8th UN Annual Forum on Business & Human Rights

8th UN Annual Forum on Business & Human Rights

November 25-27, 2019

Geneva, Switzerland

This years UN Annual forum on Business and Human Rights will have the theme of: “Time to act: Governments as catalysts for business respect for human rights.”

The UN annual Forum on Business and Human Rights is the global platform for stock-taking and lesson-sharing on efforts to move the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights from paper to practice. As the world’s foremost gathering in this area, it provides a unique space for dialogue between governments, business, civil society, affected groups and international organizations on trends, challenges and good practices in preventing and addressing business-related human rights impacts. The first Forum was held in 2012. It attracts more than 2,000 experts, practitioners and leaders for three days of an action- and solution-oriented dialogue.

The Forum was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011  “to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights, including challenges faced in particular sectors, operational environments or in relation to specific rights or groups, as well as identifying good practices” (resolution 17/4, paragraph 12).

The Forum addresses all three pillars of the Guiding Principles:

  • The State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation and adjudication;
  • The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address adverse impacts with which a business is involved; and
  • The need for access to effective remedy for rights-holders when abuse has occurred, through both judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms.

The Forum is guided and chaired by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and organized by its Secretariat at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Contact Daniella Goncalves for more information: dgoncalves@uscib.org.

BSR Conference 2019

BSR Conference 2019

November 12 – 14, 2019

San Jose, California

The annual BSR Conference is one of the longest-running and most well-regarded sustainability conferences, providing a space for thought-provoking conversations to identify solutions to the most complex global challenges. The Conference convenes more than 800 participants from around the world, including senior executives from Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, foundations, nonprofit organizations, and governments.

For more information contact Mia Lauter (mlauter@uscib.org).

United Nations High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development

United Nations High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development

September 26, 2019

New York, NY

The UN General Assembly will hold a high-level dialogue on financing for development (FfD) on September 26, 2019, the day after the meeting of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under UNGA auspices. T

his date has been updated from September 23, per a letter circulated by the UNGA President on November 27, 2018.

The FfD meeting is mandated in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (para 132), which calls for it to convene back-to-back with the HLPF’s UNGA-level meeting every four years.

This meeting will also take place at the beginning of the UNGA session.

11th Annual Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights

Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights

September 12-13, 2019

Atlanta, Georgia

Hosted by The Coca-Cola Company

This year’s 11th annual Engaging Business Forum on Business and Human Rights will be held on September 12-13 in Atlanta at Coca-Cola’s headquarters. This event is organized by USCIB, the International Organization of Employers, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

There is no fee to attend the forum; however, all participants must register here. Space will be limited, and registration is first-come, first-serve.

If you would like more information on this event please visit www.engagingbusiness.org or contact Daniella Goncalves (dgoncalves@uscib.org)

Preparing for the Future of Work: A USCIB Foundation Dialogue

             

The future of work is already here. As policy makers continue their efforts to define the future of work and its impacts, business leaders are rolling up their sleeves to prepare their organizations for a future that is increasingly hard to predict. What is clear is that as the key player for creating jobs and skills, employers are putting in place policies to encourage retraining and life-long learning to respond to technological advances, demographic shifts and globalization.

Join us for an important conversation with your peers on initiatives underway, what works and what doesn’t and come away with clear and practical steps your company could be taking to address the challenges facing you today – and to prepare for the future.

Key topics include:

  • Defining the Future of Work and implications for business
  • Case Studies: What are companies doing right now?
  • Measuring progress: What do stakeholders expect, what does business need, and what does “good” look like?
  • How to effectively communicate about your efforts on the Future of Work

Participants will gain practical insights and resources for companies to bring back to their own organizations, supplemented by a report of the workshop and detailed case studies.

The 1-day dialogue is hosted and facilitated by the Wilton Park USA Foundation at the beautiful Evermay Estate in Georgetown.  There is no charge to attend but space is limited. To register click here, and if you have any questions please contact Kendall Thibeadeau.

New Business Partnership for Sustainable Development Launched

USCIB Vice President Michael Michener (left) and BPSD Executive Director Scott Ratzan at the New York launch event

New York, N.Y., July 17, 2019 – The USCIB Foundation, Inc., an educational and research foundation affiliated with the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), today announced the launch of Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD).

BPSD will create new international public-private partnerships in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will provide a framework for government, business and civil society to share information, resources, activities and capabilities, and work in collaboration to achieve objectives achieve things together that the sectors cannot achieve independently. BPSD will facilitate partnerships, identify creative solutions, leverage proven strategies, measure progress and report results.

All BPSD initiatives will be based on four pillars of partnership:

  • Inclusion: Bringing together all stakeholders to establish accountability, shared risk and mutually beneficial objectives.
  • Innovation: Fostering forward thinking, collaborative solutions and imaginative partnership strategies for implementation.
  • Influence: Leveraging thought leadership and digital resources to promote the role, explain the benefits and achieve the impact of multisector engagement on achieving the SDGs.
  • Impact: Adapting or developing credible techniques for measuring, monitoring and evaluating the impact of public private partnerships.

“We want BPSD to be an important step forward in facilitating successful and impactful public private partnerships to achieve the SDGs,” According to Michael Michener, USCIB’s vice president for product policy and innovation.

Dr. Scott Ratzan will serve as executive director of BPSD. Ratzan will serve in a part-time leadership role developing the strategic priorities for the center, directing its initial activities and advancing the visibility of the BPSD within multilateral organizations and the U.S. government.

“Scott Ratzan brings extensive experience and keen insight for setting the future direction of BPSD to achieve the SDGs,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “I am honored to join in a leadership capacity to advance this important mission,” said Ratzan. BPSD will be a leader and an innovator in advancing successful and impactful public private partnerships to achieve the SDGs.”

Ratzan recently served as senior fellow at Mossavar Rahmani Center for Business & Government, Harvard Kennedy School. He has multi-sector program experience with AB InBev, Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and a number of leading academic institutions.

At Harvard, Ratzan led a team where he developed Guiding Principles for Multisector Engagement for Sustainable Health, building upon experience from a number of partnerships he pioneered including Together for Safer Roads, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action, Global Smokefree Worksite Challenge. and the Global Smart Drinking Goals. Ratzan also served as CoChair of the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child Innovation Working Group, as Vice Chair of the Business Industry Advisory Council’s Health Committee to the OECD and also on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Health & Well-being.

About The USCIB Foundation, Inc.: Since 1980, The USCIB Foundation has been dedicated to a single mission: advancing the benefits of a free market economy and promoting the essential role of the private sector in stimulating economic growth and progress in social development. Today, the Foundation pursues that mission through a portfolio of initiatives that strives to inform future choices made by stakeholders and policy makers that benefit people around the world.

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. As the U.S. affiliate of several leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment.

USCIB Partners With Deloitte, IOE to Launch Report on Scaling Investment for Sustainable Development

Patricia Buckley of Deloitte explained the report’s findings.

While global leaders meet in New York this week for the annual United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), USCIB partnered with Deloitte and the International Organization of Employers to launch a new study that shows the critical role the private sector will play in meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8, which calls for promoting “sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”  According to some experts, the success of the entire SDG agenda depends to a large extent on achieving SDG 8.

The event was attended by corporate leaders from Fortune 500 companies, small business company executives, top UN officials, the heads of USCIB and IOE to map out the path to increase private sector investment in SDG 8 targets.The report Reaching SDG8: Challenges, Opportunities and Risks provides detailed data analysis on current progress towards meeting the targets of this goal.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson launched the discussions. “There is an urgent need to develop new and inclusive partnership models that engage business and other non-state actors as equal partners with government,” said Robinson. “This model will embrace innovation, mobilize resources and expertise, and create shared accountability and value.”

According to the report, “the findings are discouraging, as the rate of global progress has, so far, not kept pace with the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda. Very little success has been achieved on […] increasing employment opportunities, especially for the young workforce; reducing informal employment, labor market inequality, and gender discrimination; improving resource efficiency in consumption; promoting safe and secure working environments; and improving access to financial services.”

IOE President Erol Kiresepi, who attended the launch event, also provided his insight in a recent blog post, in which he warns that the global community has just over a decade to ratchet up action or run the risk of failing to achieve this ambitious development agenda with devastating consequences. “To bridge the gap between the aspirational and actions on the ground, employer and business member organisations can play a pivotal role,” writes Kiresepi. “Employer organizations worldwide have long and deep experience in translating development agendas into corporate strategies and frameworks.”

In discussing the results of the report, Patricia Buckley, managing director for economics at Deloitte U.S., highlighted “how little progress has been made on most of SDG 8 targets – targets which called for a variety of improvement ranging from increasing skills and reducing informal employment to improving resource efficiency and expanding access to financial services for all.”

USCIB Helps Celebrate ILO Centennial, Business Role in Sustainable Development

Ringing the closing bell at Nasdaq. L-R: Mamadou Diallo, deputy secretary general, International Trade Union Confederation; Moussa Oumarou, deputy director general, ILO; USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson, IOE VP for North America. USCIB Vice President Gabriella Herzog is immediately to the right of Robinson.

As leaders assembled in New York for the United Nations’ annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, USCIB and its global network were on the scene, making the case for inclusive multilateralism and celebrating the hundredth anniversary of a key pillar of global cooperation, the International Labor Organization.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson helped ILO ring the closing bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange on July 11, joined by officials from the ILO, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

“It was an honor to help celebrate the ILO’s centennial in such auspicious surroundings, and in a tripartite way,” said Robinson, who serves as the IOE’s regional vice president for North America. “Here’s to another hundred years of growth, opportunity and success for workers, employers and the societies they continue to help build.”

USCIB’s Peter Robinson speaks at the UN High-Level Political Forum.

Robinson also took part in the first week of UN meetings around the HLPF, with many more planned for this week as well. He appeared alongside IOE Deputy Secretary General Matthias Thorns at a panel discussion on “Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality.”

Robinson focused his remarks at the UN to emphasize three key elements that will provide an enabling environment allowing business to contribute the most:

  1. Improved governance and rule of law:“Some of the areas of the world in most need of business infusion are ones with big enough governance gaps that business has little incentive to invest; and trying to get business to shoulder the responsibilities that are primarily governmental in nature will be a further disincentive.”
  2. “Inclusive Multilateralism”:“Intergovernmental organizations must ensure that all voices are heard, and in particular must ensure that all business sectors have a seat at the table and prevent the arbitrary exclusion of interests—everyone has a role to play in solving societal challenges, and some of those sectors that many of you in the room might be most critical of, are in fact developing new and innovative approaches to furthering SDGs such as those related to health and climate”
  3. Governments need to facilitate public/private partnerships:“Since many institutions are not yet adequately structured or resourced to support the needed scale of working toward the SDGs, there is an urgent need to develop new and inclusive partnership models that engage business and other non-state actors as equal partners with government. This model will embrace innovation, mobilize resources and expertise, and create shared accountability and value.”

 

Robinson Speaks at ILO Conference, ICC-UK

USCIB’s Peter Robinson (far left) speaks at the annual meeting of ICC United Kingdom, chaired by ICC-UK Chairman Sir Michael Rake (center).

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson took part in high-level panel discussions at the recent International Labor Conference, the ILO’s annual high-level gathering, as well as the annual general meeting of ICC-UK, the International Chamber of Commerce‘s chapter in the United Kingdom. At both events, he discussed new challenges of multilateralism in an era when some observers have called the multilateral model’s viability into question.

At the ILO, Robinson took part in a discussion of multilateral institutions and the future of work, alongside ILO Director General Guy Ryder, WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos and Sharan Burrow, secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation, among others. He said that, from the perspective of employers, it is clear that businesses do well in stable and prosperous societies where inequality is not as rampant.

“The real question is whether governments, who are the ones to tackle inequality, are able to create the right kind of legal and regulatory frameworks to do so,” Robinson observed. “Global institutions need to continue to help governments by providing appropriate research and statistics and policy prescriptions – the OECD and ILO play important roles in those areas.”

The USCIB president called for an “inclusive multilateralism,” where all stakeholders are present and a climate of trust prevails. “Business wants to be part of the solution,” he said. “But we need to feel like we are listened to, and that we have a seat at the table. Just as we need more inclusive forms of economic growth, so we also need a more inclusive model of multilateralism, one that draws on the best ideas from broadly representative groups in civil society, including business and employers’ organizations.”

At the ICC-UK meeting, Robinson joined a panel on the future of the WTO and the multilateral trading system. He recalled recent USCIB papers on WTO modernization as well as the ongoing e-commerce negotiationsUSCIB’s vision for the WTO, he said, “focuses not only on strengthening existing agreements, but also on addressing subsidies and other market-distorting support provided to state-owned enterprises, the establishment of new rules for current issues such as digital trade and customs processes on electronic transmissions, and ensuring a properly functioning appellate body, among other issues. The U.S. has been a major beneficiary of the WTO’s dispute settlement system, bringing and winning more cases than any other WTO member.”

Robinson was also a guest at ICC-UK’s board meeting (as was Crispin Conroy, ICC’s new Geneva representative), where he provided an overview of USCIB/ICC-USA priorities.