USCIB Statement on Climate COP Outcomes and US Business

New York, N.Y., November 28, 2022—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) sought an “Implementation Plus” approach in the outcomes of the recently concluded 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, in which the international community would realize progress in advancing food and energy security alongside climate action and mobilization of resources.

As a dedicated representative of U.S. business in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), USCIB understands and supports the urgency of tackling climate change, and was concerned that economic and geopolitical challenges could hamper or even prevent a successful outcome of this important meeting.

Despite those headwinds, government delegates were able to conclude with progress in key areas, such as loss and damage, the role of agriculture and the need to advance a just energy transition. However, we were disappointed by the absence of any meaningful reference to the actions taken by and the role of business in the Sharm El Sheikh outcomes.

Attending its 27th COP, USCIB noted an unprecedented showing by its members from every sector of the American economy, on hand to offer solutions and support a successful outcome. In addition, USCIB joined the global business community in speaking out for political will and ambitious action at COP27. Throughout the COP, USCIB welcomed the opportunity to cooperate with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the Major Economies Business Forum (BizMEF). We were especially proud to have the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) join BizMEF.

USCIB attended COP27 looking forward to further encouragement and support for pro-active business action, building on pledges made last year by business at the Glasgow meeting.

Throughout COP27, the U.S. private sector demonstrated its actions to mobilize markets and investment in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and support for vulnerable countries and populations that face impacts of climate change. While initiatives, such as the Report of the High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities (UN HLEG), will provide additional thoughts on how such efforts can be strengthened, further work is needed to analyze the fuller implications of the 40 recommendations to drive meaningful, practical progress. USCIB is concerned that overly prescriptive approaches to voluntary pledges and allegations of  “greenwashing” could discourage and hamper further voluntary steps on climate action and finance.

Although COP27 left much still to be done to address the risks and impacts of climate change, USCIB looks to COP28 with resolve and renewed purpose. Without businesses of every sector participating in these vital deliberations, the international community will not be able to fully harness the drive, capability and commitment of business to advance the Paris Agreement.

Across the multilateral system, USCIB will continue to champion a confluence of common interests through practical and inclusive multilateralism. USCIB will forcefully and consistently make the case for catalyzing business knowhow, experience and partnership for innovation, as well as investment and job creation as we move ahead together to deliver on the promises of the UNFCCC and its Paris Agreement.

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. USCIB is the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD (BIAC). More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Foundation Launches Campaign to Promote Vaccine Literacy, Workplace Wellbeing

New York, N.Y., November 28, 2022—Today, the USCIB Foundation launched the ‘There’s More To Be Done’ Campaign, an initiative that seeks to maintain workplace wellbeing. Employers can encourage vaccination for COVID19 and other preventable illness by informing and educating employees on the benefit of vaccination. ‘There’s More To Be Done’ is a global movement of employers and is part of the Business Partners to CONVINCE initiative, which seeks to empower a “vaccine-literate” public.

The Campaign includes free Learning Modules for employers that incorporates training videos, action steps, learning objectives and resources.

The Campaign is simple, actionable, and vital for a safer workplace. The Campaign:

  • Focuses on the important role of employers
  • Recognizes the hard work by employers to date
  • Identifies the role of vaccines in creating a safer workplace and employee well-being.

Scott Ratzan MD, BP2C executive director, stated: “In collaboration with our partners, we created this Campaign and designed these Learning Modules to provide businesses of all sizes around the globe with free resources for developing and supporting employee vaccination. Companies of all sizes from 16 countries, representing over 250,000 employees, have joined. Employers play a critical role in the health and wellness of employees. Having a plan to inform and educate employees on the benefit of vaccination is the key to success.”

“Employers, even small to midsize employers, have a role to play given their privileged access, position of trust, and ability to address potential barriers to vaccine uptake practically,” said USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson.

Join the movement and access a free Toolkit and Learning Modules at: businesspartners2convince.org

For more information, contact:

Kira Yevtukhova

kyevtukhova@uscib.org

ABOUT USCIB: USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility. 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.

ABOUT THE USCIB FOUNDATION: The USCIB Foundation is the research and educational arm of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB). The principal purpose of the Foundation is to carry out research and educational activities designed to promote and advance the benefits of a free-market economy and to demonstrate and document the role of the corporate private sector in economic growth and social development.

ABOUT BUSINESS PARTNERS TO CONVINCE: The United States Council for International Business (USCIB), The USCIB Foundation, and Business Partners for Sustainable Development (BPSD) have launched Business Partners to CONVINCE, a global communication and education initiative to promote COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among private sector employers and employees. The new partnership will play an integral role in a broader, global CONVINCE (Coalition for Vaccine Information, Communication, and Engagement) campaign to advance vaccine literacy and help ensure a strong and swift recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through widespread acceptance of safe, effective and accessible vaccines.

USCIB Raises Concerns Over Content, Process of UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights

During the week of October 24, USCIB Senior Counsel Ronnie Goldberg was in Geneva to attend the 8th session of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group that is negotiating a UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights.  According to Goldberg, USCIB and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) have long raised serious concerns about both the content of the proposed treaty and the process by which it is being negotiated.

“A limited number of countries have engaged in this negotiation to date, and last month’s session saw no significant increase,” said Goldberg. “Many countries have expressed their disappointment and frustration with the approach of the Working Group, which represents a major departure from the international consensus achieved through the development of the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights (UNGP). USCIB remains concerned that comments and suggestions from the U.S. and EU, as well as from private sector representatives, are being ignored.” There appears to be a lack of effort to develop a genuine consensus, added Goldberg.

Intersessional meetings will be convened before the next round of negotiations in 2023, but the terms and mandate for these meetings remain unclear.  What is clear is that this process promises to grind on for years to come.

Meanwhile, the current iteration of the draft treaty remains inconsistent with the purpose and principles of the UNGP in many respects. While the UNGP emphasizes that the corporate responsibility to respect human rights requires business enterprises to seek, prevent, mitigate and remediate adverse human rights impacts, including through due diligence, the draft treaty imposes a mandatory and complex due diligence process for business entities, requires that business entities either prevent human rights violations from happening or face liability, and makes no mention of other entities indispensable to the protection of human rights, notably governments implementing their own laws and obligations.

“In sum, the text that emerged from the recent negotiation remains unimplementable and largely unratifiable,” asserted Goldberg. “As it stands, it risks harming investment, trade and employment creation, particularly for countries with large informal sectors and deep-rooted challenges related to child and forced labor.” It would also be counterproductive to the efforts of business to safeguard human rights by undermining efforts to strengthen the implementation of the UNGP, raising serious concerns about State sovereignty and creating significant legal uncertainties.

USCIB has thanked the U.S. Government for its support for involving business alongside all societal partners in the Treaty negotiations.  “We will continue to engage with the Administration on ways to protect human rights in the context of rule of law and voluntary enabling frameworks for responsible business conduct,” said Goldberg.

 

USCIB Outlines Priorities for UN Climate Meetings (COP27) in Letter to US Government

USCIB policy experts are now at the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. In advance of COP27, USCIB sent a letter on behalf of USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry, setting out USCIB members priorities for COP27. The letter can be downloaded here, or viewed directly below.

Dear Special Presidential Envoy Kerry:

Addressing the multiple challenges of climate change in all their complexity, alongside advancing food and energy security, are interconnected imperatives. The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomes the Administration’s leadership as it has engaged with the international community for ambition and progress on these linked issues en route to the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh next week.

As Administration officials have emphasized, COP27 is a chance to focus on “Implementation Plus”– win-win opportunities to incent investment and create jobs for shared climate -friendly prosperity, not just from governments but across society. Implementation Plus approaches should catalyze innovation and trade to deploy U.S. private sector technology and partnerships on mitigation and adaptation. Implementation Plus oriented COP outcomes should encourage synergies between climate and nature protection agendas and actions. And those outcomes should recognize and mainstream supporting frameworks for voluntary pledges from business and other non-state actors.

In particular, USCIB members look for progress at COP27 in the following areas:

  • Just transition for workers, society, and employers: Further discussions of just transition should reflect the fundamental role of social dialogue, and recognize the impacts and opportunities for workers, societies, and employers. In this regard, representative employers’ federations are essential to sound climate change and just transition policy and its implementation.
  • Integrated Approach to Adaptation and Resilience: Incentives for private sector investment are needed to direct funds not only to infrastructure, but also to other key societal sectors for adaptation and resilience, such as agriculture and food production, supply chain, and access to the internet.
  • Enhanced Substantive Engagement of Business and other Stakeholders: The involvement of business in all its diversity is more important than ever to deliver on Paris, Glasgow, and Sharm El-Sheikh commitments. The Administration has consistently supported the inclusion of all stakeholders in the UNFCCC and this is more crucial than ever at COP27. We urge you to continue to speak out strongly for enhanced and meaningful inclusion of business with all stakeholders, and oppose any measures that would discriminate against or exclude any constituency.

In Glasgow, despite unprecedented business commitments to reduce GHGs and mobilize financial and technical resources, COP26 decisions did not mention the private sector apart from a reference to finance. For USCIB, this sent the wrong signal, and contradicts a record of real achievement and commitment by the private sector to do more.

The Administration has encouraged business from every sector to step up on climate change and join diverse U.S. climate initiatives for ambition, green energy, green purchasing, and more. USCIB member companies have responded positively, and many have additionally launched their own actions to keep 1.5 alive, commit to net-zero and meaningfully contribute across numerous other climate-relevant areas.

We ask therefore for your support to include acknowledgement in COP27 outcomes of the distinct role of business, recommending increased dialogue and partnership with the private sector, and consulting with business and employers to hear views and recommendations on policy options under the UNFCCC.

USCIB members will bring their commitment and solutions to tackle climate change to Sharm El Sheikh, and USCIB looks forward to supporting the U.S. delegation at these meetings. We will be joining forces with our global sister organizations, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE) to achieve outcomes for broad deployment of lower carbon options across all forms of energy, to strengthen market-based approaches to tackle mitigation and adaptation, and to take international cooperation to a next level of ambition and impact.

Sincerely,
Peter M. Robinson
President & CEO

USCIB at UNGA77: Perspectives and Summary of Key Events

As the United Nations opened its 77th Session of the General Assembly, USCIB was on hand to inform the deliberations.  USCIB convened several high-level meetings, which delivered impactful and informative dialogues and practical next steps.  Throughout, USCIB highlighted the private sector’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Secretary General’s visionary Our Common Agenda, and to effective and resilient multilateral institutions, led by the UN. Below, we are pleased to share perspectives by USCIB’s leadership—USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson and USCIB Board of Trustees’ Sustainability Champion and Novozymes CEO Ester Baiget—on UNGA77 and the private sector’s role, as well as summaries of USCIB events during UNGA77. Finally, we also include a look-ahead at USCIB’s ambitious plan for UN engagement and advocacy for 2023 and beyond by USCIB SVP Norine Kennedy.

Table of Contents:
  1. USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson shares his perspectives on UNGA77 opening
  2. Statement by USCIB Board of Trustee’s Sustainability Champion and Novozymes CEO Ester Baiget
  3. USCIB Launches New Initiative Moving the Needle (MTN): Advancing our Common Agenda with Business
  4. High-Level Business Roundtable on Achieving Ambition and Action Across the Life Cycle of Plastic Pollution
  5. IOE-SHRM-USCIB Global Business Town Hall: A Business Agenda for Action, A Human-Centric Approach
  6. USCIB Hosts Centro Regional del Sector Privada (CR/SP) for a CEO Discussion of SDGs and Supply Chains
  7. Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond by USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy
Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson shares perspectives on UNGA77 opening

No longer on the Sidelines, Committed Business Part of the Main Event during the 2022 UNGA Opening Week

Since its inception, the annual UN General Assembly High-Level opening in New York has provided a platform for world leaders to declare their shared aspirations for the future, and earlier this month, it returned in person for the first time since the pandemic shutdown.  Even during these challenging times, UNGA opening continues to be a show of solidarity where willing nations work together on world problems, despite the diversity of views and realities.  In addition to government representatives, the annual UNGA gathering has provided an opportunity to forge collaborations for action with non-state actors.

When it comes to such collaborations for action, the landscape for UNGA opening has dramatically changed, especially since the introduction of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. There is increasing interest from stakeholders across the board to actively engage, not just in side-meetings, but in the room and at the table – civil society, business, academia among many others.

If we take a step back and consider what this increasingly mainstreamed presence of representatives of the private sector and civil society really means, it is a testament to what the UN has achieved: it has succeeded in raising awareness and sparking commitment, notably from business (and other societal partners) around issues beyond “just talk.” Sustainability considerations across the entire spectrum of SDGs are now integrated into business strategies, targets and objectives.

The perfect formula for success in international cooperation has not yet been discovered.  There is room to improve, but an overabundance of good will is not a bad problem to have, especially in light of recent disruptive events.  That is why USCIB launched its campaign “Moving the Needle: Advancing Our Common Agenda With Business.” This campaign will advance practical private sector solutions, tools, resources and partnerships across the UNGA 77th session’s thematic pillars: Sustainability, Science and Solidarity.

The UN Secretary-General has stated that the international community faces a momentous choice: “will we break through or break down?” This question is more urgent than ever and a strong, resilient and inclusive UN is essential to that breakthrough. For all the challenges that the UN faces, there is no other institution that can bring together 193 countries alongside other non-governmental interests to advance shared goals and objectives towards a better future, and there is no more necessary partner than the business community.   

Business is ready to work with the UN. Why? Because the UN’s success and resilience are critical to the private sector’s ability to operate, create jobs, mobilize resources, and deploy solutions. Time and again, business has leaned into international cooperation for our shared interest. As the only U.S. business group in consultative standing to the UN ECOSOC, USCIB is dedicated to inclusive practical multilateralism, involving business for impact. No longer a side show, the business community is committed to do its part, working with and through the UN system, towards the UN Summits for SDGs in 2023 and for the Future in 2024.

Statement by USCIB Board of Trustees Sustainability Champion and CEO, Novozymes Ester Baiget:

USCIB has released a statement by Ester Baiget, chief executive officer of Novozymes and USCIB Board of Trustees Sustainability Champion.

We are inspired by the UN Secretary General’s Report, Our Common Agenda, and embrace its objective to supercharge implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its innovative ideas for action.  We share the concern of lost progress towards the objectives of the SDGs, and see the urgency of pursuing systemwide change to tackle climate change, plastics pollution and threats to biodiversity.

 

USCIB Launches New Initiative: Moving the Needle (MTN): Advancing Our Common Agenda with Business – September 15
L-R: HE Ambassador Chris Lu and Peter Robinson

On Thursday, September 15, USCIB launched its new initiative called “Moving the Needle (MTN): Advancing Our Common Agenda with Business” with a first roundtable focused on “Tracking Progress, Identifying Gaps.” The session highlighted business innovation, initiatives and partnerships related to information, data and metrics relevant to accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delivering on proposals laid out in the UN Secretary-General’s report, Our Common Agenda (OCA). USCIB member Microsoft generously hosted the event at Microsoft UN Affairs Offices located at One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York. High-level speakers included the new President of the UN General Assembly (PGA) H.E. Ambassador Csaba Korosi, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) H.E. Ambassador Lachezara Stoeva, as well as U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform H.E. Ambassador Chris Lu. The main panel featured speakers from USCIB members Deloitte, LinkedIn, Google and RELX who shared their perspective on practical private sector approaches that can fast track the SDGs to accomplish key OCA proposals.

MTN will result in a white paper titled “Business and the UN 2.0,” that will offer proposals on how to enhance private sector interfaces with the UN as integral to practical, networked and inclusive multilateralism. For more information, and to express interest to contribute to the white paper, please contact Agnes Vinblad at avinblad@uscib.org

High-Level Business Roundtable on Achieving Ambition and Action Across the Life Cycle of Plastic Pollution – September 16

On Friday, September 16, USCIB, with the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and American Chemistry Council (ACC), convened a High-Level Business Roundtable on Achieving Ambition and Action Across the Life Cycle of Plastic Pollution. This off-the-record roundtable focused on how business can play an active and supportive role in the development and deliberations of a legally binding international agreement on plastics pollution, which will begin to be negotiated in November of this year. CEO’s and C-suite executives were able to exchange views with UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Inger Andersen, as well as Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina. This roundtable was complemented by a limited industry roundtable organized by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) the following Monday, September 18.

USCIB will continue to engage in these negotiating processes and will be on the ground for INC-1 in Uruguay. For more information, contact Chris Olsen at colsen@uscib.org

IOE-SHRM-USCIB Global Business Town Hall: A Business Agenda for Action, A Human-Centric Approach – September 21
Emily Dickens (SHRM)

On Wednesday, September 21, USCIB joined with partners, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), to hold a Global Business Town Hall. The Town Hall, attended by nearly 300 people from across 44 countries, tackled some of pressing priorities outlined in the UN Secretary General’s report Our Common Agenda, which seeks to foster a human-centric recovery for the global workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Panels centered around four critical areas from Our Common Agenda, including resetting the multilateral system, rethinking education to close the skills gap, reforming global response to future health crises, and reinforcing human rights through the role of governance and the rule of law. Other high-level speakers and panelists included International Labor Organization (ILO) Director-General Elect Gilbert Houngbo, UN DESA Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Navid Hanif, IOE Secretary-General Roberto Suarez Santos, President UN Human Rights Council Federico Villegas, and SHRM Chief of Staff, Head of Government Affairs and Corporate Secretary Emily M. Dickens, who served as keynote, and USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson who gave concluding remarks.

This town hall was a second in a series, following one organized by USCIB, SHRM and IOE during the UN High-Level Political Forum in July.

USCIB Hosts Centro Regional del Sector Privada (CR/SP) for a CEO Discussion of SDGs and Supply Chains

USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson welcomed a group of CEOs and UN and business leaders to USCIB offices on September 20 to focus on the relationship and synergy between the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and business supply chains.

Lead-off presentations from UN Assistant Secretary General Nikhil Seth, Executive Director of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, former U.S. Representative to the UN, and former Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Environment and International Science, highlighted the importance of business in advancing the SDGs, which have demonstrated noteworthy staying power, and have taken on even greater relevance than when they were developed and agreed in 2015.

Subsequent presentations from C-suite representatives of AB InBev, Enel, Millicom Tigo and Walmart provided examples of initiatives to promote circular economy, economic empowerment and inclusion and climate-friendly SDG-oriented energy investments both in the Latin American region and globally.

Based in Colombia, CR/SP is an UN-private sector initiative launched in 2009 to build Latin American capacity and strengthen the pursuit of sustainable development action in the Latam region in line with the SDGs and through the active engagement of the private sector.

Looking Ahead: Norine Kennedy, USCIB SVP, Policy and Global Strategy
Norine Kennedy

The UNGA opening week may be over, but the work is just getting underway. USCIB’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Working Group will again be following and weighing in with USCIB members’ views on UN deliberations, including the customary suite of SDG-related sessions:

In 2023: 

  • The ECOSOC Partnerships Forum
  • The UN Multistakeholder Science, Technology and Innovation Forum
  • The Finance for Development Forum (FFD)
  • The UN High-Level Political Forum

In addition, USCIB will be tracking and informing further work on recommendations set out in the UN Secretary General’s Report, “Our Common Agenda.”

We will also follow and bring the voice and engagement of our members to preparations for influential mandated UN meetings and summits taking place in 2023 – 2024, including: 

  • The 5th UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs)
  • UN High-Level Dialogue on FFD
  • UN High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage
  • UN High-Level Meeting on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response
  • Preparatory Ministerial for the Summit of the Future
  • The UN SDG Summit
  • The UN Summit for the Future

USCIB Applauds Historic Election of Doreen Bogdan-Martin to ITU Secretary General

Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Source: US Mission to Geneva

New York, NY, September 29, 2022–The U.S. Council for International Business applauds the resounding victory today of Doreen Bogdan-Martin to serve as the new Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). ITU member states made history by elevating Ms. Bogdan-Martin to lead the organization the next four years — the first-ever female to serve as ITU Secretary General. Ms. Bogdan-Martin garnered 139 votes; Rashid Ismailov, a former Russian telecom official, secured 25. The vote was taken by secret ballot at the 21st meeting of the ITU Plenipotentiary (PP-22), September 26-October 14, in Bucharest, Romania.

“After 150 years, we shattered the glass ceiling,” Secretary General Bogdan-Martin said after the results were announced. The full text of her acceptance speech is available at this link.

Barbara Wanner, USCIB’s Vice President of ICT Policy, who participated in the PP-22 as a member of the U.S. Government delegation, concurred that the election represented a truly historic development. “The sheer breadth of support for Ms. Bogdan-Martin reflected a recognition across the Union that she is the right person for the job as the information and communication technology (ICT) landscape continues to evolve,” Wanner said.

July 13, 2022 reception in NY during UN HLPF. Left to right: Barbara Wanner, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Peter Robinson

USCIB was one the earliest organizational supporters of Ms. Bogdan-Martin’s candidacy. “It was readily apparent to our members that she possesses both the substantive knowledge and leadership skills to place the ITU at the forefront of global efforts to drive meaningful connectivity for the unconnected, broaden and deepen partnerships to accelerate digital transformation, and support greater organizational accountability,” Wanner noted. Thanks to members’ generous support, USCIB boosted Ms. Bogdan-Martin’s candidacy by hosting a special reception on July 13 in New York to enable her to engage informally with many UN delegates and share her leadership vision for the ITU.

In addition to electing the Secretary General and other key leadership positions, the ITU Plenipotentiary, which is held every four years, enables the ITU’s 193 Member States to conclude key agreements on the ITU’s strategic and financial plans and determine the direction for ICT issues under its remit for the next four years.

Other highlights of the first week of the PP-22 included:

  • An announcement by the U.S Government that it plans to increase its assessed contribution rate to the ITU from 30 contributory units to 35 contributory units, which would represent an additional 1.59 million Swiss francs per year to support the work of the ITU; and
  • Establishment of numerous ad hoc committees and informal consultations to build consensus on proposed resolutions on cybersecurity, Internet-related issues, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and space policy issues of priority interest to USCIB members.

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. USCIB is the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB at UNGA77: Business Roundtable on Action Across the Life Cycle of Plastic Pollution 

On the margins of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77), USCIB, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) and American Chemistry Council (ACC) convened a High-Level Business Roundtable on Achieving Ambition and Action Across the Life Cycle of Plastic Pollution. This roundtable focused on the UN decision earlier this year to launch negotiations on a global treaty on plastics pollution, and how business could play an active and supportive role in the deliberations. 

The message from CEO’s and C-suite executives was clear: U.S. business to work with governments and the international community to develop an ambitious and effective plastics pollution agreement that will accelerate the transition to a circular economy, while reflecting a lifecycle approach. President and CEO of USCIB Peter Robinson declared, “The key to achieve a truly implementable and successful global plastics pollution agreement will be animating all business sectors, while developing partnerships and regionally relevant win-win solutions for communities around the globe.” 

High level speakers included Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Inger Andersen, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina as well as Permanent Representative to the UN for the International Organization of Employers (IOE) Shea Gopaul.  

The roundtable discussion explored key issues, such as how the private sector and government can act jointly to accelerate the shift to a more circular plastics economy and increase the availability of recycled plastic while promoting infrastructure critical to enable efficient recycling and waste management. Some of the key solutions to solve plastics pollution will be found through unlocking private sector financing and innovation, and providing capacity building for regulators, communities, and Small and Medium Enterprises. 

USCIB Launches Initiative During UNGA: “Moving the Needle: Advancing Our Common Agenda with Business”  

L-R: HE Ambassador Chris Lu and Peter Robinson

On the opening week of the United Nations General Assembly’s 77th session, USCIB launched its new initiative called “Moving the Needle (MTN): Advancing our Common Agenda with Business” with a first roundtable focused on “Tracking Progress, Identifying Gaps.” The session highlighted business innovation, initiatives and partnerships related to information, data and metrics relevant to accelerate the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and delivering on proposals laid out in the UN Secretary-General’s report, Our Common Agenda (OCA). USCIB member Microsoft generously hosted the event at Microsoft UN Affairs Offices located at One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York.  

High-level speakers included the new President of the UN General Assembly (PGA) H.E. Ambassador Csaba Korosi, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) H.E. Ambassador Lachezara Stoeva, as well as U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform H.E. Ambassador Chris Lu.    

According to USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy, the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC both emphasized the importance of next year’s SDG Summit, which will mark the halfway point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Private sector and all stakeholders are encouraged to actively engage in the lead up process, as it presents an opportunity for a reality check on what the world has collectively achieved since the SDGs were first launched in 2015 and how to maximize the time left.  

Daniel Altman, Public Policy, Artificial Intelligence & Emerging Tech, Google

The main panel featured speakers from Deloitte, LinkedIn, Google and RELX who shared their perspective on practical private sector approaches that can fast track the SDGs to accomplish key OCA proposals. USCIB and its members also reiterated its commitment to the UN by bringing business solutions into the multilateral system that can contribute to a better understanding of a stronger, more resilient, and effective United Nations for all.  

USCIB’s MTN initiative will be a series of roundtables, all of which will contribute to a final “Moving the Needle Roadmaps for Results” report that will provide the foundation for elaborating options towards a more systematic engagement with business in targeted practical areas aligned with the theme of the 77th session of the UN General assembly: Solutions for Sustainability, Science and Solidarity. 

Looking to the SDG Summit taking place in 2023 and the Summit of the Future in 2024, MTN will leverage upcoming opportunities to bring together representatives of UN Missions and Agencies, and business leaders to identify hands-on solutions to deliver on OCA proposals and advance the SDGs.  Based on the learnings outlined in the “Moving the Needle Roadmaps for Results,” USCIB will develop a white paper on “Business and the UN 2.0,” that will offer proposals on how to enhance private sector interfaces with the UN as integral to practical, networked and inclusive multilateralism.   

USCIB-SHRM-IOE Town Hall During UNGA Discusses Critical Priorities of UN’s Our Common Agenda

New York, NY, September 21, 2022—As the second week of the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly got underway, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) joined with partners, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE), to hold a Global Business Town Hall on September 21. The Town Hall tackled some of pressing priorities outlined in the UN Secretary General’s report Our Common Agenda, which seeks to foster a human-centric recovery for the global workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Panels centered around four critical areas from Our Common Agenda, including resetting the multilateral system, rethinking education to close the skills gap, reforming global response to future health crises, and reinforcing human rights through the role of governance and the rule of law.

“Business is a full partner and, together, we have the capacity to respond to these pressing global challenges,” asserted USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson during his closing remarks.

Other high-level speakers and panelists included International Labor Organization (ILO) Director-General Elect Gilbert Houngbo, UN DESA Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Navid Hanif, IOE Secretary-General Roberto Suarez Santos, President UN Human Rights Council Federico Villegas, and SHRM Chief of Staff, Head of Government Affairs and Corporate Secretary Emily M. Dickens, who served as keynote.

Emily Dickens (SHRM)

“The report mentions that we truly are at an inflection point in history,” Dickens told the audience of over 300 attendees, which consisted of representatives from business and UN officials. “I submit to you today that this inflection point touches no other place like it does the workplace—the location where people spend the majority of their time, the mechanism that allows people to take care of themselves and their families, the incubator for innovation that impacts how well we live.”

This town hall was a second in a series, following one organized by USCIB, SHRM and IOE during the UN High-Level Political Forum in July.

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. USCIB is the U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and Business at OECD. More at www.uscib.org.

USCIB Launches Advocacy Campaign on OECD Accession Process

USCIB launched its advocacy campaign on the OECD accession process last week, co-hosting with the U.S. Chamber “The OECD Accession Process: Why it Matters for U.S. Business,” a high level dialogue featuring OECD legal counsel, Business at OECD (BIAC) and leaders of U.S. industry. The event featured Gita Kothari, OECD deputy director for legal affairs, Ali Karami Ruis, BIAC senior director, and Rick Johnston, chair of BIAC and the USCIB Trade & Investment Committee, who provided guidance on the accession processes and on how American companies can play a role in leveraging business interests. Norine Kennedy, USCIB senior vice president for policy and global strategy, and Gary Litman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president for global initiatives, provided welcoming remarks.

Starting this fall, dozens of OECD committees will undertake detailed technical reviews of candidate country practices relating to a wide array of issues such as tax, environment, good governance and trade. The committees will consider the willingness and ability of the candidates to adopt OECD standards and recommend changes to laws and practices, a process that can take up to eight years, advancing at different paces depending on the candidate. Reforms must be adopted before a country is invited to accede.

“OECD accessions provide a unique opportunity for USCIB member companies to change policy and reform laws never thought possible before in candidate countries,” asserted Alice Slayton Clark, USCIB director for investment, trade and China. BIAC is distinctively placed to advance industry interests because it is authorized to participate in the work of the OECD and its committees. It also can activate its global business association members to coordinate advocacy strategies and provide high level access and engagement with the thirty-eight OECD ambassadors in Paris.

USCIB, through its unique affiliation to BIAC, offers its members a special avenue to influence this process. USCIB policy managers have already started engaging members at the committee level on priority issues to advocate through BIAC and with relevant Biden Administration officials.

“The OECD is a business friendly environment, bringing cooperation over the accession process to a new level and yielding tangible benefits for countries and companies,” stressed Clark.  “Now is the time for business to get involved and maximize results.”

USCIB has also released an OECD fact sheet on the advocacy campaign, which can be accessed here.