World business calls on G20 leaders to act with greater urgency

  • 1 July 2019

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has responded to this year’s G20 Communique, warning that world leaders must show greater urgency in responding to a range of global challenges and tensions.

ICC has welcomed G20 leaders’ continued resolve to “build a society capable of seizing opportunities, and tackling economic, social and environmental challenges”, but cautioned that real action is required in the short-term to achieve the G20’s longstanding goal of driving strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “We certainly commend the G20 leaders’ resolve to ensure a level-playing field for trade and investment, but many of us are left asking where is the action plan? Businesses, workers and consumers are united in recognizing the imperative to upgrade the rules governing the global trading system. However, the Osaka Communique falls short of delivering a roadmap for much-needed reform of the World Trade Organization rulebook.”

“With the multilateral trading system starting to fray at the edges, we need to see real leadership from G20 leaders to establish a realistic pathway for WTO reform capable of making trade work for everyone, everywhere.”

In other areas, ICC is encouraged by the commitment from several G20 countries to attain carbon neutrality by 2050, and encourages other leaders to build on this momentum but warned that collective political leadership and increased ambition is needed to keep climate change high on the global political agenda and to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement.

Mr Denton said: “Given that G20 countries account for over 70% of global emissions, their leaders must ramp up ambition with the greatest sense of urgency. What we have seen in Osaka is a useful stepping stone, but – in reality – nothing more than a positive signal of intent. We need to see world leaders come to the table by 2020 with bold commitments and concrete plans to achieve emissions reductions at pace over the coming decade. The message from business is clear: that there can be no excuse for inaction on the growing climate emergency.”  

Ahead of the Osaka Summit, ICC called on G20 leaders to demonstrate the political will and leadership needed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – underscoring the crucial role of the private sector in advancing the ambitions of the Paris agreement through real climate action and innovation.

A centenary declaration issued by ICC this May – on behalf of the organization’s 45 million members – warned that without concerted action by global leaders to drive collective solutions, global disruptions and intergovernmental tensions would become more pronounced.

Mr Denton concluded: “International cooperation is vital to tackle global challenges that transcend borders – from climate change to growing inequalities. ICC stands ready to work with all governments that share our vision of establishing policy frameworks which enable business to secure peace, prosperity and opportunity for all.”