USCIB Delegation Contributes to Extending a Global Pact on Chemicals

Mike Michener (USCIB) and Sophia Danenberg (Boeing)

A global framework for chemicals that was to end in 2020 will be extended and include the sound management of associated industrial waste, government officials from around the world agreed at a summit in Stockholm which ended Thursday, March 15. The meeting, hosted by the Swedish government and attended by representatives of UN member states, NGOs and business and industry, aimed to draw up a global strategy for managing waste and chemicals based on agreed international standards.  Mike Michener, USCIB vice president for product policy and innovation, Sophia Danenberg of Boeing, chair of the USCIB International Product Policy Working Group, and Frank Mastrocco of Pfizer represented U.S. downstream users of chemicals as part of the private sector delegation.

Global cooperation in chemicals is currently governed by the UN-backed global initiative, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), but this only extends to 2020.  Sweden wants SAICM to be replaced with a global deal, similar to the Paris Agreement for climate.  The meeting decided that existing principles of SAICM should be retained beyond 2020, including risk reduction and illegal international traffic.

“This was the first meeting, so nothing is decided,” stated Michener. “The countries that participated all agreed they want to work jointly on extending an international agreement on the management of chemicals and waste, and that a global deal approved at the highest levels is necessary. Now the SAICM co-chairs will begin work on a zero draft of a new agreement, to be approved by member states sometime before 2020.”


USCIB Pushes for Women’s Empowerment at ILO Event


The International Labor Organization (ILO) organized a panel discussion during the UN Commission on the Status of Women on March 16, featuring remarks from Ambassadors of Rwanda and Canada, Valentine Rugwabiza and Louise Blais, respectively. USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg joined the panel titled, “Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work for Rural Women.”

Speaking on behalf of Employers in the International Organization of Employers (IOE), Goldberg pointed out that many of the challenges women generally face are amplified for rural women.  “Infrastructure development, girls education, skills, entrepreneurship, rule of law, effective property rights and access to credit are vital elements in any policy to create jobs and improve the lives of working women in rural areas,” stressed Goldberg.

Goldberg also emphasized that “rural” does not necessarily mean “agriculture.”  “A focus on development in such areas as food processing, transport, and tourism has the potential to empower more women into work,” she added.

BIAC Hosts Gender and Skills Seminar, Launches New Report

Business at OECD (BIAC) hosted a breakfast seminar on gender equality and skills as part of the OECD’s March on Gender Initiative on March 9 in Paris. The seminar was chaired by Ronnie Goldberg, USCIB senior counsel, and marked the official launch of the BIAC report “Preparing All our Minds for Work: Girls, women and learning over a lifetime” (2018), produced by BIAC and USCIB with support from Deloitte and Dell. This is the third in a series of BIAC reports that highlight business efforts towards the global advancement of women and girls in the economy.

The focus of the seminar was on corporate efforts to address unconscious bias impacting gender equality at work and featured a summary of the 2018 BIAC report and a presentation by Dell on their implementation of the MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) initiative. MARC aims to identify where unconscious bias exists and aims to promote a more collaborative and inclusive leadership style. As the first IT company to participate in MARC, Dell discussed their experience and impacts.

“Empowering women in the workplace has positive consequences for the lives and careers of both women and men —as well as for the companies that employ them,” said Goldberg. “There has been progress, but it is painfully slow. Initiatives such as MARC are making an important contribution to the cause of gender equality, which more and more companies are recognizing as a key bottom line issue.”

Gabriella Rigg Herzog who leads USCIB work on corporate responsibility and labor affairs added, “Empowering women to participate meaningfully in the global economy is good for families, communities, business and society. We applaud BIAC and the OECD for their leadership in bringing attention to practical tools and best practice examples to reduce gender discrimination and support women in the world of work.”


USCIB Member Appointed Chair of ICC Environment Commission

Justin Perrettson (Novozymes)

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) announced the appointment of USCIB member Justin Perrettson of Novozymes as the new chair of the Commission on Environment and Energy. Perrettson is head of global engagements at Novozymes, the world`s leading bio innovation company, where he leads a series of policy and stakeholder interactions that support its sustainability agenda.  He also has broad international policy experience from consulting, finance and not-for-profit sectors and has served as an active member of the Commission on Environment and Energy over the past seven years.

“We are excited that Justin has been appointed chair of the ICC Environment and Energy Commission,” said Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s work on environment, climate and SDGs. “He has taken USCIB’s work in environment, climate and SDGs to another level in international forums, and we know he’ll bring the same amount of energy, commitment and passion about sustainability to enhancing those synergies working with ICC.”

Perrettson has been instrumental in leading the business voice for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change and public-private partnerships, serving as vice chair of USCIB’s Environment Committee and leading USCIB work on sustainable development as member of its SDG Working Group.

Perrettson will be responsible for leading the Commission on Environment and Energy in a renewed strategic direction and will ensure that ICC is leading responsible business engagement that promotes sustainable, inclusive economic growth in line with the UN Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals.

Perrettson has said that he is “both delighted and honored to take on this new role within ICC and to work with the world’s largest business organization to drive the global sustainable business agenda forward.”

Perrettson will take over from Kersten Karl Barth, who has led the Commission on Environment and Energy’s work for the past five years.

ICC: New Leadership for World Business Organization

International Business HandshakeThe International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has announced the election of a new secretary general and new first vice chair at its March 12 meeting of the ICC World Council in Tokyo. CEO of the leading Australian law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth John W.H. Denton has been elected as the next secretary general of ICC.

Denton is a legal expert and adviser on global policy, international trade and investment and infrastructure. Denton, who was unanimously elected, will succeed outgoing ICC Secretary General John Danilovich. Denton previously served on ICC’s Executive Board and, in 2016, became the first Australian to hold the position of first vice chair of the Paris-based organization.

Commenting on his election, Denton added, “I’m deeply honored to have been elected as secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce. At a time when the dual threat of populism and protectionism still loom large, it’s more vital than ever for business to have a seat at the table in global policy-making. ICC has a unique role to play in ensuring the views and experience of the global private sector are taken into account in key global forums, from the United Nations to the G20. I look forward to working with ICC’s global network in over 100 countries to do just that.”

CEO of Unilever Paul Polman has also been unanimously elected as ICC’s new first vice-chair. Polman will succeed current ICC Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal on July 1, 2018, who in turn will take the position of honorary chair. Polman is a globally recognized business leader and a pioneer in the field of corporate sustainability having served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel responsible for formulating the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), launched in 2015, and was subsequently appointed as a UN SDG Advocate responsible for promoting the “Global Goals.”

Commenting on these appointments, USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson said, “USCIB has appreciated the opportunity to work with John Danilovich and Sunil Mittal in recent years and thank them for their service to ICC. We now very much look forward to working closely with John Denton and his team. And of course we welcome the addition of renowned business statesman Paul Polman to ICC’s chairmanship, which will surely elevate the world business organization’s stature on sustainable development and many other topics.”

For more information, please visit ICC’s website.

USCIB Pushes for Equitable, Stable Tax Systems and SDG Implementation at UN

Over 500 participants attended the First Global Conference of the Platform for Collaboration on Taxation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on February 14-16 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The conference was spearheaded by the OECD, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations’ office for Financing for Development (FfD). Participants included governments from over 110 countries as well as representatives across the UN system, multilateral development banks, business and other non-governmental organizations.

This meeting was the latest action pursuant to the FfD Addis Ababa outcomes calling for international cooperation on domestic resource mobilization, in relation to taxation and Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS).  As such, it aimed to advance global dialogue with relevant stakeholders on how to better design tax policy to achieve the SDGs.

Pascal Saint-Amans of the OECD Tax Policy and Administration Centre was actively involved, reminding the conference in several interventions that the Inclusive Framework on BEPS has been an open and inclusive process, in which dozens of developing country representatives have been involved.

Will Morris, chair of the Business at OECD/OECD Tax Committee stated that the combination of new tax programs, rules and reforms is moving toward enhanced international cooperation and better practice at the local level. He stated that business is rarely the source of obstacles in tax reform; more frequently, disagreements between governments are the source of blockages.

Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment at USAID Karl Fickenscher spoke about the importance of public-private partnership involving the private sector and tax authorities relating to development projects and other SDG areas.

The wide-ranging discussions in main sessions and side events focused on three areas: opportunities to improve international cooperation and advance capacity building on taxation, options to enhance international cooperation for domestic resource mobilization relevant to SDG implementation, and tax policy to motivate SDG-facing choices for environment, health, and energy.

The host organizations confirmed that the Platform will issue “Toolkits” in the coming months for “guidance” purposes.  USCIB expects enhanced coordination between the four organizations which have committed to speak with “one voice” when providing taxation advice to developing economies.

Interventions from developing country representatives highlighted continued concerns that they are excluded from global tax policymaking. In this context, USCIB anticipates further proposals to upgrade the UN’s Tax Committee to an intergovernmental body at the next major UN financing forum in April.

“Fighting perceptions of a ‘race to the bottom’ approach by business – the reality is that business seeks equitable and stable tax systems, and level of taxation is one consideration among many,” said Norine Kennedy, USCIB vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment, who attended the meetings. “Successful tax reform depends on trust and confidence of citizens, and on transparency.  Collaboration among governments, labor organizations and employers’ groups can advance that trust both in taxation and overall economic policy.”

USCIB will continue to monitor developments on these issues in the OECD, UN FfD process, and in further Platform activities through USCIB’s Tax Committee and SDG Working Group.

Private Sector Meets with Governments on Digital Security Risk

Addressing digital security across business fields, Business at OECD members participated in an OECD Workshop on Digital Security and Resilience in Critical Infrastructures and Essential Services earlier this month in Paris to contribute to the OECD‘s Going Digital Project.

The OECD Going Digital Project was officially launched in Berlin in 2017 and aims to examine how the digital transformation affects policy-making across a large spectrum of policy areas, including competition, consumer policy, digital economy policy (privacy, security, infrastructure, economic impact), science, technology and innovation, industry and entrepreneurship, insurance and private pensions, financial markets, fiscal affairs and taxation and much more. The project will draw on national experiences and policy experimentation occurring across the OECD’s 35 member countries, its accession countries, key partners and many other economies involved in the OECD’s work.

At the meeting earlier this month, which featured USCIB member Chris Boyer (AT&T), Business at OECD members emphasized the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach to cooperation and information exchange between actors – business, government, civil society and the technical community – to ensure effective and appropriate security and privacy protections.

“Importantly, workshop participants underscored the importance of using existing OECD consensus-based and multi-stakeholder developed security and privacy frameworks – the 2015 OECD Digital Risk Management for Economic and Society Prosperity and the 2013 OECD Privacy Framework,” said Barbara Wanner, USCIB Vice President for ICT Policy. “There is no need for OECD member nations – or non-member nations – who are looking to improve their approaches to security and privacy to ‘reinvent the wheel’ because these two products serve as solid building blocks,” Wanner said.

USCIB attends Business “Talanoa Dialogue” to Advance Climate Policy Implementation

Tomasz Chruszczow, Climate Champion, Poland makes remarks

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) convened a business workshop under the UNFCCC Talanoa Dialogue process last week. The day-long meeting at ICC Headquarters in Paris brought business leaders together with influential government representatives leading the UNFCCC negotiations to discuss where business can contribute and strengthen implementation of national and international climate policy.

The Talanoa Dialogue, previously referred to as the Facilitative Dialogue, aims to overview collaborative action by governments, business and others to move the global climate agenda. A year-long process of discussions, consultations, events and expert inputs that will culminate at the 24th Conference of Parties in Poland, the Talanoa Dialogue is the first time business and other stakeholder inputs are to be mainstreamed into the UNFCCC deliberations.  ICC serves as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Focal Point for business and industry, and has represented global business in the UN climate deliberations since 1993.

Tomasz Chruszczow,  climate champion, Poland, opened the meeting with a plea for business involvement, stating, “Business creates jobs, makes investment decisions. We need business to solve the challenges ahead in the transition towards a low-carbon economy.”  Phil Kucharski, ICC’s chief operating officer announced that ICC would make an organization-wide commitment to both the Paris Agreement and to inform the Talanoa Dialogue.

The Talanoa Dialogue is a process led by Fiji to invite and gather information, examples and discussion on 3 questions relating to the UNFCCC, Paris Agreement and the need for additional greenhouse gas reductions, resilience, funding and technology cooperation:

-Where are We?

-Where are We Going?

-How Do we Get There?

“While the Talanoa questions appear very basic, business will re-frame them to be relevant to private sector investment and implementation, and then bring forward value-added information and recommendations in response,” stated Norine Kennedy, who leads USCIB’s work on climate change, energy and the environment. Other USCIB members attending this workshop included Nick Campbell, Arkema and Justin Perrettson, Novozymes.

The discussion tackled concerns with assertions made by anti-business interests about “conflict of interest” as a justification to ban certain business sectors from observing the UNFCCC deliberations. Elina Bardram, head of Unit for International Climate Negotiations, European Commission stated that since the challenges involved in catalyzing climate action are daunting “for technical negotiators alone to tackle, so we need real world expertise – from business & other non-parties – included in the process.”

Other speakers included Deo Saran, Fiji’s ambassador to Belgium and permanent representative to the European Union and Brigitte Collet, France’s ambassador for Climate Change Negotiations, Renewable Energy & Climate Risk Prevention.

USCIB recently submitted recommendations to the UNFCCC on the importance of substantive business involvement in the UNFCCC going forward. USCIB will work closely with ICC in future Talanoa Dialogue meetings, and will consult its members as it prepares USCIB contributions to the Talanoa Dialogue scoping exercise en route to the next UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Katowice, Poland in December.

Official Report from USCIB Nutrition Event Now Published

Wilton Park USA, in partnership with the USCIB Foundation and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), has published a report as follow up to last October’s successful joint dialogue on “No More Missed Opportunities: Advancing Public-Private Partnerships to Achieve the Global Nutrition Goals.” The report summarizes the details of the meeting as well as the “Principles of Engagement,” which were developed during the meeting to provide a useful framework through which to approach future public-private partnership and a valuable reference point for developing effective solutions.

The report concludes that “effective partnerships and better nutrition outcomes can be facilitated through policy and legislative frameworks more conducive to collaboration. This could include better application of the clout of financiers, shareholders, and consumers on the business side and constituencies, NGOs, and civil servants on the government side.”

“Every country is now struggling with some aspect of malnutrition, and a growing number are experiencing both undernutrition and obesity,” said USCIB Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation Mike Michener, who leads USCIB’s policy work on nutrition, food and health. “The roundtable sought to support the accelerated achievement of internationally agreed global nutrition goals, and broader commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by convening a high-level group of leaders from government, business and other key stakeholders.”

This meeting aimed to tackle the problem of poor diet as the number one risk factor for early death, contributing to 20 percent of global deaths, with the burden falling disproportionately on children under five and women of reproductive age, a situation nutrition experts have described as a “missed opportunity” (Lancet, 2013). Each year, malnutrition is a factor in almost half of the six million deaths of children under five, and 159 million children are stunted, with impacts on their physical and cognitive abilities that last a lifetime. More than 500 million women are anemic, with an increased risk of maternal death and delivering premature and low-birth-weight babies. At the same time, 600 million adults are obese, and 420 million have diabetes, with rates rising steeply.

Fighting for American Business: USCIB in the News in 2017

Throughout 2017, USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson, alongside other USCIB leaders and staff, garnered important coverage from the news media on issues critical to USCIB members. Policy issues ranged from NAFTA and the need to enshrine investor protections to the need for reform at the United Nations.

USCIB members and committee leaders, particularly Jerry Cook of Hanesbrands and Tam Nguyen of Bechtel, also made headlines on issues such as customs and trade facilitation and the evolution of corporate sustainability standards, respectively.

“USCIB won important news coverage in a wide variety of areas,” said Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs. “Thanks to outstanding thought leadership from USCIB President Robinson, as well as committee leaders and our staff experts, we were able to consistently punch above our weight, holding our own in a crowded media environment.”

Read the full 2017 media review here. To request an interview with a USCIB expert, contact USCIB Communications.