Climate Workshop Emphasizes Business Engagement

The workshop presented a draft USCIB report on Business Engagement in Implementation of National Pledges under the Paris Agreement.
Participants discussed what will be necessary to mobilize business action, investment and innovation to advance national and global actions toward the Paris Agreement.

The Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF), of which USCIB is a leading member, joined forces with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (Business at OECD) to convene a day long workshop at the OECD Conference Center on October 10 in Paris. The objective of the meeting was to present a draft USCIB report on Business Engagement in Implementation of National Pledges under the Paris Agreement, and to discuss what will be necessary to mobilize business action, investment and innovation to advance national and global actions toward the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement.

This event was organized on the margins of the OECD Climate Change Experts Group meetings on October 8-9 and included key players from the OECD and the UN Climate Change Negotiations:

  • Director of the OECD Environment Directorate Rodolfo Lacy
  • OECD Climate Change Experts Group Chair Helen Plume (New Zealand)
  • Fiji Ambassador Deo Saran
  • Chair of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body on Science and Technology Advice, Paul Watkinson (France)

Opening the meeting, Secretary General of Business at OECD Russel Mills stated that as key implementation details of the Paris Agreement are completed, business is looking for “smart rules that would animate business expertise and enthusiasm.”  Business representatives from Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Sweden, and others provided examples of public-private partnerships to advance, assess and improve national pledges under the Paris Agreement.

Professor Henry D. Jacoby, of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, Sloan School of Management, reflected on the unique ability of business to connect near-term pragmatic action to long term objectives and planning inherent in the multi-decadal efforts needed to address climate change.  “Doing otherwise,” he said, “risks not only stranded assets, but stranded communities and economies.”

At the end of the session, USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Energy and Environment Norine Kennedy presented a BizMEF proposal for an inclusive and recognized platform for business to be introduced in the UN climate change agreement.  This platform could be similar to the Global Business Platform in the Convention on Biological Diversity, organized on national and regional focal points to involve companies of all sectors, sizes and nationalities, with the mandate to respond to government requests for information or input, and to offer both implementation and policy advice to the UNFCCC process.

“We need an all hands on deck approach to climate policy design, innovation deployment, infrastructure investment and action to deliver current national pledges,” emphasized Kennedy.  “Bringing business to the table in an ongoing and mutually beneficial working relationship, linked between national and global levels, will be indispensable to growing prosperity, energy access and security and resilient solutions to climate change.”

Over 50 participants from governments, academia, the UN and business joined the discussion, which also considered the recently announced IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees C.  This landmark report found that limiting an increase in global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels was possible, but would require unprecedented actions.  Parties to the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement have pledged to keep global temperature change to no more than 2 degrees C, yet there is growing political pressure in the UN climate negotiations to agree a more stringent target of 1.5 degrees.

The USCIB Report will be finalized to reflect the October 10 workshop discussions, and presented at the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties, from December 2 – 14 in Poland.

USCIB Hosts Arbitration Luncheon on B2B Data Breaches Disputes

Program focused on the coming wave of data privacy and security disputes between businesses, the legal claims and defenses asserted in these cases and the key role of ADR in resolving these disputes.
Where there is a breach, companies need to examine who owned the data, who had custody of the data and the source of the breach.

 

USCIB’s Arbitration Committee hosted a luncheon with Squire Patton Boggs on October 3 focusing on arbitrating B2B data breach disputes. As data breaches are increasingly more common, business-to-business (“B2B”) disputes arising from security incidents between companies are also on the rise. The luncheon program focused on the coming wave of data privacy and security disputes between businesses, the legal claims and defenses asserted in these cases and the key role of ADR in resolving these disputes.

Divided into two panels, the first panel, which was moderated by USCIB General Counsel, Nancy M. Thevenin, focused on the business problem of data breach disputes. Speaker, Nancy Saltzman, former executive vice president, general counsel and company secretary of EXL Service, advised businesses to review their new and old contracts for data breach provisions and risk allocations. Where there is a breach, companies need to examine who owned the data, who had custody of the data and the source of the breach. Saltzman explained that a breach can occur internally within one’s own company via human or system error or externally via hacking.

Edward Chang of Cyber Risk Management at Travelers described how a breach may release a company’s sensitive information or personally identifiable information of its customers. Chang explained that in terms of insurance, this is a fast moving field with about 70 different issuers that provide coverage for B2B data breaches. He specified that there are four basic schemes for coverage: (a) incident response; (b) business interruption losses; (c) fraud and business email compromise; and (d) liability. Both speakers agreed that it is not uncommon for companies to quickly go through $10 million worth of coverage where a breach occurs.

The second panel, moderated by Frederic Fucci, an independent arbitrator with Fucci Law & ADR, PLL and chair of the Transactional Lawyers Subcommittee focused on how alternative dispute resolution (ADR), as opposed to litigation, was an effective means of resolving these disputes. Speaker Joseph V. DeMarco, founder and principal at DeVore & DeMarco LLP, emphasized that the confidentiality of mediation and arbitration was a key advantage. Speaker, Gary L. Benton, FCIArb, FCCA, an independent arbitrator with Gary Benton Arbitration and founder of the Silicon Valley Arbitration & Mediation Center, added that with ADR, the parties can select neutrals with the technical expertise to effectively resolve data breach disputes.

To conclude, the program emphasized the importance for businesses to focus on and negotiate the data breach provisions of any contract in which they are providing access to their data and to consider obtaining insurance to protect against data breaches. The program also emphasized using ADR to resolve these disputes. For example, using the standard ICC arbitration clause followed by provisions for the place of arbitration, applicable law, number of arbitrators with required expertise and language would be a sufficient starting place.

Business Unites in Opposition to Draft Human Rights Treaty Targeting Companies

Gabriella Rigg Herzog (USCIB)
Proposed treaty would fundamentally shift the burden of policing and enforcing global human rights from governments onto multinational companies.
Treaty is championed by Ecuador and several other governments, alongside a number of activist groups.

 

This week in Geneva, at the fourth session of a UN working group charged with reviewing standards for companies with respect to human rights, the global business community has united in opposition to a proposed “zero draft” of a treaty on business and human rights.

The proposed treaty, championed by Ecuador and several other governments, alongside a number of activist groups, would fundamentally shift the burden of policing and enforcing global human rights from governments onto multinational companies, according to Gabriella Rigg Herzog, USCIB’s vice president for corporate responsibility and labor affairs, who is attending the Geneva meeting.

“Some in the room have referred to the zero draft as a ‘last line of defense’ approach,” Herzog told delegates in a statement on behalf of USCIB and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). “But we believe the true first line of defense is strong domestic rule of law, good governance, and the state duty to protect human rights. This is where our collective efforts should focus and is the global approach we all are working to achieve under the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

A joint statement by the IOE, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD and Business Europe conveys the groups’ strong concerns on the proposed treaty. These include:

  • The zero draft includes requirements that are unclear and not aligned with recognized “soft-law” instruments such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
  • It establishes a different set of requirements for transnational business activities versus other enterprises and organizations.
  • And the draft would open the door to civil and criminal suits in a wide range of jurisdictions, which could lead to “forum shopping.”

“We do not believe that these texts make a helpful contribution to the field of business and human rights and we believe that they risk undermining important progress made in this sphere under the UN Guiding Principles,” stated Viviane Schiave, senior policy executive with ICC. “Furthermore, the process followed by the [UN working group] to date does not give business confidence that this initiative will provide credible and workable solution to such complex human rights issues.”

USCIB Hosts U.S. Chargé to OECD Andrew Havilland

Acting Head (“Chargé d’Affaires”) of the U.S. Mission to the OECD Andrew Havilland speaks with USCIB members
Havilland reviewed OECD activities and upcoming challenges, cooperation of both the U.S. Mission and the sprawling OECD structures with Business at OECD and ways to strengthen those government/business links.
USCIB will be organizing a parallel session for Nan Fife and her “OECD desk” team from state to meet with member companies.

Two dozen USCIB member companies met with Andrew Havilland, acting head (“chargé d’affaires”) of the U.S. Mission to the OECD on October 11 at USCIB’s Washington office. In a wide-ranging hour-long give and take, Havilland reviewed OECD activities and upcoming challenges, cooperation of both the U.S. Mission and the sprawling OECD structures with the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (Business at OECD) group and ways to strengthen those government/business links.

Access for Business at OECD members to some important OECD committees was highlighted as an important ongoing problem.  Digital trade, tax, health, and competition policy remain important priority areas for USCIB member companies.  OECD work on “Illicit trade” is also an area of growing interest for member companies.  And accession of new member countries to the OECD, both the process and potential individual candidate countries remain very important issues for many member companies.  Member companies were appreciative of the support they are getting from Havilland’s U.S. Mission team in Paris.

Nan Fife, the newly-arrived office director of the Economic Policy and Public Diplomacy (EPPD) Office in the State Department’s Economic and Business Bureau (EB), the “desk” coordinating U.S. Government policy toward the OECD, accompanied Havilland to the session and chimed in, encouraging USCIB and member companies with interests or concerns on OECD issues to work with her and her team as well as relevant Washington agencies.  USCIB will be organizing another parallel session for Fife and her “OECD desk” team from state to meet with member companies.

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly, who moderated the session, praised Havilland for making time to meet with business and for his “expertise, candor, and open door for business. “USCIB really appreciates Andrew Havilland and the entire team at the U.S. Mission to the OECD,” said Donnelly. “They have been great partners on a range of important issues around the OECD for USCIB and for BIAC.”        

 

Pamela Bates Nominated as US Ambassador to OECD

Pamela Bates
Photo source: Securitas Global Risk Solutions

On September 24, President Donald Trump officially nominated Pamela Bates to be next U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Bates would replace Ambassador Daniel Yohannes, who departed the post in January 2017.  In the interim the U.S. Mission to the OECD had been capably led, first, by Peter Haas, and currently by Andrew Havilland as Chargé d’Affaires.

Bates is awaiting a confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Bates has considerable experience as a State Department Foreign Service Officer (FSO) specializing in economic policy work and including a tour of duty on the staff of the U.S. Mission to the OECD which she is now being nominated to head.  USCIB CEO and President Peter Robinson welcomed her nomination.  “We at USCIB are delighted to see the nomination of an experienced economic policy maker to be the next U.S. Ambassador at the OECD,” said Robinson. “USCIB works closely with the OECD as the sole U.S. business affiliate of the OECD’s Business and Industry Advisory Committee (Business at OECD).  We and our member companies have worked closely with previous U.S. ambassadors and their staffs and look forward to continuing that close cooperation with Pamela Bates once she is confirmed and on the job in Paris.”

USCIB Vice President for Investment Policy and Financial Services Shaun Donnelly, himself a retired State Department economic officer and former Ambassador, added, “I’ve known Pam Bates from our time together at the State Department and am confident she’ll do an excellent job representing our Government at the OECD and leading the U.S. Mission.  She comes to this important post well prepared.”

Bates served for 24 years as a career member of the United States Foreign Service before assuming her current role as a partner at Securitas Global Risk Solutions in Wayne, Pennsylvania, in 2017.  While with the State Department, Bates’ assignments included service as deputy director of the Economic and Commercial Studies Division for the National Foreign Affairs Training Institute in Arlington, Virginia, and as the senior energy advisor at the United States Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, France.  She also served in the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.  Ms. Bates earned her AB degree from Bowdoin College, her MA from John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and her MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  She speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German.

USCIB Raises Awareness for SDG Platform at Global Business Forum

Business representatives from numerous countries were on hand to prepare views and share good practices relating to employers and job creation in connection with the SDGs.
“Businessfor2030 is really the perfect way to showcase what the business community is doing for the SDGs,” said Matthias Thorns of IOE.

 

The Global Business Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) met in Madrid, Spain from October 1-2.  Business representatives from numerous countries were on hand to prepare views and share good practices relating to employers and job creation in connection with the SDGs. USCIB Policy and Program Assistant Mia Lauter represented U.S. employers and USCIB at the session.

The Forum, organized by the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and hosted by Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE) with the support of the European Union, aimed to raise awareness of the SDGs and the contributions that businesses can make to their achievement and exchange experiences about the involvement of Employers’ Organizations (EOs) and discuss the role they can play. The Forum also sought to better understand the needs and expectations of companies – MNEs and SMEs alike – with regard to support from EOs, as well as learn about the challenges and opportunities arising from SDG reporting, see the SDGs in the larger context of UN reform. Finally the Forum aimed to define the key messages of business for the high-level review of SDG 8 in 2019; and identify key follow-up actions for the IOE and invited delegates.

Lauter discussed the role of employers’ organizations in achieving the SDGs with particular focus on USCIB’s web platform Businessfor2030.org, outlining three main purposes of the site:

  1. Understand: Businessfor2030 cuts through the UN complexities and jargon, and helps companies understand the expectations and opportunities for the private sector, connecting the SDGs to business value propositions
  2. Be Inspired: Businessfor2030 aggregates companies’ sustainability initiatives and re-broadcasts them in alignment with the SDGs, then directly targets them at the audience that cares – the UN. Explore case studies of private sector contributions to sustainable development and the SDGs.
  3. Get Involved: Businessfor2030 provides resources to connect companies, UN agencies and governments for public-private partnerships for the SDGs. It also offers opportunities for companies to add their own examples of case studies or contribute stories and policy views through the Bizfor2030 blog.

Lauter emphasized that achieving the SDGs calls for an all-of-society approach, and that Employers’ Organizations have the unique ability to connect the many stakeholders involved in social and economic aspects of sustainability.

Director of Stakeholder Engagement at IOE Matthias Thorns agreed. “Businessfor2030 is really the perfect way to showcase what the business community is doing for the SDGs,” said Thorns.

The Forum, which offered a global exchange among employers’ organizations on sustainable development, helped participants foster a better common understanding; learn from national experiences; identify areas of common concern; and agree on follow-up action, as well as facilitate public-private dialogue on the issue of business engagement on the SDGs.

At B20, Argentina’s President Notes Crucial Role of Business

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri
The annual B20 process provides a platform for the international business community to participate in global economic governance.
The set of actionable recommendations will be submitted for consideration by heads of state at the G20 Summit in late November.

 

Argentina hosted the B20 Summit October 4-5 in Argentina, gathering business leaders of B20, government representatives and members of international organizations. Among them was International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Secretary General John Denton. Denton led a high-level panel on “Infrastructure + Energy: Two powerhouses for development”.

The annual summit, organised this year under the stewardship of G20 host country Argentina, provided an opportunity for Denton and selected business leaders to meet with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who addressed the group at the Casa Rosada Museum in Buenos Aires.

Formally receiving the group’s recommendations to G20 leaders during the closing session of the Summit, Macri said, “Global solutions require the commitment and action not only of governments but also of all the sectors of society, including the business community. Companies are important in the process of dialogue and consensus building.”

The set of actionable recommendations will be submitted for consideration by heads of state at the G20 Summit in late November.

The annual B20 process provides a significant platform for the international business community to participate in global economic governance, and supports the work of the G20 by hosting focused policy discussions and developing recommendations geared towards strong, sustainable and balanced growth in the global economy.

Bloomberg to Host Tax Leadership Forum

On November 29, shortly after a consequential U.S. midterm election, Bloomberg Tax will host its premier event for corporate tax and finance leaders. USCIB Vice President for Tax Policy Carol Doran Klein will moderate one of the sessions.

The Bloomberg Tax Leadership Forum will provide unique insights into the impact of the election results as well as the most current developments from the 2017 U.S. tax law affecting your organization’s tax planning.

Reserve your seat now as government policy makers, corporate tax leaders, and leading advisers present and discuss the critical issues of the day. Topics to be covered will include:

  • An update from key Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committee members
  • Choice of entity considerations and updates from regulators
  • The shifting state tax landscape
  • The ongoing debate on how the digital economy will be taxed
  • Critical international tax development updates for U.S. companies
  • The latest developments of the U.S. tax law’s impacts on trade issues

Hampl Voices China Concerns in Public Testimony

USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony on October 3 to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee.
Hampl took the opportunity to speak about China 301 tariffs, noting how disruptive they are to U.S. business.

Following USCIB’s submission to the annual request by USTR for comments on China’s compliance with WTO commitments and notice of public hearing, USCIB Senior Director for Investment, Trade and Financial Services Eva Hampl provided testimony on October 3 to the interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC).

The interagency panel was chaired by USTR and included officials from the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, State, Agriculture and Labor. The questions from the panel addressed the cybersecurity law, addressing ICT products and services as well as data flow restrictions, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), anti-monopoly law (AML) enforcement, trade secrets, agricultural biotechnology, and the import ban on recyclable materials.

“USCIB has consistently identified a number of key areas of concern, including market access, standards, transparency, subsidies, competition policy, technology transfer, and national and economic security issues,” noted Hampl during her testimony. “While small steps are occasionally made in a market opening direction, overall China appears to be ramping up its protectionism. These issues affect many U.S. sectors, including agricultural biotechnology, audiovisual, chemicals, electronic payment services, express delivery services, recoverable materials, software, and telecommunications.”

Hampl also took the opportunity to speak about the China 301 tariffs noting how disruptive they are to U.S. business. “Extensive tariff actions do not show any indication that they will in fact resolve the underlying issues and change China’s behavior regarding intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer,” warned Hampl. “In addition, as our submission lays out, there are many more issues beyond those that need to be addressed. Accordingly, high-level dialogues between the United States and China continue to be of the utmost importance.”

USCIB also submitted extensive written comments.

USCIB Members Highlight Business Role in SDGs During UN General Assembly

L-R: Gabriella Rigg Herzog (USCIB), Daniel Schwartz (Mastercard), Chris Gray (Pfizer), Shaun Mickus (J&J), Louise Kantrow (former Permanent Representative of the ICC to the UN)
USCIB convened a side event, “Making, valuing and communicating SDG Impact: U.S. Business Signposts for the Next 5 Years.”
In 2019, the UN will consider the first three years of implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and consider possible changes.

 

As governments gathered in New York for the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) from September 24 – 28, convened under the Presidency of Ambassador María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador), USCIB members highlighted the contribution and practical experience of the American private sector in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

USCIB convened a side event, “Making, valuing and communicating SDG Impact: U.S. Business Signposts for the Next 5 Years.” The event was hosted by Deloitte on September 27th and gathered representatives from business, government and the UN system to share information and experiences in three areas critical to successful SDG action by businesses:

  1. Embedding sustainability into the core of company’s business models
  2. Measuring the impact of sustainability programs and initiatives
  3. Communicating impact to target audiences and key stakeholders

In 2019, the UN will consider the first three years of experience and implementation with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and consider possible changes.  USICB’s event made clear that, three years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, substantial progress has been made thanks to the commitment and action of U.S. business, but also flagged areas where stronger links with business would enhance progress towards the SDGs.

Director of the Office of Global Change at the U.S. Department of State Thomas DeBass acknowledged that business will deliver most of the funding for the SDGs, so it follows that governments and the UN must do a better job communicating to business. “Only 10 percent of the financing to achieve the SDGs will come through official development aid and related government sources,” said DeBass. “The other 90 percent will come about through private-sector investment. But we are still trying to convince the 90 percent using the language of the 10 percent.  We need to reorient our sales pitch to speak the language of business.”

Meanwhile companies recognize the business case for embedding sustainability across their operations. In fact, Novozymes’ Head of Corporate Sustainability and Public Affairs Claus Stig Pedersen noted, “we don’t have a sustainability policy, we have a business system that adjusts to sustainable development.”

Chief Strategy Officer for International Development at Deloitte Wade Warren pointed out that, “achieving the SDGs could unlock an additional $12 trillion in business opportunities.”  Yet, while business enthusiasm for the SDGs and the business opportunities that the SDGs create, is growing, the full potential of collaboration between the private sector, governments and the UN system has not been unlocked.

Norine Kennedy, USCIB vice president for environment, energy and strategic international engagement, called for a practical approach to “inclusive multilateralism” that will animate business to further develop and deploy technologies, know-how and investment to advance the Global Goals.

On September 27, the UN also held the third high-level meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), which was attended by USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener. The two previous high-level sessions on NCDs took place in 2011 and 2014. The meeting on September 27th served as a comprehensive review of the prevention and control of NCDs and focused on the theme of strengthening health systems and financing for the prevention and control of NCDs, on each country’s path towards achieving universal health care, including through sharing evidence-based best practices, scientific knowledge and lessons learned.” The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) UN Representative in New York Andrew Wilson represented the private sector. The outcome of this meeting was an adopted UN Declaration on NCDs. 

The UN General Assembly is the supreme governing body of the United Nations.  This year’s session that will continue throughout the year into spring 2019 will focuses on the theme, “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibility for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies.”

USCIB will continue to work with member companies, governments and the UN system, to share expertise and foster partnerships to continue to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including through the Businessfor2030 web platform.