Remembering John Kloosterman, Labor Standards Expert

John Kloosterman (2nd from left) relaxed prior to the 2016 ILO conference with (L-R) then-USCIB International Labor Counsel Ed Potter, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, and USCIB Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Chair Laura Chapman Rubbo (Disney).

USCIB members, staff and friends mourn the passing of John Kloosterman, a widely respected labor and employment lawyer who was an active member of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee, and who served on many U.S. employer delegations to the International Labor Organization (ILO). John passed away tragically in a traffic accident on May 28, and will be greatly missed by USCIB and our members.

In particular, John’s contributions to the work of the ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards, an important part of the ILO’s supervisory mechanism on which he served from 2012 to 2017, were recognized and appreciated by his peers in the global employer community.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to John’s family, especially his wife Jamie. The couple were serial adopters of large, lovable shelter dogs. In lieu of flowers or food, Jamie has asked that donations be made in John’s name to the San Francisco SPCA.

In 2018, John joined the Canadian law firm of Hicks Morley. Read more about his career and legacy in this tribute on the firm’s website.

In Peru, USCIB’s Goldberg Highlights Gender Inclusion

USCIB’s Ronnie Goldberg (center) at the UN Equal Pay International Coalition meeting in Lima, Peru

USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg participated in a meeting of the UN’s Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), May 28-29 in Lima, Peru. Launched by the UN General Assembly in 2017, EPIC aims to help stakeholders realize and achieve SDG Target 8.51: “By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value.”

Specifically, EPIC is an initiative driven by stakeholders committed to reduce the gender pay gap and make equal pay for work of equal value a reality across all countries and sectors. Coordinated by a secretariat encompassing the ILO, UN Women and the OECD, the coalition engages governments, employers, workers and their organizations, the private sector, civil society and academia to take concrete steps to accelerate the closing of the gender pay gap and the achievement of pay equity.

At the Peru meeting, which was focused on “south-south” dialogue among developing countries, Goldberg spoke on behalf of the International Organization of Employers (IOE), part of USCIB’s global business network. She said that while the rights-based case for gender equality, women’s empowerment, and equal pay is clear, there is also a robust business case for gender equality.

“To speak in the language of business, the economic empowerment of women is a critical enabler of economic development and growth,” Goldberg stated. “Representing at least half of all human talent and potential and an enormous market of consumers, women are a valuable and strategic resource in developed and developing countries alike.”

Moreover, a growing body of evidence shows that companies that commit to and enable gender diversity are realizing clear bottom line benefits, not least through the attraction and retention of talented women, Goldberg said.

Companies can do – and are doing – a lot to foster gender diversity in their workplaces, according to Goldberg. Among the many lessons learned from the private sector’s experience:

  • Buy-in at the top is essential.
  • Pay equity is not a one-time fix. Constant attention is required, including annual benchmarking exercises.
  • Unconscious bias is an important issue. Some companies have instituted training programs designed to uncover and deal with such biases.
  • HR and hiring practices/policies need to be continually monitored.
  • Some companies are opening themselves to rigorous outside audit and certification.
  • Family-friendly and gender-blind policies on flexible work hours, maternity/paternity and sick leave benefit everyone, and extending them to all employees helps to reduce gender gaps.

Goldberg said the experience of employers indicated that gender pay gaps are not going to magically disappear, and eliminating them should not be viewed as a one-time fix. “Rather, they require specific interventions that will differ according to national circumstances, corporate cultures, available resources, and political will,” she said. “The good news is that the issue is now firmly in the public eye and an increasing number of companies are stepping up to meet the challenge.”

USCIB All In Initiative

USCIB All In

About

Faced with the urgent need to make faster and smarter progress towards achieving the ambitions of a range of international agreements including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Framework on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, inclusive multilateralism is essential. In this context, USCIB has developed a 2 year initiative: “Campaign All In.”

All In has launched a global conversation on how to strengthen dialogue, partnership and engagement with business to advance implementation of 2015 outcomes via the multilateral system. The Campaign brings together policymakers and global businesses in key UN cities to begin a conversation on opportunities for harnessing the power of all industry sectors to achieve the SDG goals and other sustainability initiatives.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks at the All In Roundtable

Campaign All In was launched during a roundtable event on May 8, 2019 in which USCIB partnered with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to convene the first All In Roundtable on Inclusive Multilateralism, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Business. Further ‘All In’ roundtables are planned for Bangkok on June 11 and in New York in July. Together, the three roundtables will address six key themes:

  1. Enabling Public-Private Partnerships with the UN for the SDGs (Geneva)
  2. More than the sum of the parts: Leveraging public private cooperation in science and technology for the SDGs (Geneva)
  3. Using Value Chains to mobilize multi-sector engagement and synergy for the SDGs (Bangkok)
  4. Economic Empowerment and inclusion to catalyze SDG impact (Bangkok)
  5. Investing in Infrastructure in all its forms for the SDGs (NYC)
  6. Measuring and Mainstreaming Impact of Private Sector Engagement on SDGs (NYC)

Utilizing the outcomes from the 2019 discussions, All In will develop a 2020 Action Plan for Inclusive Multilateralism.

Events

Geneva Week roundtable

Upcoming:

  • Bangkok Roundtable
    • When: June 11th, 2019 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM, followed by a reception
    • Where: UN ESCAP in Bangkok, Thailand
    • Registration: Available here
  • High Level Political Forum Roundtable
    • Details TBC
  • UN General Assembly Conference
    • Details TBC

Past:

*Events are based on invite only

 

ICC Celebrates 100 Years, Sets Out Vision for Next Century

L-R: Peter Robinson (USCIB), Norine Kennedy (USCIB), Thomas Pletscher (ICC Switzerland)

The International Chamber of Commerce, the oldest and largest component of USCIB’s global business network, celebrated its centennial at a gala event in Paris on May 28. USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and Vice President Norine Kennedy were among the hundreds of attendees.

The world business organization was founded in 1919, out of the ashes of World War One, under a commitment by international business to build bridges through cross-border trade and investment and to serve as “merchants of peace.”

On behalf of its 45 million companies worldwide, ICC issued a declaration setting out a vision to shape the future of global business for the next century.

Mirroring the call by ICC’s founders, the declaration sets out guiding principles for ICC as a purpose-driven international organization, working with renewed purpose to “make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere.”

Listing a number of potential upheavals facing the global community – including climate change, digital transformations and rising inequality – the ICC declaration states: “In the years ahead, these disruptions will become increasingly pronounced in the absence of concerted action by global leaders to mitigate negative outcomes and drive collective solutions.”

Click here to read more and get the full declaration.

Ahead of ICC’s Centennial Summit, ICC launched a new work program to fulfill commitments set out in the Centenary Declaration. Leveraging ICC’s global membership in over 100 countries, ICC will execute the work program through five newly created and versatile knowledge hubs deploying five pivotal campaigns to enable business worldwide to secure peace, prosperity and opportunity for all.

“Faced with pressing global challenges in the 21st century, ICC and the global business community can – and must – do more as a force for good in the world,” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton. “We will respond to this imperative with brave and bold action to meet the ambition of our renewed purpose.”

USCIB Applauds Approval of OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), applauds the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) approval on May 22 of the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence (AI). Working through Business at OECD (BIAC), a core group of USCIB members participated in a special, 50+ member experts group that was convened to scope these principles. They contributed directly to the development of five complementary, values-based principles for the responsible development and stewardship of trustworthy AI and five recommendations for public policy and international cooperation.

Importantly, these principles are not prescriptive. They highlight human-centered values, fairness, transparency, robust security, and accountability as foundational elements for AI deployment that will ensure inclusive growth, sustainable development and well-being. The principles, which were developed through multistakeholder dialogue involving input from business, government, civil society, the technical community, and labor unions, also recognize the appropriate role of governments in creating an enabling environment for research and development to drive innovation in trustworthy AI. They call upon governments to develop mechanisms to share data and knowledge and programs to equip people with digital skills so they can transition to new employment that will harness AI for economic and societal good. The OECD’s 36 member countries, along with Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Romania, who signed up to the AI Principles at the organization’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting today in Paris, further agreed to cooperate across borders and sectors to share information, and develop international, interoperable standards to ensure safe, fair and trustworthy AI.

“USCIB is honored that its members played a direct role in shaping principles that will enable us to tap the extraordinary potential of Artificial Intelligence in a manner that will improve economic and societal well-being across diverse sectors such as energy and the environment, healthcare, and transportation, to name a few,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “Perhaps most important, these principles include important safeguards that keep human-centered values at the core of AI deployment and prevail upon all ‘AI actors’ to respect democratic values throughout the AI system lifecycle, commit to transparency, and to demonstrate accountability, among other responsibilities. We see a bright future ahead and look forward to the adoption of these principles by OECD members and non-members alike,” added Robinson.

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 at www.uscib.org.

Contact:
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

US Business Launches ‘All In’ Initiative to Advance Business Engagement for Global Goals Implementation

Geneva Week roundtable

USCIB partnered with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to convene the first ‘All In’ Roundtable on Inclusive Multilateralism, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Business. USCIB’s ‘All In” Initiative seeks to launch a global conversation on how to strengthen dialogue, partnership and engagement with business to advance implementation of 2015 outcomes.

Over fifty participants from Geneva-based diplomatic missions, UN bodies, NGOs and business joined the event, including:

  • UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Michelle Bachelet
  • Charge d’Affaires, ad Interim, of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and Other International Organizations Mark Cassayre
  • Secretary General of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Guy Ryder
  • Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi
  • UK Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Julian Braithwaite
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks at the All In Roundtable

Expert panelists from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO),UNICEF, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the UN Global Compact and the Partnering Initiative reflected on two themes that were raised in All In Discussion Starter papers:

Public Private Partnerships with the UN – Designing for SDG impact

Leveraging public private sector cooperation on technical and scientific knowledge for targeted SDG implementation

“The event highlighted the diverse variety of working arrangements to engage with non-state actors and the private sector,” said USCIB Vice President for Strategic International Engagement, Environment and Energy Norine Kennedy. “Through the “All In” initiative USCIB will draw on its long experience in the multilateral system to highlight what has worked well and to flag areas where further partnership, improvement and strengthening are needed to speed up and scale SDG impact. “

Further ‘All In’ roundtables are planned for Bangkok and other UN cities, on additional themes, including metrics for impact, infrastructure investment for SDG action and economic empowerment and inclusion. Based on this series of discussions throughout 2019, ‘All In’ will develop a 2020 Action Plan for Inclusive Multilateralism.

The ‘All In’ roundtable took place in conjunction with USCIB’s second annual Geneva Week, May 6-9.

USCIB Geneva Week Highlights US Business Priorities for Inclusive Multilateralism

USCIB Geneva Week delegation

A delegation of USCIB members joined USCIB’s second annual Geneva Week May 6 – 9 to highlight U.S. business priority issues, underscore USCIB’s continuing commitment to engage constructively in the multilateral system and advance U.S. innovation and partnership for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). USCIB also held its public launch of the ‘All In’ Initiative in Geneva on May 8, with a luncheon and roundtable discussion on inclusive multilateralism, SDGs and business.

USCIB Geneva Week provided an opportunity to discuss with diplomatic missions and UN entities enhanced access to intergovernmental organizations and to foster increased engagement between the public and private sectors. Geneva Week included meetings with representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as bilateral meetings with a range of national missions, including the United States, Brazil, Ethiopia and Japan. The USCIB delegation was welcomed by the Director General of World Intellectual Property Rights Organization (WIPO) Francis Gurry and took part in a series of thematic briefings and discussions with other WIPO officials.

USCIB’s Geneva Week delegation included representatives from AB InBev, Bayer, BIO, Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, Ferrero, Mastercard, and PepsiCo. USCIB Vice Presidents Norine Kennedy and Mike Michener, Senior Director for Membership Alison Hoiem and Policy and Program Assistant Mia Lauter supported the group in meetings throughout the course of the week.

Members also joined a Geneva Business Dialogue at the World Trade Organization (WTO), hosted by theInternational Chamber of Commerce (ICC), ICC Switzerland and USCIB.  Joining a panel of speakers from the government of Switzerland and the EU Mission were private sector representatives from Nestle, Novartis and Ab InBev to highlight opportunities to create shared value using the SDGs as a framework.

Senior Vice President of Ferrero U.S.A. Gerald Kunde, who also chaired the delegation, was pleased with the outcome. “The USCIB team did an amazing job organizing and executing Geneva Week and the ‘All In’ Roundtable,” said Kunde. “Relationships are at the heart of our business. This year’s program advanced existing relationships, established new ones and greatly enhanced the private sector’s commitment to inclusive multilateralism.”

“Connecting members to key multilateral leaders and representatives of member states in important UN cities like Geneva is a fundamental part of USCIB’s policy work,” said Michener.  “We are very satisfied with the both the level and content of our engagement this week, and grateful to our members for their interest and active participation.”

USCIB will prepare a summary report of USCIB Geneva Week meetings for members and will begin to plan follow-up meetings for relevant committees with the Administration to consider next steps.

USCIB Member and Marriott’s Tu Rinsche Receives Award for Anti-Trafficking Work

Tu Rinsche (USCIB Member and Marriott)

An active member of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Committee Tu Rinsche, who serves as Marriott International’s social responsibility director, was honored with the 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Award by the Nomi Network at the organization’s annual gala on May 1. The Nomi Network is a nonprofit economic development organization fighting human trafficking in Cambodia and India. The gala marked ten years that the Nomi Network has been providing training, job opportunities and community development services to women at risk and survivors of human trafficking.

As part of the award ceremony, Rinsche’s fifteen years of experience developing social impact programs was highlighted. Her career began in public service as a U.S. Peace Corp Volunteer in Mauritania, where she worked on community health programs. She went on to work as an expert in global forced labor policy issues for the U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Bureau and served as a volunteer teacher with Amnesty International, teaching Washington DC public school students about human rights.  While at The Walt Disney Company, she led the company’s first multi-million dollar Supply Chain Investment Program, enhancing supply chain accountability and transparency.

Leading Marriott’s global business and human rights since 2016, Rinsche has developed a unique and robust program focused on human trafficking awareness and accountability initiatives and partnering with leading human rights organizations. Recognizing that hotels can sometimes be inappropriately used by customers to engage in exploitation, Rinsche recognized an opportunity to disrupt those practices by training on-property associates to identify and report the signs of human trafficking and forced labor. Rinsche went on to develop a program in partnership with the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery to teach victims of human trafficking about the hospitality industry that empowers them as they transition into full time work.

“Throughout her career, Rinsche has been a powerful advocate and change agent,” said USCIB Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog, who works with Rinsche on these issues within USCIB’s CRLA Committee. “USCIB congratulates Tu for her prestigious award in recognition of her work and Marriott’s commitment to the fight to end human trafficking and modern slavery.”

Michener Presents USCIB-GAIN Nutrition Partnership Principles to UN Agencies in Rome

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener speaks in Rome.

The Private Sector Mechanism (PSM), an organization representing the agri-business sector at the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome, invited USCIB to present its public-private partnership recommendations at an event on April 26, Transforming Food Systems for Improved Nutrition. PSM members presented seventeen forward-looking policy recommendations to be considered for inclusion in the upcoming CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Food Systems and Nutrition, based on real case studies and examples that illustrated the recommendation and its importance to the nutrition guidelines.

USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener discussed the USCIB-GAIN nutrition partnership principles as the PSM’s Recommendation 17: Partnering for Outcome.  The event was attended by approximately seventy CFS stakeholders, including member states, staff from Rome based agencies and representatives of civil society, NGO and philanthropic organizations.

The USCIB Foundation teamed up with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to organize two public-private partnerships dialogues to tackle malnutrition. The first dialogue, held in New York in October 2017, developed seven principles of engagement between governments and business to improve nutritional outcomes through public-private partnerships. The second dialogue, held in Rome in November 2018, explored practical and tangible ways to implement and scale coordinated initiatives to put the draft Principles into practice. The program focused on both under-nutrition and the rise of overweight and obesity, as well as the associated diet related non-communicable diseases.

As one of the important outcomes of the Rome dialogue, GAIN and The USCIB Foundation agreed to take the Principles to donors such as developmental agencies, foundations and companies interested in public-private partnerships. Michener, who leads USCIB’s work on food and healthcare, emphasized the importance of engaging the CFS and other Rome-based UN agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  “As we committed to do in November, we took the Principles to the Rome-based agencies with this briefing for Permanent Representatives via the PSM event,” he said. “We also plan to take the Principles to regional meetings, with the first meeting tentatively set for Ethiopia in early 2020.”

“Global food and agriculture constitute a $7.8 trillion industry, employing up to 40 percent of the working population in many countries yet progress towards the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is too slow and the scale and complexity of the problem underscores the need for deepened collaboration and renewed commitment to improving nutrition outcomes for all, especially the most vulnerable,” according to Michener. “Countries cannot achieve their SDG goals without an aligned, motivated and incentivized private sector as a key partner,” added Michener. “In this context, improved dialogue and collaboration between government, business, civil society and international organizations is crucial for guiding engagement and focusing efforts where they can have the most sustainable impact and long-term success.”

USCIB Co-Sponsors Reception to Promote OECD Trade Priorities

Dominik Kümmerle (Business at OECD), Cliff Sosnow (Business at OECD Trade Committee), Pat Ivory (Ibec, Business at OECD Trade Committee), Eva Hampl (USCIB), Russell Mills (Business at OECD), Julia Nielson (OECD Trade Directorate)

USCIB Senior Director for Trade, Investment and Financial Services Eva Hampl joined global business colleagues from Business at OECD and Irish Business (Ibec) to co-sponsor a reception in Paris on April 25 to officially launch a report “Business at OECD Considerations for Trade and Investment – Priorities for Future OECD Work.” Th event was held in conjunction with the OECD Trade Committee meetings which took place the week of April 22, and built on the report by reinforcing the relationship between Business at OECD and the OECD Trade Committee.

Chair of the OECD Trade Committee Ambassador Didier Chambovey, who serves as head of the Swiss Permanent Mission to the WTO and EFTA, made a few opening remarks at the reception, underlining the importance of the relationship between Business at OECD and the OECD Trade Committee. Pat Ivory, vice chair of the Business at OECD Trade Committee joined Hampl in making a few comments, highlighting issues of importance to Business at OECD and USCIB’s respective economies and business more broadly.

In her remarks, Hampl noted the challenges the global economy is faced with in the midst of so many countries turning inward denouncing globalization and promoting protectionist policies. “In that context, the most effective way to push back is with empirical evidence—on issues like services, global value chains, policies related to national security and the danger of trade restrictive measures such as tariffs or quotas to the global trading system,” said Hampl. “We must look to the future of the global economy; that is why the work that is currently being done on digital trade at the OECD is invaluable to business – all of our companies operate in the digital space and understanding exactly how the digital economy works is key to successfully regulating this space.

While in Paris, Hampl also attended the OECD Trade Committee meetings April 22-26. According to Hampl, while there were many issues on the agenda, the clear focus across the board was on digital trade. “While the OECD does not directly engage in the WTO E-Commerce negotiation, there is a keen awareness the role the analytical work done at the OECD can play in advancing the negotiations at the WTO,” said Hampl. To that end, Business at OECD circulated a paper on what business is looking for in the WTO E-Commerce negotiations and how the OECD can contribute to the effort.

In addition to attending the official sessions of the OECD Trade Committee, where Business at OECD made interventions on the preparations for the Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) in May 2019, the Interim Economic Outlook, and Digital Trade, Business at OECD also held its own meeting focused on business priorities. That meeting included an extensive exchange on the Committee’s priorities and next steps where much of the conversation centered on digital trade in its various forms, but also addressed broader issues like China and the state of the global economy. A dinner with OECD leadership also provided a great opportunity to informally exchange views on these important issues.