The Korean government’s initiative to engage international business leaders in the G20 process last year was received positively by both government and business leaders. In their Seoul Summit declaration, G20 leaders stated that they “look forward to continuing the G20 Business Summit in upcoming summits” in recognition of “the importance of private sector-led growth and job creation”.
Business leaders also expressed interest in continuing the process. In his closing remarks on behalf of business participants, SEB Chairman Marcus Wallenberg encouraged the World Economic Forum and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to work together to bring this about. Following consultations earlier this year with the French government, the Forum and ICC formed a joint initiative to develop proposals for leaders on topics corresponding to the priorities President Sarkozy has identified for the G20’s work in 2011.
This report contains concrete recommendations to increase economic growth and job creation, in particular in areas such as transparency and anti-corruption, infrastructure development, green growth, commodity price volatility and food security. These recommendations have been developed over the past half-year by seven working groups of the Forum’s International Business Council as well as the ICC’s G20 Advisory Group.
This initiative has involved a number of positive innovations.
First, as suggested by a number of G20 sherpas in a meeting with the Forum and ICC during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011 in Davos-Klosters, we are pleased to transmit these interim recommendations at a much earlier stage of the G20’s preparations than last year, in order for them to be considered while the Cannes Summit’s agenda and decisions are still being formulated. Many of the specific working groups, such as the food security working group, have been working directly with the relevant ministries to maximize their positive impact.
Second, this final report is being transmitted to President Sarkozy and other G20 leaders in September, following a full-day review by CEOs and G20 troika sherpas and ministers during the International Business Council’s summer meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 25 August. This review helped ensured the rigour, relevance and realism of the proposals being put forward.
Third, this year’s report goes beyond broad policy recommendations and focuses on specific, concrete actions. CEOs developed three types of proposals: those requiring government action, those that the private sector could implement directly, and those requiring public-private partnership. For example, the anti-corruption working group recommends G20 government action on fully implementing international anti-corruption commitments, private sector action in developing integrity assurance programmes and public-private cooperation in developing “white lists” to recognize companies that show consistent leadership in anti-corruption. Across the working group recommendations, companies make a number of specific commitments of actions, expertise and resources to support this new, more action-oriented agenda.
Fourth, these recommendations have been developed in a spirit of cooperation and openness to ensure that the best recommendations are put forward, regardless of origin. Working groups have worked closely with other organizations, such as the World Food Programme on food security and the OECD and Transparency International on anti-corruption. We have coordinated our efforts with the French Business Association, MEDEF, with the view that the B20 should reflect the opinions and recommendations coming from all different business task forces and present a consistent and coherent set of conclusions to the G20.
Most of the topics the joint Forum-ICC G20 Task Force has been asked to address are too fundamental and multi-faceted for governments or businesses to successfully address alone. Deeper, sustained cooperation between the public and private sectors encompassing both policy formulation and implementation – advice and action – is required if the G20’s ambition of stronger, more sustainable and more balanced global economic growth is to be fully realized.
It is in this spirit that chief executive officers and chairmen of 80 of the world’s leading corporations offer the following agenda of smart policy and practical action on some of the most pressing challenges of our time for consideration by leaders of G20 countries. These recommendations of World Economic Forum working groups reflect the views of working group members alone and do not represent an institutional position of the World Economic Forum, nor do they necessarily represent the institutional position of the companies of participating CEOs.