate (Winter 2007-2008)

From E-Commerce to the “Internet Economy” (Autumn 2007)