COP26: US Business States Support for Inclusive Action on Outcomes

The United States Council for International Business commends the strong efforts of the U.S. delegation, the UK Presidency and other governments and stakeholders that were at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow to reach conclusion in key areas for business, overcoming challenging differences of opinion and delivering stepped-up international cooperation on climate change. Real progress has been made across the board, including strengthening Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), prioritizing adaptation, and completing outstanding work on carbon markets. In addition, the U.S. announced significant new global alliances to reduce methane emissions and to combat deforestation.

However, these hard-fought COP26 outcomes demonstrate the need for a new, more ambitious and inclusive phase of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process after Glasgow.  Keeping 1.5 in reach, mobilizing investment, innovation and finance and driving a just transition for workers and employers can only succeed through partnership and dialogue with key stakeholders, notably the private sector as an engine of growth and investment.

Turning out in record numbers in Glasgow, U.S. business demonstrated its readiness to be part of the solution, through pledges, initiatives and engagement with the Administration, the UNFCCC Marrakesh Action Platform and a host of others.  While the concluding documents of COP26 made disappointingly scant mention of the private sector, USCIB is convinced the meaningful inclusion of business is indispensable to keep 1.5 alive and to ramp up private sector deployment of innovation, resource mobilization and just transition.

USCIB looks forward to further technical work on Article 6.  We urge UNFCCC parties to commit to continued discussions, while engaging the private sector in order to build confidence in how the Article 6 rules will function effectively in the real economy.

USCIB is proud of the actions and thought leadership of its international affiliate organizations, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), bringing the voice of global business and employers to this vital meeting. An inclusive multilateral approach will have to invite and crowd in engagement from all businesses large and small to assist on practical policy design, accelerated action and the economywide effort needed to attain global net zero as soon as possible.

USCIB members are committed to stay the course and make the case for the enabling frameworks inside and outside UNFCCC that converge a sustainable resilient recovery with Paris Agreement commitments.  U.S. business represented by USCIB will continue to play its part to inform increasingly ambitious NDCs and to highlight the need to engage business expertise in the Global Stocktake.  As declared in the closing statement for business groups at COP26, USCIB agrees that business has “a key role and responsibility to push for effective collective action at COP and at home. We can, we must, and we will accelerate our collective efforts.”

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. USCIB has represented U.S. business at the UNFCCC since 1993. Furthermore, as the U.S. affiliate of leading international business organizations and as the sole U.S. business group with standing in ECOSOC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.

 

UN Climate Agreement in the Balance: Role of Business in Innovation and Investment

Virtual BizMEF Dialogue at COP-26

As the second week of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) was underway in Glasgow, USCIB and its members continued to make the case for outcomes at a critical turning point to enable business investment, energy security and ambitious and cost-effective climate action.

According to USCIB Senior Vice President Norine Kennedy, who is on the ground in Glasgow to lead the USCIB delegation, governments are now negotiating the final crunch issues that include: carbon instruments and markets and completing the Paris Rulebook; increasing finance for developing countries, particularly for adaptation, as well as loss and damage; and transparency and credibility of pledge implementation.

“The UK government serves as the President of the COP26 meeting, and is now leading negotiations to reach conclusions on these and other remaining political matters, with involvement of ministers to break any logjams,” said Kennedy.

Last Friday, November 5, USCIB joined the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) in convening a virtual Business Dialogue at COP26, which included White House, government, the UN, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and business participants. The meeting included thematic sessions on transparency and the global stock-take, involving business for ambition, as well as trade, transition and recovery.

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson opened the BizMEF meeting, stating that the UN climate process should evolve to a more practical and inclusive multilateralism in which business is directly and substantively involved.

BizMEF virtual dialogue participants also heard presentations on the business implications and WTO viability of border carbon adjustments proposals, and the ways in which business can contribute to reviews of the effectiveness of overall government implementation of climate pledges – a process that sets the stage for new targets under the Paris Agreement.

Building on the momentum of the BizMEF event, USCIB then held a virtual side event the following Monday, November 8, titled “Mobilize: Infrastructure, Innovation and Investment for a Sustainable Recovery,” which was part of the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) virtual COP26 Conference, “Making Climate Action Everyone’s Business.”  Presenters included:

  • Elizabeth Losos, Duke University Nicholas School of Environment
  • Scott Jacobs, CEO Generate Capital and
  • Kristen Siemens, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Motors

Kennedy led the roundtable discussion on how to create enabling frameworks for “shovel worthy” projects with due attention to responsible business behavior, multi-sectoral climate considerations and capacity building.

According to Kennedy, in spite of COVID restrictions, COP26 has become the largest climate meeting in UN history, beginning with a three-day World Leaders Summit, where President Joe Biden and over a dozen Administration Cabinet members were in attendance, alongside other heads of state and CEOs.

CEOs of USCIB and Novozymes Share Spotlight at COP26 Side-Event at US Center

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson joined Novozymes CEO Ester Baiget at a U.S. National Pavilion, known as the U.S. Center, at a side-event on “Tech for Net-Zero,” during the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) on November 2 in Glasgow, Scotland. Baiget serves as USCIB Trustee and USCIB Sustainability Champion.

The event was co-organized by USCIB and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE). U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment, and Science Monica Medina joined Robinson to open the event.  BCSE President Lisa Jacobson moderated a panel of private sector experts including Baiget, Patrick Flynn of Salesforce Amy Hadden of Schneider Electric, and Andrew Zoly of Planet Inc.

“We see COP26 as the opportunity to launch a new chapter in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, a transformative next step in the journey of international cooperation to global net zero,” said Robinson in his opening remarks. “American companies are committed to continuing to deploy innovation, investment and nature-based solutions towards a sustainable resilient recovery – and USCIB is leaning in on this, reflecting over twenty-five years of representing U.S. business in the UNFCCC.”

Medina opened her remarks with an emphasis on the role of the private sector. “Companies and investors and entrepreneurs around the world have a crucial role to play in bringing about the climate solutions that we need today and tomorrow,” said Medina. “It’s amazing that tech companies and the private sector are making such big commitments here in Glasgow. Technology and innovation are the way we elevate ambition, and that ambition is the thread that binds this conference together.

“Yes, we need solutions, and that’s where Novozymes comes in,” said Baiget. “At Novozymes, we use science to provide answers that respond to society’s most pressing needs. We bring, through nature and through a lot of science and technology, the alternatives and the solutions that lead to CO2 emissions reduction, lower waste, lower chemical use, lower energy intensity, and healthier products for our customers.”

The full video from the event is here: U.S. Center COP26 – Tech for Net-Zero – YouTube.

USCIB Delegation Arrives at Annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26)

USCIB member companies and business groups are in Glasgow, Scotland for the next two weeks (October 31- November 12), bringing their commitment, solutions and advice for a successful United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26).

In its statement to COP26, USCIB called for a transformative next step in the journey of international cooperation to global net zero and shared prosperity in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ester Baiget
Novozymes President & CEO Ester Baiget

USCIB Trustee and Sustainability Champion Ester Baiget, President and CEO of Novozymes, will join USCIB Senior Vice President Norine Kennedy and other USCIB members at this pivotal international meeting to define coherent and effective policy and market frameworks for an inclusive and sustainable recovery in line with the Paris Agreement.

According to Kennedy, only by working closely with all business sectors on innovation, investment and implementation can the international community deliver the imperatives of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Justin Perrettson

Justin Perrettson, Novozymes, co-chair of the USCIB Environment Committee as well as chair of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Environment and Energy Commission delivered a statement at the COP26 Opening session on behalf of Business and Industry groups attending COP26.

 

 

 

 

USCIB at the UN General Assembly (UNGA76)

As another challenging United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) got underway with a “hybrid” High-Level opening week, COVID-19 and challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, energy access, food security and lack of adequate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) loomed large. USCIB convened several events to highlight the essential role of business in inclusive multilateralism and, for the first time, USCIB Board Members and Trustees stepped into the spotlight and clearly state USCIB commitment from the top to deliver private sector expertise and innovation to international challenges.

UNGA76 set the stage for critical decision-point policy meetings in the next six-months: the OECD Council of Ministers, the Glasgow Climate Summit and the WTO Ministerial to name a few. These events brought together members, representatives of the UN system, governments and civil society to share ideas for productive ways to advance a sustainable and resilient recovery through collaborative public-private partnerships and strengthened enabling frameworks.

Below are events USCIB hosted with its global partners and members, indicative of continuous involvement of USCIB policy managers, senior leaders, and members at the UN in New York and in other important events on the margins of the GA, including the ICC SDG Business Forum, the Business Fights Poverty Global Goals Summit and several webinars organized by the International Organization of Employers (IOE).

USCIB Business Townhall at UN General Assembly Reaffirms Business’ Commitment to Tackling and Solving Global Challenges

September 20: On the margins of this week’s 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), USCIB partnered with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC) to organize a virtual discussion titled “Reinvigorating Inclusive Multilateralism: A Business Townhall at UNGA76.”  This meeting was among the first organized by business to comment on the just issued UN Secretary General’s Report and vision for international cooperation, “Our Common Agenda.”

The meeting was dedicated to the memory of John Ruggie, former UN Special Envoy for Business and Human Rights, who recently passed away.

Participants from business and industry, the UN, governments, and civil society tuned into the session, which highlighted the critical role of the private sector in being able to achieve ‘Our Common Agenda,’ and particularly of the U.S. private sector in aligning with global business to respond to global challenges, and provide solutions working through inclusive multilateralism.

Read Full story here.

 

USCIB Hosts A Conversation About the Future of Food

September 21: On the eve of the UN Food Systems and Nutrition Summit, USCIB convened a virtual event—The Future of Food: A Conversation— with experts and practitioners from across societal, scientific, value chain and innovation perspectives. The event highlighted the need for and successful examples of innovation across the food and agriculture industry, the roles and relevance of collaborative approaches to innovation, and how shared value and understanding can hold the key to future opportunities. Facilitated by USCIB SVP for Innovation, Regulation, and Trade Brian Lowry, the event was convened around the premise that in order to feed a growing population within planetary boundaries—considering amount of global climate emissions linked to agriculture and food—leaders must rethink how food, and especially protein, is made and sourced. Transforming the food system is not a solitary task; industry must come together and find new ways to collaborate and partner, and new alternatives must be created in a complementary manner.

Expert speakers included USCIB member Dr. Randal Giroux of Cargill, Chair of  USCIB’s Food and Agriculture Committee, as well as Valerio Nannini, Novozymes general manager for Novozymes Advanced Proteins Solutions. Other experts included Christine Gould, founder and president of Food for Thought, and The Good Food Institute Vice President, Corporate Engagement Caroline Bushnell.

Read full story here.

USCIB Joins Global Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation

September 23: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres convened a Food Systems Summit during the UN General Assembly (UNGA76). The Summit launched bold new actions as part of the UN’s Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs. The goal of the Summit was to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to meet the challenges of poverty, food security, malnutrition, population growth, climate change and natural resource degradation. During the Summit, the U.S. announced the formation of a global Coalition of Action on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation (the SPG Coalition). The coalition will accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through agricultural productivity growth that optimizes sustainability across social, economic and environmental dimensions. The coalition will advance a holistic approach to productivity growth that considers impacts and tradeoffs among multiple objectives. USCIB has joined the SPG Coalition.

USCIB Meets With Ngozi to Enhance Synergies Between WTO and US Industry

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO and USCIB Trustee Suzanne Clark hosted a meeting of top U.S. trade association leaders on September 22 with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in advance of the WTO ministerial meeting (MC12) in December. USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson attended for USCIB, accompanied by Alice Slayton Clark, director of Investment, Trade and China. The intimate gathering provided an opportunity to enhance synergies and understanding between the WTO and U.S. industry, a goal for the new director general.

Dr. Ngozi repeated her continued concerns about the viability of the WTO, and the need to produce concrete results at the MC12 on fishery subsidies, food security, trade and health/access to vaccines, as well as the joint statement initiatives on e-commerce and services domestic regulations. Robinson noted the multifaceted challenges facing vaccine access, and urged reduction of trade and regulatory barriers to distribution and administration as the most important approach. He emphasized a letter USCIB sent to Dr. Ngozi this summer on this issue, co-signed by the Chamber and BusinessEurope, among others.

In addition, Robinson stressed USCIB interest in revitalizing and expanding negotiations on an environmental goods agreement that were sidelined in 2016 largely over concerns about the definition of products to be included. Other USCIB priorities were also raised during the meeting, including: concerns about industrial subsidies, dispute settlement procedures, and special and differential treatment; and support for the science of agricultural biotechnology and extension of the e-commerce moratorium. There was a good deal of consensus on many of these key issues among the participants.

Robinson also expressed support for the initiatives to work with the WTO in improving the global trading system that are underway in the three global business organizations with which USCIB is affiliated, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC).

USCIB’s member companies rely on the WTO as the multilateral forum for resolving trade disputes and expanding market access for selling goods and services overseas. It urges the Biden Administration to take a leadership role at the MC12 in reforming and updating the WTO so it can remain a viable source for trade adjudication and liberalization in the decades to come.

USCIB Joins Global Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres convened a Food Systems Summit during the UN General Assembly (UNGA76) on September 23. The Summit launched bold new actions as part of the UN’s Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to USCIB Senior Vice President Brian Lowry, the goal of the Food Systems Summit was to transform the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to meet the challenges of poverty, food security, malnutrition, population growth, climate change and natural resource degradation.

The U.S. government supported the UN Food Systems Summit and participated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, led by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Recognizing that sustainable productivity growth and climate-smart agriculture are essential to sustainable food systems, the United States announced the formation of a global Coalition of Action on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation (the SPG Coalition). The coalition will accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through agricultural productivity growth that optimizes sustainability across social, economic and environmental dimensions. The coalition will advance a holistic approach to productivity growth that considers impacts and tradeoffs among multiple objectives. USCIB is part of the SPG Coalition.

“USCIB proudly joins an influential group of companies and industry associations such as the Agricultural Retailers Association, the U.S. Dairy Export Council and countries including the United States, Australia, Brazil, non-governmental organizations, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to become part of the SPG Coalition to achieve a common goal of a sustainable food system and resource conservation and help combat challenges such as food security,” said Lowry. “We look forward to working with the United States, the FAO, and other stakeholders on this critical effort for future generations.”

USCIB Event at UN General Assembly Reaffirms Business’ Commitment to Countering Global Challenges

Top: Brian Lowry (USCIB), Norine Kennedy (USCIB) Bottom: Michele Parmelee (Deloitte), Hans-Jorn Weddige (Business at OECD)

On the margins of this week’s 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), USCIB partnered with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD to organize a virtual discussion titledReinvigorating Inclusive Multilateralism: A Business Townhall at UNGA76.” The meeting was dedicated to the memory of John Ruggie, former UN Special Envoy for Business and Human Rights, who recently passed away.

Ester Baiget, Novozymes chief executive, and USCIB Trustee and Sustainability Champion, opened the event. “We must drive the change we want to see together,” said Baiget in her opening remarks.

Other USCIB Board members, namely Michele Parmelee (Deloitte) and John Frank (Microsoft), also served as speakers, on climate change, business and human rights, and on new ways for the business community to engage with and strengthen the effectiveness of the multilateral system en route to a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

UNGA76 convenes at a time of multiple challenges, which are putting the multilateral system to the test and raising questions about the resilience of the UN and such basic values of democracy, rule of law and inclusive societies. The event focused on three fireside chats, specifically aligning with key priorities of the President of the UN General Assembly —climate change and environment; human rights and business; pandemic response and recovery.

“UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently issued a report, ‘Our Common Agenda,’ clearly highlighting the need to reinvigorate multilateralism,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “Business is ready to work with the international community and contribute to ‘break throughs’ that protect people and planet.”

Participants from business and industry, the UN, governments, and civil society tuned into the session, which highlighted the critical role of the private sector in being able to achieve ‘Our Common Agenda,’ and particularly of the U.S. private sector in aligning with global business to respond to global challenges, and provide solutions working through inclusive multilateralism.

Speakers included:

Robin Ogilvy, OECD Special Representative and Permanent Observer to the UN

Matthias Thorns, IOE Deputy Secretary General

Dr. Scott Ratzan, Executive Director, Business Partners for Sustainable Development, an initiative of The USCIB Foundation

Larry O. Gostin, Georgetown University Law School

Fernando Ylanes Almanza President, Social Security Commission, CONCAMIN

USCIB Letter to Trade Representative Tai Supports Greener Trade Policy

USCIB submitted a letter to United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai in response to Tai’s recent comments at the Center for American Progress Greening U.S. Trade Policy program. In her remarks, Tai outlined both the Biden Administration’s vision to green U.S. and multilateral trade policy and welcomed business engagement to share experience and ideas in this effort.

“We are keen to support a trade agenda that reinvigorates negotiations on environmental goods and services, addresses fossil fuel and fisheries subsidies, ensures compatibility between environmental and trade rules, and considers the circular economy holistically,” said USCIB Senior Vice President for Innovation, Regulation, and Trade Brian Lowry.

Lowry added: “USCIB and its members understand that resource conservation is a critical environmental consideration and that a resilient supply chain must recognize and account for the finite supply of planetary resources.”

In line with the explicit recognition of the criticality of resource conservation, the letter emphasized that outdated trade policies and international rules that restrict cross border flows of used products and secondary material feedstock continue to be obstacles to effective and efficient resource recovery. Reducing these barriers, alongside the encouragement and implementation of environmentally sound options to recycle and recover waste, will enable creative solutions that work in synergy with trade rather than impose counter-productive barriers.

USCIB Welcomes President Biden’s Ambitious US Climate Action Pledges

The U.S. business group calls for society-wide dialogue to shape next steps

New York, N.Y., April 22, 2021—Transboundary challenges such as climate change are most effectively solved with the fullest possible international cooperation, so we applaud the Administration’s initiative to convene the Leaders Climate Summit and Major Economies Forum this week in Washington.

USCIB looks forward to working with the Administration to design policy and market approaches that mobilize private sector investment, innovation and implementation to advance climate action. USCIB represents leading U.S. and international businesses that have supported proactive engagement in the UN climate treaty and Paris Agreement since 1993.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement are not simply environmental treaties; they are influential frameworks for economic growth, energy access and security, job creation, food security, and innovation. In that context, we encourage the Administration to actively and substantively engage with the U.S. business community to set priorities and pursue climate policies that advance economic, energy and environmental benefits both at home and abroad.

Clearly, an all of government approach to tackle climate change will be indispensable, and building a trusted and recognized working relationship with business will be key.

We therefore encourage the Administration to undertake a society-wide dialogue with U.S. stakeholders, including the business community as represented by USCIB, which is unique in being based in our nation’s political and financial centers and in serving as the American affiliate of leading global business organizations:  The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). Such an inclusive and consultative approach will empower and strengthen the development of the U.S. Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and will be essential to deliver real progress on climate change and towards a sustainable recovery.

USCIB and its members stand ready to assist the Administration in realizing its ambitious vision for climate action and economic benefit throughout the international community. We will continue to leverage our role as entry-point for American business to global business organizations and networks and to the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF) to encourage governments to meet their NDC commitments. We will also continue to advance the alignment of trade, investment and innovation with climate change benefits vis a vis adaptation and mitigation.

USCIB looks forward to partnering with the Administration and the international community to realize our shared vision of inclusive recovery, prosperity and sustainability.

About USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms with operations in every region of the world. USCIB has represented U.S. business at the UNFCCC since 1993. Furthermore, as the U.S. affiliate of leading international business organizations and as the sole U.S. business group with standing in ECOSOC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.