BIAC/OECD Meeting of Chemicals Committee, Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotech, Paris, France

Business at OEC (BIAC) and OECD Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology – February 5-7, 2018 in Paris, France.

BIAC will hold its meeting the afternoon before the start of the Joint Meeting, i.e. on February 5th. OECD Joint-Meetings will follow February 6-7. Items on the OECD agenda include, but are not limited to: Progress and Highlights in the EHS Programme; Draft recommendations for the control and management of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Freshwaters; Thought starter on possible work to address issues associated with intellectual property rights and confidential business information related to chemical safety data; and an update on including chemicals management in OECD Environmental Performance Reviews.

Contact Mike Michener (mmichener@uscib.org) for details.

US Business Helps Launch First Ever Business Meeting at UN Environment Assembly

President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lascak

The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), the highest level policy making forum on environment in the UN system, opened its 3rd session under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP or UN Environment) on December 4 in Nairobi, Kenya.  Environment Ministers from over 60 countries and delegates from all UN member states are gathered to refocus UN system environmental policy towards combatting pollution and its impacts. 

The overall theme of this session is, “Towards a Pollution Free Planet,” and governments are considering decisions to limit plastic debris in oceans, increase cooperation on air pollution and more closely link environment and health policies, with an emphasis on the “precautionary principle.”  Responding to numerous statements welcoming business involvement at UNEA3 and encouraging greater involvement by business at future UNEA meetings by UN officials and government representatives, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy stated, “U.S. business is attending this meeting to keep the focus on infrastructure, alignment with SDGs and enabling frameworks for private sector innovation and investment, and is keen to keep this fruitful dialogue and partnership going.”

USCIB and its members have led the U.S business presence at this session, working closely with the American Chemistry Council, American Plastics Council and Croplife, among others.  USCIB took part in the first ever Science-Policy-Business Forum, and organized for the first time a Global Business Symposium at UNEA with the Global Business Alliance for Environment.   The President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lascak welcomed the business initiative, stating that “Businesses are critical to achieving sustainable development.”

In his presentation at the Business Symposium, Erick Omollo Juma, Novozymes, drew attention to how his accompany is pursuing opportunities to link cooperative implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and environmental protection through business action.   

Commenting on the examples of business initiatives to reduce risks from pollution during the Business Symposium, Walker Smith, director of global affairs and policy, U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), recognized efforts by USCIB members, including the Walt Disney Company, the Coca-Cola Company, Dow Chemical, IBM and Procter & Gamble, to reduce food and plastic waste, and eliminate lead in paint.  USCIB has worked closely with the U.S, Department of State, EPA and NOAA representatives attending these meetings to reflect U.S. business views and achievements.

As part of her statement on behalf of the Business and Industry Major Group at the UNEA3 Opening Plenary Kennedy stated, “We need tailored specific responses to each source of pollution, reflecting economic and social circumstances. Business emphasizes the importance of building national capacity and infrastructure to address pollution through sound regulation and management, stimulating innovation and seeking pragmatic policy options and partnerships.”

On partnerships, Kennedy noted, “Business in its diversity is a critical part of solutions and investment, and is ready to work with governments and other stakeholders to act on UNEA outcomes to reduce pollution and associated risks – let’s identify practical solutions and policies and get to work.”

USCIB will present and discuss outcomes and next steps from UNEA3 at its next Environment Committee meeting on December 15 in Washington DC.

3rd UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3) in Nairobi, Kenya

3rd UN Environment Assembly (UNEA3) – December 4-6 in Nairobi, Kenya

UNEA has the mandate to take strategic decisions, provide political guidance in the work of UNEP and promote a strong science-policy interface. UNEA3 will focus on the draft report, “Towards a Pollution Free Planet.”

Contact Norine Kennedy (nkennedy@uscib.org) for details.

USCIB 2017 International Leadership Award Dinner Honors Mastercard CEO and Celebrates SDGs

The 2017 USCIB Award dinner at the United Nations. L-R: Terry McGraw (S&P Global), Ajay Banga (Mastercard and 2017 honoree), Amina Mohammed (United Nations), Peter Robinson (USCIB)

At last night’s USCIB 2017 International Leadership Award Dinner, USCIB members and representatives of the international community turned out to honor Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga and celebrate the private sector’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The dinner, which was held at United Nations headquarters in New York, drew over 220 high-level private sector individuals, UN dignitaries as well as press and featured keynote remarks by UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed.

“Business leaders are ever more eager to work with governments on the 2030 Development Agenda,” said Mohammed, praising the involvement and “sustained momentum” that has been achieved by the private sector to date. While urging the private sector to continue working towards the achievement of the goals by 2030, she also noted, “The UN itself needs to change since it has not yet fulfilled its full potential.”

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, who gave welcoming remarks, highlighted 2017 milestones for the business community in aligning actions with the UN’s 2030 Development Agenda. “This has been a watershed year for American business in terms of focusing its attention on the importance of working effectively with international institutions – not just the UN, but also the G20, OECD, ILO and so many others,” said Robinson. “A key milestone came toward the end of last year, when the International Chamber of Commerce, one of three global business organizations for which USCIB serves as the American affiliate, won top-level Observer Status in the United Nations General Assembly.”

Terry McGraw, chairman of USCIB and chairman emeritus of McGraw Hill (now S&P Financial) echoed Robinson’s sentiments stating, “With elections and changing government leaders and priorities in the United States and literally around the world, it is more important than ever for business to stand up and continue to press forward an agenda that will strengthen important institutions and rules by which we work and trade.” McGraw also specifically acknowledged the role of the UN, noting, “To build a better world, we need institutions like the United Nations to function effectively and harmoniously, representing not just all of their member governments, but all interested stakeholders.”

Ajay Banga (Mastercard) and Eric Roston (Bloomberg News) engage in a fireside chat during the dinner

However the award honoree Banga emphasized that more needs to be done. “More than 2 billion adults around the world don’t have access to formal financial services, and the majority of them are women,” he said. “They have no way to do the things we take for granted – pay a bill, save money for a rainy day, borrow on reasonable terms. They are trapped in a cycle of poverty and faced with systemic barriers to the resources that would allow them change their situations and contribute to the growth and resilience of their communities. The private sector has a major responsibility and role to play in driving financial inclusion and, ultimately, inclusive growth, by bringing investment, innovation and scale to the table.”

The leadership award, which was established in 1980, is presented to a leading CEO, international figure or institution, and recognizes outstanding contributions to global trade, finance and investment, and to improving the global competitive framework in which American business operates. In honoring Banga, USCIB also recognized Mastercard’s leading work in global financial inclusion. Upon accepting the award, Banga was joined by Eric Roston, chief sustainability editor with Bloomberg News, for a “fireside chat” exploring Banga’s thoughts on business leadership and sustainability.

The gala event also served to showcase the private sector’s efforts to align its activities with the SDGs, including via a new video, spotlighting a number of USCIB member companies, for the Business for 2030 web platform launched by USCIB two years ago. Please visit www.Businessfor2030.org to learn more about what companies are doing to achieve the SDGs.

Banga’s other achievements include leadership roles as member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations and as a founding trustee of the U.S. – India Strategic Partnership Forum. He also served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. Prior to Mastercard, Banga was chief executive of Citigroup’s Asia Pacific. He began his career at Nestle in India, where he also spent two years with PepsiCo.

Fall/Winter 2017 Issue of International Business Now Live

USCIB’s “International Business” Fall/Winter 2017 issue is now live!

The Fall/Winter 2017 issue features USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson‘s column on “The Global Goals: a blueprint for partnership and action” as well as articles on developments in the UN General Assembly, NAFTA and the World Trade Organization, 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.

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!

Robinson Speaks on Private Sector Contribution to the SDGs

OECD Deputy Secretary General Mari Kiviniemi and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

Over 40 business experts, including USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, met with OECD governments and secretariat officials last week in Paris to discuss the role of the private sector in delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). High-level speakers including OECD Development Assistance Committee Chair Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Deputy Secretary General Mari Kiviniemi and Robinson outlined the need for greater collaboration between public and private actors.

The meeting, which was organized in partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) gave participants an opportunity to highlight what needs to improve for an enabling environment that can spur local business activity as a key mechanism for driving growth and development.

USCIB Applauds Progress at Bonn Climate Conference

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson at the UN Climate Change Conference

Bonn and New York, November 17, 2017 – As the Bonn Climate Conference wrapped up its work, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomed progress on priority topics for American business in the UN climate discussions. In particular, it noted that, after two weeks of intense negotiations, governments are moving ahead on transparency rules that will provide clarity and credibility across different national pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mobilize resources to address climate change.

USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson stated: “We want to express particular appreciation to the U.S. administration and the U.S. delegation attending these meetings for their accessibility and attention to advancing and defending American economic interests and opportunities in these international climate talks.”

Throughout the meeting, USCIB worked closely with the International Chamber of Commerce and the Major Economies Business Forum to call for inclusive business involvement in all areas of the climate deliberations. The Bonn outcomes also further chart the way forward for assessment and dialogue on the progress of all countries to meet Paris Agreement objectives, known as the Talanoa process, throughout 2018.

USCIB and its members have been on hand in Bonn to showcase American companies’ actions and solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mobilize investment and innovation, and inform the inter-governmental discussions going forward. Over 30,000 representatives from governments, the UN, NGOs and the business community attended the complicated technical talks to develop implementation rules for the Paris Agreement, including in the area of market-based approaches and carbon markets.

The next UN climate conference will take place in Katowice, Poland in December 2018.

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, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million people worldwide. 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
jhuneke@uscib.org, +1 917.420.0039

Business Dialogue at Climate COP Underscores Need for Inclusive Engagement

Continuing a series of Business Dialogues at UN Climate Conference meetings (COPs) in Doha, Warsaw, Lima and Marrakesh, the Major Economies Business Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change (BizMEF) and USCIB organized a successful Business Dialogue on Sunday, November 12 in Siegburg, Germany on the margins of this year’s UN Climate Conference, known as COP23.

BizMEF is a partnership of over 20 major multi-sectoral business organizations – including USCIB – from major economies and international sectoral organizations.

This year’s BizMEF Business Dialogue discussed where business can contribute to national pledge development and review, and how business can be involved in the global review of pre-2020 climate action by countries and business, known as the Talanoa Dialogue, to be administered by Fiji.

USCIB and BizMEF have called for the establishment of a recognized channel for business engagement on these and other elements of the Paris Agreement and UNFCCC.  BizMEF’s 2017 COP23 Issue Papers address business issues and are now available here.

The dialogue featured Fijian Ambassador to the EU Deo Saran. Fiji holds the presidency of this year’s climate negotiations, and will facilitate the Talanoa Dialogue.  Ambassador Saran stated: “We are aiming for a COP that delivers tangible results and inspires a race to the top.  When it comes to climate change action, each of us has a responsibility, including business. We are all in the same canoe.”

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson called for an open, inclusive framework for business engagement in the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. He welcomed the Talanoa Dialogue as “a way to bring together and consider the diverse national experiences and actions, to understand what has worked well, and identify where changes could be made to promote progress.  It is to be a dialogue, not a zero-sum negotiation. As such it is well suited for inclusion of business know how and experiences.”

The BizMEF Business Dialogue brought together over 50 participants from among government delegations, business leaders, academics and officials from the UNFCCC and relevant international organizations. High-level speakers at the event included:

  • Tomasz Chruszczow, Poland, SBI chair (Subsidiary Body for Implementation)
  • Marion Ferrat, IPCC Working Group III (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
  • Yvon Slingenberg, director general for environment, European Commission
  • Ambassador Patrick Suckling, [minister of?] environment, Australia
  • Trigg Talley, head of the Office of Global Change, U.S. Department of State
  • Jun Arima, professor of energy and environmental policy, University of Tokyo

Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for environment, energy and strategic international engagement, highlighted the growing issue of perceived conflict of interest and proposed sectoral bans at the UNFCCC and elsewhere in the multilateral system.  “We need to move forward, not backward,” she remarked. “If business and industry have contributed to climate change, it should be equally true that we play a significant role in tackling climate change. The reality is that it will not be possible to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement without the robust and coordinated participation of the global business community in all its diversity.”

USCIB will continue to represent the private sector at COP23, through its conclusion on November 16. USCIB will also host an “on-the-ground” webinar from Bonn for USCIB members on Wednesday, November 15.  For more information on the webinar, please contact Mia Lauter (mlauter@uscib.org).