Our mission, history and values

ICC makes it easier for businesses to trade internationally. Everything we do on behalf of business drives a more peaceful, sustainable and prosperous future for all.

What is the mission of ICC? 

The mission of ICC is to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere by promoting open international trade and investment systems that foster peace, prosperity and opportunity for all.

Our neutrality and independence is the key determinant of our ability to build trusted relationships with policymakers and international organisations – and is the hallmark of the products and services we provide to companies large and small to enable cross border commerce. 

We support multilateralism as the best way to address global challenges and are uniquely positioned as a globally connected and representative business organisation to speak with authority on behalf of enterprises from all sectors in every region of the world. Combined, our national committee and World Chambers Federation networks reach over 170 countries, encompassing more than 45 million businesses from SMEs to the large multi-national companies.   

Through our long history, we have witnessed the power of international commerce to lift millions of people out of poverty. Today, we work to advance our purpose to secure peace, prosperity and opportunity for all by combining our global influence and unmatched expertise in advocacy, standard setting activities, commercial dispute resolution and provision of global services. We support the international community through the promotion of international trade and the delivery of practical tools and services to adapt and meet the challenges of globalisation towards a more inclusive and sustainable future. 

What is the history of ICC? 

Our conviction that trade is a powerful force for peace is a legacy of our founders who called themselves “Merchants of Peace”, believing fervently that strong and mutually beneficial commercial ties among nations would not only make them more prosperous but also less likely to go to war.  

ICC was founded in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War, at a time when no world system of rules governed trade, investment, finance or commercial relations. Our founders were a group of industrialists, financiers, and traders determined to replace fear and suspicion with a new spirit of hope and cooperation. Acting on their conviction that the private sector is best qualified to set global standards for business, they called themselves “Merchants of Peace”.

ICC emerged as an organisation that would represent business everywhere. A century after our founding, ICC issued a Declaration on the Next Century of Global Business setting out a vision to shape the future of global business for the next century. Via the declaration, we embrace ICC’s renewed purpose to enable business worldwide to secure peace, prosperity and opportunity for all. 

View the ICC Declaration on the Next Century of Global Business

What are the values of ICC? 

The corporate culture at ICC is based on shared values – the foundation of the work we’ve done for more than 100 years. 

The ICC Way” provides a framework to accomplish our goals, show our strength in the diversity of our global representatives, united in a common method of collaboration and decision making: 

We are Connected

We leverage networks, technology and effective communication to unify business for a better world. 

We are Pioneering

It’s in our DNA to develop the standards, partnerships and initiatives which chart the course for a more prosperous future. 

We are Liberated

While we respect many conventions and protocols of the past, our drive to speak out and transform helps us to go further faster. 

We are Generous

Above all else, our commitment to ICC’s purpose is evident in the way we enable and care about the people who help us to achieve it. 

This unique approach – combined with our unmatched network sets us apart as a private sector leader and on the international stage.