Registration Open for USCIB’s Engaging Business Forum

USCIB, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will be sponsoring the 10th Engaging Business Forum, hosted by The Coca-Cola Company. The Forum will take place on September 13-14, in Atlanta, GA.

This year’s Forum will focus on collaboration through partnerships to address business and human rights trends and developments. Panels will discuss what works/doesn’t work in partnerships, access to remedy, human rights defenders, supply chains, among other topics. Speakers include Guy Ryder, Phil Bloomer, Anita Ramasastry, John Morrison and many more. In addition to hearing from our speakers, there will also be opportunities for networking and peer-to-peer learning roundtables. The full agenda can be found here.

If you would like to participate, please register here. Space is limited, so registration will be on a first-come first-serve basis. If you have any questions, please reach out to Elizabeth Kim (ekim@uscib.org).

World Youth Skills Day Focuses on Innovation, Emerging Technologies

On the margins of the High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations July 9-18, the International Labor Organization (ILO), in partnership with UNESCO, the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the UN Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka and Portugal, hosted an event on July 16 titled “World Youth Skills Day 2018: Sustainability and Innovation.”

The ILO estimates that in 2017, 70.9 million young people were unemployed, and in 2018, while the rate will remain stable, more young people will enter the work force. Currently, technological innovations are quickly transforming industries and skills demands, potentially creating a talent gap in the future. Therefore, it is imperative for education and skills development systems to equip youth with the right education and skills to face these changes, while supporting a sustainable future and the transition to a green economy. Given this, the event aimed to bring together member states, UN agencies, the private sector and civil society, among others, to discuss how to leverage innovation and emerging technologies to increase youth employment, and the implications for skills needs and development.

President of the UN General Assembly Ambassador Miroslav Lajčák, gave the keynote speech, and other high-level speakers included ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Jayathma Wickramanayake, as well as the Permanent Representatives to the UN from Sri Lanka and Portugal.

USCIB Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Labor Affairs Gabriella Rigg Herzog participated on the all-female interactive panel that followed the keynotes, and she underscored the key role of government education and labor market policies, as well as the contributions that companies and employer organizations can make to support skills acquisition, including digital, among youth.

“Close and regular dialogue between governments, business and civil society – and especially youth – is critical to our shared goal of closing the gap between the training being taught in schools and the skills needed for jobs of the future,” said Rigg Herzog. “While focusing on the technical and STEM skills is fundamental, we must not lose sight of critical soft skills like creativity and critical thinking, which are also keys to successful integration into the workplace. Companies and government education systems would also be wise to ensure effective inclusion of women and girls, given that they are 50% of the global workforce and  thus a human resource asset to be valued.”

SDG Countdown: Protect Ecosystems and Strengthen Means of Implementation

This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) on sustainable development will be held from July 9-18 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” focusing in part on Sustainable Development Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year.

As part of USCIB’s countdown to the UN HLPF, USCIB is highlighting some initiatives that its member companies are working on to transform toward sustainable and resilient societies, while subsequently meeting the SDG targets set by the UN. More examples of initiatives can be found on USCIB’s Business for 2030 website.

 

SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

One initiative to highlight is a project by Novozymes to support the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CDB) in terms of the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.  Novozymes has decided to acknowledge and support the principles of both the CBD and the Nagoya protocol and has internal procedures to ensure that it lives up to its commitments. Novozymes promotes fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promotes appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed. They are regularly assessing outcomes of CBD meetings with a view to undertake a broader strategic discussion on its management and reporting of biodiversity issues. By sharing the benefits of genetic resources, Novozymes is taking steps to achieve SDG 15 and to increase biological diversity.

SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year:

Another project to note is an initiative by Mars to ensure that everyone working with their extended supply chains should earn sufficient income to maintain a decent standard of living. This is done through Mars’ Farmer Income Lab, an open-source “think-do-tank” that will enable Mars and others to leverage their unique human, social and financial resources to identify and activate solutions needed to eradicate smallholder poverty in global supply chains. This year, the Lab’s focus is on identifying effective actions that buyers can take to enable smallholder farmers in global supply chains to meaningfully increase income. This will culminate in a ‘What Works’ publication, providing an overview of promising models, sourced from academic literature and stakeholder dialogues, that increase incomes and demonstrate what factors are most successful. Mars’ commitment to increasing incomes is part of their Sustainable in a Generation Plan, a $1-billion investment to accelerate sustainable growth by achieving SDG 17 through global partnerships.

 

Click here for more information on what USCIB has done so far during this year’s HLPF.

New ICC Secretary General Visits USCIB Offices

ICC Secretary General John Denton (left) with USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson

John Denton, the new secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce – the oldest and largest part of USCIB’s global business network – paid visits to our New York headquarters and Washington, D.C. office in late June and early July. He met with USCIB staff including President and CEO Peter Robinson and Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Rob Mulligan, along with a number of USCIB members. Discussion ranged from ICC pushing back against populist narratives on cross-border trade and investment to ICC institutional and management priorities.

Denton meets with USCIB members and staff in Washington, DC.

Denton, an Australian lawyer and diplomat who most recently headed the law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth, was elected in March to provide executive leadership to the world business organization. He is the first Australian to head the Paris-based ICC, and joins Paul Polman, CEO of Unileveler, who was elected to serve as ICC’s chairman.

Denton says he plans to visit the United States often during his tenure, capitalizing especially on ICC’s recent elevation to full UN Observer Status. In between his many duties and visits, including those to USCIB, Denton found time to pen a letter to the Financial Times providing a vigorous defense of the multilateral trading system and the WTO. He has also recently appeared on MSNBC and took part in the UN High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development in New York.

 

 

 

 

 

Michener Focuses on Health, Food and Agriculture

Over the past three weeks, a number of important meetings took place in a wide variety of multilateral organizations, on topics ranging from nutrition policy to genome editing. Mike Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation, leads USCIB work in health care, food and agriculture and represented the private sector’s view and interests in each of the following events:

  • On June 19-20, the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN) hosted an Experts Group Meeting (EGM) on Nutrition and the SDGs in preparation for the 2018 High Level Political Forum. Michener presented several case studies of private sector partnerships and efforts on the relationship of nutrition to SDGs 6 (water), 7 (energy), 11 (cities), 12 (sustainable consumption), and 15 (biodiversity). Michener also participated in a panel discussion on implications for investments, policies and programming where he addressed the issue of private sector conflict of interest and provided balance to the EGM’s recommendations to the HLPF.
  • On June 19, the International Food and Beverage Alliance hosted a dinner and dialogue at the Harvard Club in New York on the topic of the contribution of the private sector to the global effort to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases. Representatives from Italy and Uruguay, who serve as the co-facilitators for the Third High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, shared a progress update with participants.
  • On June 25, the OECD hosted a G20 Workshop on Obesity with the theme of “Making Healthy Choices the Easy Choices”, which included panel discussions on consumer choice, food product improvement, and G20-wide actions to address the issue of obesity. USCIB Food and Agriculture Committee Co-Chair Diego Ruiz addressed PepsiCo’s engagement in constructive dialogue with governments and international organizations.
  • On June 26, Michener attended the Business at OECD Health Committee meeting, and contributed to discussions on proactive steps to address OECD initiatives on obesity, NCDs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and public health economics. Planning is underway for the Business at OECD 3rd Annual Forum on Health.
  • On June 28-29, OECD hosted a Conference on Genome Editing focusing on applications in agriculture and implications for health, the environment, and regulation. Leading scientists from governments, industry, and academia presented global developments in genome editing in agriculture in crop plants to improve culture and quality traits or enhance disease resistance, and in farm animals (chickens and cattle) and aquatic systems.
  • On July 5, the President of the UN General Assembly hosted a Civil Society Hearing in preparation for the High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (HLM-NCDs). Michener observed a number of panel discussions on actions to prevent and control NCDs, financing, promotion of multi-sectoral partnerships, and political leadership and accountability.

“As an increasing number of multilateral organizations take an anti-business stance when it comes to the private sector role in intergovernmental negotiations, USCIB will continue to engage and advocate for the inclusion of business and industry in these crucial discussions,” said Michener. “Business and industry is the engine of innovation that will address issues like food and nutrition security and NCDs, so it is critically important to have business at the table to help identify and promote global solutions in order to fully achieve the SDGs by 2030. We appreciate the robust participation of our members in these important multilateral events.”

SDGs Countdown: Sustainable Cities, Consumption and Production

This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development is being held July 9-18 under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies,” focusing in part on Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, and Sustainable Development Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

As part of USCIB’s countdown to the HLPF, we are highlighting some initiatives our member companies are working on to transform toward sustainable and resilient societies, while subsequently meeting the SDG targets set by the UN. More examples of initiatives can be found on USCIB’s Business for 2030 website.

SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable

A notable project is one initiative by Novozymes to manage and treat solid waste and wastewater for cities. In a partnership with DONG Energy in the UK, Novozymes is incorporating special enzymes into a waste management plant in England. This will ensure that most of the waste from 110,000 UK homes is recycled into biogas, plastic, metal, and fuel. Most importantly, the biogas can be converted into green power and used to generate 5MW of electricity to power 9,500 households. The project will help aid cities to be more productive with their waste management, to be more sustainable overall, and to help achieve SDG 11.

SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Cargill is working with several partners to achieve SDG 12 to eliminate food loss and ensure global food security. Cargill addresses hunger, food waste, food security, and other issues in 18 countries by working with national food banks. They also participate in Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH) initiative, led by EAT and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which brings together business and science to help accelerate progress across the value chain for global food systems. Furthermore, Cargill is working with World Resources Institute to create and deploy an accounting system toolkit to reduce food loss and waste by setting reduction targets, creating measurement and reporting processes, and creating internal and external awareness.

Next week, we will highlight company initiatives on Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss; and Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

New Co-Chairs for USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Working Group

Washington, D.C., July 10, 2018 – The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which represents America’s most innovative and successful global companies, announced that two leading corporate experts on global food and nutrition policy have been recruited to chair its Food and Agriculture Working Group.

Sylvia Aguilera, director of international public affairs for McDonald’s Corporation, and Diego T. Ruiz, vice president for global public policy and government affairs with PepsiCo, will provide volunteer leadership for the working group, which is made up of corporate and other private-sector executives from USCIB’s broad-based membership.

USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Working Group seeks to promote an open and efficient global food system. It does so by providing industry expertise to government officials working to eliminate existing barriers to agricultural trade and investment, and by fostering coordination among organizations working to ensure a safe food supply, meaningful food security and enhanced environmental sustainability.

“We are delighted to have both Diego and Sylvia leading our work on food and agricultural policy at this critical juncture,” said Michael Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation, who provides lead staff support for the working group. “We are in the midst of important shifts in technology, consumer tastes and global trade patterns in food and agriculture. USCIB’s role in this area is growing, as international agencies play an increasing role in establishing rules and best practices for food production and distribution.”

Prior to joining McDonald’s, Aguilera led a technology policy organization dedicated to increasing access to technology by underserved communities. She has also held executive-level positions at various organizations including the multicultural public relations firm Comunicad, where she provided counsel to Fortune 500 companies.

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Ruiz was executive director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, serving as chief operating officer of the principal law enforcement and regulatory agency for the U.S. securities markets. He previously held senior positions with the Federal Communications Commission and at Univision Communications Inc., and as a senior advisor in the U.S. House of Representatives.

USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Working Group will hold its first meeting under Ruiz and Aguilera’s leadership on July 19 in Washington, D.C.

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
+1 212.703.5043, jhuneke@uscib.org

UN High-Level Political Forum Countdown: Ensure Water, Sanitation and Energy for All

This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) on sustainable development will be held from July 9-18 in New York under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” focusing in part on Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

As part of USCIB’s countdown to the UN HLPF, USCIB is highlighting select initiatives by its member companies. In particular, USCIB is selecting some company initiatives that are working to transform toward sustainable and resilient societies, while subsequently meeting the SDG targets set by the UN. A more comprehensive list of examples can be found on USCIB’s Business for 2030 website.

SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

One impactful project to note is an initiative by Monsanto that led to the development of a well for clean drinking water in Malawi. A team from Monsanto Malawi discovered that students at Kaphulika Primary School near Lilongwe had a commute of two miles to the closest water source, and therefore limiting drinking water and hygiene water at the school. The team subsequently constructed a water pump on school grounds to provide clean and reliable drinking water for over 950 children and the village of 3,000 people. The children were also gifted with reusable water bottles to take water home every day after school. The development of the well is another step forward for Monsanto to help achieve SDG 6 for Malawi and the world.

SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

In order to achieve SDG 7 to ensure renewable energy around the world, Mars has added solar panels to factories in California and aims to create renewable infrastructure in the U.S. and the UK. By the end of 2018, Mars will be using or purchasing renewable electricity to cover 100% of its operations in 11 countries. The use of renewable energy will help Mars reach its goal in reducing GHG emissions 100% by 2040 from direct operations and will help drive action for global climate change.

Tune in for next week when we will highlight company initiatives on Goal 11: make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, and Goal 12: ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

USCIB SDG Series: Countdown to UN’s High-Level Political Forum

This year’s United Nations High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development will be held from July 9-18 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme for the forum will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies” focusing on the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development (included every year)

USCIB is deeply engaged in all aspects of the 2030 Development Agenda, advocating for good governance and the rule of law, economic growth, investment in infrastructure, enabling environments to foster innovation, strong public-private partnerships and above all, an open channel for business input into policy negotiations and implementation.

USCIB believes that good governance and rule of law, infrastructure, enabling environments and private-public partnerships are the building blocks of success in achieving prosperity and eradicating poverty. While much work remains, USCIB members are already doing their part to ensure the realization of these goals. Leading up to the HLPF, we will feature these goals in this publication. Additionally, we refer you to USCIB’s Business for 2030 website which showcases the private sector’s contributions to the SDG’s. Stay tuned!

Unilever Chief Paul Polman Named Chair of ICC

Paul Polman
Photo credit: ICC

Paul Polman, CEO of consumer goods company Unilever, has been elected chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at the ICC World Council in Paris today, June 21, 2018.

Having led Unilever since 2009, Polman is a leading advocate for the role of business in driving progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under his leadership, Unilever set an ambitious vision to fully decouple business growth from its overall environmental footprint and increase the company’s positive social impact through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Polman’s commitment to securing long-term sustainable growth and development is also reflected in his membership of the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council, and his role as Chair of the B Team and Vice-Chair of the UN Global Compact.

“I am very pleased to join the ICC leadership at a pivotal moment for the organisation and the international community,” said Polman. “It is more vital than ever for business to take a leading role in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and responding to the many global challenges we collectively face. As the voice of the private sector on the world stage, ICC is uniquely poised to mobilize business towards long-term gains that are both socially and economically productive.”

Earlier this year, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded Polman an honorary knighthood (KBE) in recognition for his services to business and received the Treaties of Nijmegen Medal, for his contribution to building a more sustainable world. He is also a recipient of France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, recognizing his work in support of the landmark UN Climate Change (COP21) agreement in Paris.

“Throughout his business career, Paul Polman has consistently set himself apart as champion of sustainable development and inclusive growth,” said ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton. “I am very pleased to have him on board as ICC approaches its 100-year anniversary and have no doubt that his leadership will help us achieve the ambitious new course we have set.”

Polman succeeds Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, who assumes the role of honorary chair having chaired the ICC Executive Board since June 2016. ICC has accomplished several landmark achievements under Mittal’s leadership. In April 2017, Mittal met with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and as chair of the first private-sector organisation accorded permanent Observer Status at the UN General Assembly, Mittal attended a Heads of State lunch meeting attended by U.S. President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Brazilian President Michel Temer as well as other global leaders. Mittal also joined global business leaders to call for international cooperation to shape an interconnected world ahead of the Hamburg G20 Summit in 2017, underscoring how common rules and strong institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) are vital to ensuring that globalization benefits everyone, everywhere. Mittal highlighted the potential of e-commerce to revolutionize global trade flows and has recently responded to rising trade tensions, to urge the U.S. and all its trading partners to find new ways to resolve tensions through multilateral dialogue — and without recourse to further tariff increases.

“We are delighted that Paul Polman was elected Chair of ICC and while in Paris last week, I had the opportunity to congratulate him in person,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson.  “Paul’s leadership in and commitment to the UN Development Agenda have been vital in allowing business to play a more active role in crucial multistakeholder dialogues, as well as in contributing to the SDGs. This is an exciting time for USCIB/ICC-USA since the ICC World Council also confirmed Ajay Banga, President and CEO of Mastercard as ICC First Vice-Chair. Mastercard plays an active role within USCIB, and we presented Ajay with USCIB’s International Leadership Award last fall. Finally, we are grateful to Sunil Mittal for his recent service as ICC Chair in advocating on behalf of business and we wish him well as Honorary Chair and in his future endeavors.”

The ICC World Council also confirmed the following leadership positions today:

  • Alexis Mourre was elected to a second term as President of the ICC International Court of Arbitration
  • Yassin Al Suroor, Chairman of A’amal Group, was named ICC Vice-Chair
  • Ajay Banga, President and CEO of Mastercard, was named ICC First Vice-Chair

Banga was the 2017 honoree of USCIB’s International Leadership Award.

Four new Executive Board members were also elected:

  • Monica de Grieff, President, Bogota Chamber of Commerce (Colombia)
  • Giampiero Massolo, Chairman, Fincantieri S.p.A. (Italy)
  • Xu Niansha, Chairman, China Poly Group Corporation (China)
  • Zabihullah Ziarmal, CEO, Cefe Group International (Afghanistan)