USCIB Represents Global Business at UNFCCC Just Transition Dialogue in Bonn

Agnes Vinblad speaking on behalf of the Global Business & Industry constituency during the UNFCCC Dialogue under the Just Transition Work Programme

On June 2-3 in Bonn, Germany, USCIB’s Director of Environment & Sustainable Development Agnes Vinblad served as one of two formal representatives on behalf of the Global Business & Industry (BINGO) Constituency to the first Dialogue convened under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) United Arab Emirates Just Transition Work Programme (UAE JTWP). The UAE JTWP was established via mandate coming out of COP28 in Dubai. 

The first Dialogue under the UAE JTWP was held under the theme “Just transition pathways to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and Long-term Low Emission Development Strategies (LT-LEDS).” 

The two days were marked by active discussions amongst Parties and Non-Party Stakeholder representatives, exploring best practices and lessons learned in implementing just transition initiatives and frameworks, and identifying support needs for better integration of just transition considerations in Parties next round of NDCs, NAPs and LT-LEDs. 

During the sessions, Vinblad brought forth key points for business when considering just transition: 

“The global business community especially encourages more robust mapping of already existing just transition implementation efforts across the private sector to get a clearer picture of best practices as well as to identify gaps to understand specific support needs; this is especially critical in understanding the needs of micro-small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in regions most impacted by climate change. Business encourages regional and national partnerships that bring together all stakeholders to work collaboratively towards truly data-driven just transition integration in next round NDCs, NAPs, and LT-LEDS,” said Vinblad. 

“But the most critical point is to ensure that just transition policy measures are truly responsive, rooted in the real economy, considering sector-specific needs, and adapt to local, national and regional circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all when talking about just transition,” Vinblad continued. 

The first Dialogue under the JTWP was convened during the SB60 pre-sessional in the days prior to the formal start of the UNFCCC Bonn Climate Change Conference (SB60). SB60 is scheduled for June 3 – 13, where Vinblad will engage in continued negotiations on just transition, along with other key priority items for USCIB members, such as matters pertaining to climate finance, carbon markets, adaptation, and mitigation. 

The 13th WTO Ministerial Conference Falls Short But Delivers Some Wins for Industry

Renewal of e-commerce moratorium and intellectual property rights secured

New York, N.Y., March 04, 2024—The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) welcomes outcomes from the WTO 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi on two key objectives for U.S. industry: a two-year extension of the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions and a rejection of efforts to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics.

“If the moratorium had expired it would have been an historic setback, representing an unprecedented termination of a multilateral agreement that has allowed the digital economy to take root and grow over the past 25 years,” said President and CEO Whitney Baird who represented USCIB at the ministerial last week. “USCIB is similarly pleased that the WTO failed to extend a TRIPS waiver to diagnostics and therapeutics, a move that would have undermined innovative industries, global health security and international rule of law.”

Another positive outcome, according to Baird, 72 nations officially adopted the Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation, simplifying rules for over 90 percent of the world’s trade in services. USCIB joined the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), for which it serves as the U.S. national committee, in welcoming the move. The agreement text had been concluded in December 2021. USCIB also hails progress at the WTO mapping out linkages and exploring best practices in consultation with industry on trade related aspects of circularity, climate, plastics and other policies aimed at advancing sustainability goals.

The outcomes in Abu Dhabi were mixed, however. USCIB is disappointed that MC13 failed to deliver agreements on agriculture, dispute settlement and fisheries, adding uncertainty to a multilateral trading system already under intense strain. “USCIB looks forward to working with the WTO to deliver outcomes in these sectors favorable to U.S. industry,” said Baird. “As the cornerstone for open, fair and reliable global trade, the WTO is too important to industry to fail.”

USCIB was on the ground in Abu Dhabi with a strong showing of member companies and the ICC, promoting robust digital and innovation safeguards, U.S. leadership on disciplines for sustainable trade, and enhanced roles for plurilateral negotiations and stakeholder engagement at the WTO.

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 the economy, with operations in every region of the world, generating $5 trillion in annual revenues and employing over 11 million workers worldwide. As the U.S. affiliate to several leading international business organizations, including the ICC, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide and works to facilitate international trade and development. More at  www.uscib.org.

USCIB Represents U.S. Business at UN Meetings on Climate (COP28)

USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird (left) moderates a panel during a US Chamber side event

The 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) was gaveled to a close in the late afternoon on December 13 in Dubai, UAE.  

As at all prior Climate COPs in history, USCIB participated actively throughout the two weeks of the conference, constructively advocating for the importance of business inclusion in the UNFCCC process, while closely following the negotiations on a set of key agenda items, including the Global Stocktake, the Just Transition Work Programme and others. The USCIB delegation was headed by USCIB Policy Manager for Environment and Sustainable Development Agnes Vinblad. In addition, USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird, and USCIB Senior Vice President Norine Kennedy joined Vinblad on the ground for parts of the conference. 

USCIB came to COP28 to support a strong, forward looking political outcome of the first-ever Global Stocktake, setting the stage for robust next-round NDCs that will enable the private sector to serve as core implementation partners and leaders.  

Set against the backdrop of global geopolitical uncertainty, the COP28 Presidency had an immense challenge ahead of them in facilitating a successful process with a strong outcome. Despite these concerns, this year’s Climate COP managed to bring multiple key outcomes and commitments. 

At the conclusion of COP28, 198 Parties agreed on the Dubai package called the “UAE Consensus” – the 23 page Global Stocktake outcome document, encompassing a historical decision on the Loss and Damage fund, the Mitigation Work Programme, Just Transition Work Programme, and unprecedented language pertaining to fossil fuel energy and recognizing the need to, “transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner.” 

According to Vinblad, this is the first time in nearly three decades of global climate change conferences, that the COP outcome text includes language on transitioning away from fossil fuels. It is important to recognize that the decision text further references the role of transition fuels, technological solutions such as carbon capture and storage, and the need to ensure energy security.  

“While there are clear gaps in the final decision text, COP28 is already being referred to as one of the most critical UN climate change conferences to date, especially with the conclusion of the very first Global Stocktake,” said Vinblad. “The UAE Consensus makes clear the importance to include all actors in society – including business – to be able to move at the scale and pace needed to speed up mitigation and adaptation efforts, while strengthening resilience and putting a stronger focus on climate finance.” 

COP29 will be hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan and has been dubbed the “finance COP” as governments will have to agree on a new climate finance goal, with the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) being up for decision.  

USCIB Letter to US Administration Welcomes Strong US Leadership at COP28, Highlights USCIB Role at Climate COP

New York, N.Y., November 29, 2023—As the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prepares to open the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai tomorrow, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which will represent the U.S. business community at the Climate COP, sent a letter to U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.

The letter welcomes the continued strong leadership of the Administration in climate change and its constructive focus on catalyzing investment in all forms of energy to support a just transition, new green jobs and sustainable paths to shared prosperity across society.

USCIB also recognizes the unprecedented opportunity which the Inflation Reduction Act offers to mobilize private capital to achieve our shared climate goals and strengthen long-term growth at home and abroad.

For this year’s Climate COP, USCIB will bring a multisectoral delegation of globally leading U.S. companies ready to share commitments and solutions to tackle climate change, while prioritizing investment, employment and shared economic growth in the U.S. and abroad. It has perhaps never been clearer – every sector of American business plays a critical part in strengthening implementation.

USCIB also looks forward to supporting key progress on advanced climate technologies, especially through engagement with the CTCN and the current U.S. leadership of the CTCN Advisory Board.

COP28 has the potential to become the most inclusive COP in history, with governments, Observers, NGOs, business, and wider civil society coming together for the first Global Stocktake to reaffirm commitment to the Paris Agreement and keeping the promise of 1.5 alive.

The letter can be downloaded here.

About USCIB
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) advances the global interests of American business. We do so through advocacy for an open system of world trade, finance, and investment, where business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare, and environmental protection. We are the sole U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). USCIB is also the only U.S. business organization with standing at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and is recognized at the UN Environment Program (UNEP), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD).

USCIB Publishes Reports with Business Recommendations to Help Scale UN SDGs

Guy Ryder (UN) speaks at the USCIB High Level Roundtable during UNGA78
Guy Ryder (UN) speaks at the USCIB High Level Roundtable during UNGA78

New York, N.Y., September 18, 2023 — With the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in full swing, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) announced the release of two highly-anticipated reports that provide recommendations to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit. The reports — Business & the UN 2.0 and Roadmap for Results — focus on inclusive and practical multilateralism that will help scale progress of SDG target action and focus on the role of business and other stakeholders.

The reports begin with a foreword by USCIB Board of Trustees Sustainability Champion and Novozymes CEO Ester Baiget. She writes, “As blueprints for action, Roadmap for Results walks the talk of inclusive multilateralism, offering pragmatic insights and business strategies and a focus on positive impact. Business and the UN 2.0 discusses interfaces between the private sector and the multilateral system.”

USCIB’s Moving the Needle (MTN) initiative launched the reports at a USCIB High-Level Business Roundtable. The Roundtable focused on sustainability, solidarity and shared prosperity and featured high-level speakers from AT&T, Bayer, Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, the U.S. Department of State, the UN, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and many others. Discussion topics included innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the benefit of people and planet and public private partnerships for innovation and infrastructure. Business leaders from USCIB member companies presented practical business recommendations highlighted in the reports, to ramp up implementation of the SDGs and strengthen the UN’s effectiveness and impact.

“USCIB has been a staunch supporter and committed partner to the United Nations since our founding,” said USCIB President and CEO Whitney Baird in closing remarks at the Roundtable. “As the only U.S. business organization at the UN, we take our responsibility seriously to provide solutions and showcase U.S. business leadership.”

About MTN
USCIB launched the MTN initiative during the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly to focus on three priorities identified by the UN President of the General Assembly: Solutions for Sustainability, Science, and Solidarity. Through multistakeholder roundtables, held around the globe in 2022-2023, which culminated in Business & the UN 2.0 and Roadmap for Results, MTN contributed insights to the ongoing deliberations concerning inadequate progress at the halfway mark towards the UN 2030 Agenda.

About USCIB
The United States Council for International Business (USCIB) advances the global interests of American business. We do so through advocacy for an open system of world trade, finance, and investment, where business can flourish and contribute to economic growth, human welfare, and environmental protection. We are the sole U.S. affiliate of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Business at OECD (BIAC) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). USCIB is also the only U.S. business organization with standing at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and is recognized at the UN Environment Program (UNEP), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD).

Vinblad Delivers Business Statement for Final UNFCCC Global Stocktake Technical Dialogue in Bonn

Policy Manager for Environment and Sustainable Development Agnes Vinblad served as head of the USCIB Delegation at the recent Session of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB-58) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany, commonly known as the Bonn Climate Change Conference. According to Vinblad, these sessions serve as the most critical preparatory negotiating meeting ahead of Climate COP each year.

This year’s sessions of the SBs proved particularly challenging, marked by deep disagreements among Parties regarding the adoption of the agendas for the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). According to Vinblad, these disagreements led to especially slow negotiations throughout the first week of the conference, with many Parties consistently calling out the fact that due to there being no adopted agendas, there was no formal mandate to move the negotiations forward.

Despite challenges, Parties eventually reached a compromise and managed to agree on the adoption of agendas on June 14. Being on the ground for the full duration of the negotiations from June 5 – 15, Vinblad emphasized that important progress was still achieved, for example the conclusion of the third and final technical dialogue of the Global Stocktake (GST), technical dialogues on the new finance goal (NCQG) and significant efforts to work towards consensus on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA). For USCIB, negotiations on the GST were of special importance.

The first global stocktake of progress made on the goals set out in Paris Agreement will be one of the central mandates to deliver on for the COP-28 Presidency in Dubai later this year. Working closely with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Vinblad delivered the opening statement on behalf of the Business & Industry Constituency (BINGO) during the opening plenary for the third and final GST technical dialogue.

“Business views the global stocktake as a critical process to identify concrete actions that can be meaningfully implemented by Parties, business and other non-Party stakeholders, with a particular focus on measures for governments to undertake with regards to their domestic technical and policy work, with the ambition to agree on stronger NDCs centered on action”, said Vinblad in summarizing her remarks delivered in the Chamber Hall.

According to Vinblad, for the global stocktake to be effective, there will need to be clear outcomes accompanied by policy roadmaps for business on what interventions are needed down on a sectoral level. “This is what we hope to see at the end of this process,” she added.

Business at OECD Releases Statement Ahead of OECD Ministerial Council

The OECD Ministerial Council is taking place June 7-8 under the theme, Securing a Resilient Future: Shared Values and Global Partnerships. In light of the Ministerial, Business at OECD (BIAC) has released a statement to the OECD with insights drawn from the forthcoming 2023 Business at OECD Economic Policy Survey. Some of the themes addressed in BIAC’s insights include business concerns about the war in Ukraine, which has exacerbated inflation rate developments, labor shortages and energy prices. BIAC also raises concerns about supply chains disruptions, the need for structural reforms around infrastructure, digitalization, regulatory burdens and green transition.

The Ministerial is taking place amid persistent tension in world affairs, including Russia’s illegal war in the Ukraine, which has resulted in insurmountable human suffering in the Ukraine, as well as humanitarian and economic crises globally. Additionally, economies around the globe continue to face challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic and challenges around climate change.

BIAC’s statement emphasizes that this “unsettled world order requires an ever-greater capacity and commitment to multilateral cooperation and collective progress on these common fronts. The engine of societal progress, the world economy, has been paying a high price for an increasingly unstable rules-based international system, and the past year has been challenging for many businesses. The OECD private sector remains committed to defend our common values and rules-based order and continues to support effective government action towards these goals.”

According to BIAC, in the current context, the success of our economies relies on successful diplomacy, meaningful international cooperation and effective multilateralism in support of pragmatic policies.

For more information, please see the links below:

BIAC Statement to the OECD on Securing a Resilient Future: Shared Values and Global Partnerships

2023 Business at OECD Economic Policy Survey

BIAC Year Highlights: How We Delivered Value to Our Members (May 2022-May 2023)

Clark Moderates WITA Panel on Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms

Top row, L-R: Alice Slayton Clark, Ken Ash, Mark Linscott
Second Row, L-R: Catrina Rorke, Ken Levinson, Ludivine Tamiotti

USCIB Vice President for International Investment and Trade Alice Slayton Clark moderated a Washington International Trade Association (WITA) webinar May 5 on Finding Synergies on Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanisms (CBAM). The goal was to review the various international workstreams on carbon mitigation, discuss their synergies and explore how they can achieve climate solutions without disrupting trade.

The panel included experts with extensive knowledge in the field, including Ludivine Tamiotti, secretary to the Committee on Trade and Environment at the WTO, Mark Linscott, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, senior advisor at the Asia Group and former assistant USTR for WTO and Multilateral Affairs, Ken Ash, visiting fellow, Institute for International Trade, Adelaide and former Director of Trade and Agriculture at the OECD, and Catrina Rorke, executive director, Center for Climate and Trade and senior vice president for Policy and Research, Climate Leadership Council.

“With so many international organizations like the OECD, WTO and United Nations, and various government or government entities, such as the G7 and EU, exploring ways to reduce the global carbon footprint, we thought it would be helpful to industry and other stakeholders for this WITA panel to sort it all out,” said Clark in her opening remarks. “A priority for industry is cohesiveness of these efforts.  We are looking for consistency in carbon measurement methodologies and interoperability of carbon mitigation approaches in order to avoid duplicative efforts and potential trade disruptions.”

A collaboration between USCIB, WITA and the Silverado Policy Accelerator sponsors, the webinar drew an audience of nearly 200 participants from 15 countries including Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, the UK, Spain, Turkey, China, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Switzerland and the U.S.

Click here to watch the webinar.

USCIB Team Hosts MTN Roundtable on Solidarity in Doha During LDC5 

USCIB was on the ground in Doha for the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) and to participate in the LDC5 Private Sector Forum (PSF).  USCIB’s Moving the Needle (MTN) Initiative organized a March 8 LDC5 side event in the form of a roundtable on the private sector’s role for solidarity solutions, in partnership with the International Organization of Employers (IOE). 

LDC5, held from March 5-9, focused on accelerating the graduation of LDCs out of the LDC category of the world’s poorest countries. The forty-six LDC countries account for 13% of the world population but only 1.3% of global GDP and less than 1% of global trade and foreign direct investment (FDI).   

The LDC5 Private Sector Forum, co-organized by the United Nations with Microsoft and a business advisory group, emphasized actions and partnerships for LDCs to support the delivery of the new Doha Program of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Forum highlighted important sectors for LDCs, such as agriculture, energy, connectivity and finance and the need to create enabling environments for LDCs to benefit from trade, investment and capacity building. 

USCIB Board Member Chris Sharrock, Microsoft vice president for UN Affairs and International Organizations, opened the MTN Roundtable, stating that “Business plays a key role in delivering inclusive growth, creating opportunities and sustainable development around the world, especially for the 880 million people living across the LDCs.”  He went on to emphasize the necessity of partnerships that are effective, tailored to local needs and goals and that mobilize private sector knowledge and tools.   

The MTN Roundtable featured speakers from USAID, the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and UNIDO, as well as leading IOE employers federation representatives from the DRC, Mali and Zambia.  

USCIB Senior Vice President for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy, Policy Manager for Environment and Sustainable Development Agnes Vinblad and USCIB MTN Initiative consultant Lea Felluss were in Doha to advance U.S. business views and contributions to the sustainable and resilient graduation of LDCs as essential to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

According to Kennedy, “Simply put, solidarity means we cannot deliver the SDGs while leaving the LDCs behind.” 

USCIB Brings Business Recommendations to the Annual UN Partnership Forum 

Norine Kennedy speaks at the UN Partnership Forum

The United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) hosted the annual Partnership Forum at UN headquarters in New York on January 31, bringing together stakeholders across government, the private sector and civil society. The theme for this year’s Forum, which is also the theme of the upcoming UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), was: accelerating the recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels. The Partnership Forum is the first of a series of UN meetings related to SDGs, which will culminate in the UN SDG Summit in September during the High-Level Opening. 

USCIB, as part of the Business and Industry (B&I) Major Group at the UN in NY, played a critical role in this year’s Partnership Forum. USCIB SVP for Policy and Global Strategy Norine Kennedy delivered a private sector intervention as Co-Chair of the B&I Major Group. Additionally, USCIB Board member Chris Sharrock, Microsoft’s VP for United Nations and International Organizations spoke on a panel during a “Spotlight Session” hosted by USCIB and the International Organization of Employers (IOE). 

Throughout the Forum, there was a consensus among governments that the private sector was a necessary participant in partnerships to accelerate progress on the SDGs and reach full implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. 

During her intervention, Kennedy emphasized three priority areas outlined by the President of the UN General Assembly (PGA)—sustainability, science and solidarity. Linking these three priority areas to greater opportunities for private-public partnerships, Kennedy also cited USCIB’s Moving the Needle initiative, which will gather private sector tools and approaches across the three priority areas set by the PGA and to advance proposals set out in “Our Common Agenda,” an agenda-setting report by UN Secretary General Guterres.  

The potential of the private sector to work with governments and the international community for sustainability, science and solidarity solutions is not yet fully tapped, and with how far we have fallen behind on the SDGs, we should not hesitate to crowd in all partners,” said Kennedy.  

“Looking ahead to the SDG Summit, and next year’s Summit for the Future, we are calling for greater inclusivity of business and stronger cooperation across private and public sectors at all levels,” she added.  

During the spotlight session hosted by IOE and USCIB on “unlocking investment and financing for SDG implementation: the role of private sector partnerships,” Sharrock talked about the importance of partnerships and robust private sector engagement to mobilize financing and investment for Least Developed Countries (LCDs) through blended finance.  

“Private sector engagement can make a large impact through sustainable and affordable financing for all sectors at LDCs—in connectivity, agriculture, energy, sustainable tourism as well as climate action. And this can all be done through scaled use of blended finance instruments,” said Sharrock. “The blended finance model creates an opportunity to increase the size and breadth of investment in LDCs by combining public funds with private investment and advisement to increase impact.”  

The UN is co-organizing the Private Sector Forum at the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-5) in Doha, Qatar from March 5 to 9 with Microsoft; USCIB is a member of the Business Advisory Group assisting in planning the LDC5 Private Sector Forum.