USCIB held a special briefing on April 8 in Washington, DC with leading members, USCIB staff and the U.S. Department of State focusing on how USCIB is responding to challenges in the multilateral system around business and society.
Over thirty participants attended the briefing, hosted by USCIB member Beveridge and Diamond, including Director of the Office of Economic and Development Affairs from the U.S. Department of State Margy Bond, President of Woods International and Chairman of the Wilton Park USA Foundation Tom Woods and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. USCIB members in attendance included representatives from AT&T, Bayer, Cargill, Chevron, DHL Express, KPMG, McDonald’s and PepsiCo, among others.
Bond, who gave a keynote address, noted that USCIB members have been a driving force for constructive business engagement at the United Nations and emphasized that the U.S. government is focused on enhancing private sector involvement at and partnerships with the UN, which will not only help achieve global goals but also help promote growth and create jobs in the United States.
However, as business is expected to step up and provide the investment, innovation and capacity to scale solutions that can solve the world’s largest problems, USCIB members find themselves increasingly in the cross-hairs as anti-business sentiment continues to find traction among policymakers, NGOs and UN entities around the world.
“Our overriding concern is to promote trust and partnership between governments, international organizations and the private sector,” said Robinson. “All too often in recent years, we have seen the public and private sectors set against each other in international forums. We need to move beyond this, so that we can, together, tackle important global challenges like climate change, public health and nutrition, human rights and many others.”
With regards to trust, another value add to this meeting was an overview of the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer by Edelman Intelligence Managing Director Kari Butcher. Butcher gave insight into the findings of this year’s report and how business can use the data in the report to move forward on solving today’s societal challenges.
Participants had the opportunity to discuss and learn about three new initiatives launched by the USCIB Foundation to respond to these challenges, as well as opportunities for greater engagement through USCIB. These new initiatives are designed to strengthen the pivotal role business plays in furtherance of the 2030 Agenda with regards to nutrition-related SDGs, inclusive engagement of business in key UN forums, and the private sector’s role as a trusted partner in meeting the challenges facing society.
Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s international strategic engagement and USCIB’s All in Campaign emphasized that, “the private sector brings value to the United Nations system. Its success is our success.”
The initiatives that were presented to members include:
- Together for Nutrition Principles– a joint project between The USCIB Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and the Wilton Park Foundation defining a set of principles for public-private sector engagement to advance the nutrition-related SDGs.
- All In Campaign– an initiative bringing policymakers and global businesses together in key UN cities to begin a global conversation on opportunities for inclusive engagement with businesses from all industry sectors as essential to meeting the SDG goals and other 2015 outcomes.
- Business in Society: A Crisis of Trust – a USCIB Foundation project that aims to better understand and influence attitudes and behaviors among policymakers through data, analysis and education to demonstrate that business can be profitable and still be trusted partners in meeting societal challenges.
Moving forward, all of the above will be highlighted in USCIB’s 2nd Annual Geneva Week May 6-10, the first All In Campaign Roundtable scheduled to take place in Geneva during Geneva Week, a planned event on the impact of business SDG partnerships on the margins of the High Level Political Forum in July in New York, as well as additional planned All In Campaign roundtables in cities around the world. USCIB encourages members to participate and welcomes feedback.