The Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action – established in Washington DC in April 2019 on Finland’s initiative – brings together fiscal and economic policymakers from over 50 countries in leading the global climate response and in securing a just transition towards low-carbon resilient development.

Speech by ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO on the margins of the World Bank Group/International Monetary Fund 2021 Spring Meetings

Tuesday, 6 April 2021, 10:54-11:19 (ET)

Session 3 – Making Progress Towards Decarbonization: Dialogue with Key Stakeholders

The global business community stands squarely behind collective efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°c.

The science is clear. The long-term economic argument is compelling.

  • But how do we unlock that opportunity to the fullest possible extent?

  • How do we enable all businesses to take action aligned with a net-zero future?

  • And that, means “enabling the global sme ecosystem to deliver at scale”

  • MSMEs make up almost 90% of businesses worldwide.

  • Employ more than two billion people and are the foundation of the global economy.

  • They also account for more than 50% of GHG emissions.

  • But MSMEs are an afterthought when it comes to global discussions on climate action.

  • It’s time to reframe the debate.

  • MSMEs are the lynchpin in any economy-wide transition to net zero.

  • Enterprising SMEs can also drive the innovation needed to meet the climate challenge – across renewable energy, hydrogen, carbon removal and zero-emission mobility solutions.

  • MSMEs see quite clearly the need to take effective climate action – now !

  • Witness the extraordinary commitment of millions of SMEs to the ICC Chambers Climate Coalition

But MSMEs are often unable to align with the goals of Paris

At this point in time SMEs are struggling just to get by – rather than thinking about investing in a greener future.

  • This roadblock to a real economy approach to climate action will be all greater following the economic shock caused by the pandemic.

  • Expecting MSMEs with increasingly weak balance sheets – and increasingly pessimistic views of their futures – to voluntarily make the investments needed to reduce their emissions footprint, or boost their resilience to a changing climate, just isn’t realistic

  • That’s why – we launched last September the SME Climate Hub, to provide a positive incentive to change.

  • To provide a central platform to way to make climate action a commercial opportunity for all SMEs everywhere.

  • Don’t understate the costs that companies can incur in making the transition to a low-carbon trajectory throughout their operations…

  • Which is why we are partnering with multinational companies to provide clear procurement preferences and preferential financing opportunities to MSMEs that have made a recognised net-zero commitment.

But that is only one part of what is needed…

Effective government policies to incentivize MSMEs to invest in a net-zero future are just as important.

We urge this coalition to commit to a comprehensive suite of fiscal interventions to align fiscal and market signals with our shared commitment to ambitious climate action.

  • This should, in our view, include:

  • Efficient and cost-effective SME-friendly carbon-pricing instruments – and by using the proceeds of such interventions to support SMEs in their climate efforts.

  • Improved access to finance for MSMEs with clear climate targets and strategies through strengthened loan guarantee schemes.

  • Accessible and consistent frameworks to enhance MSME climate-related financial disclosure.

  • Broadening the scope of global banking and regulatory mandates to incorporate climate and sustainability related risks and objectives.

  • And, including MSMEs in climate policy development and implementation.

  • ICC stands ready to serve as the MSME focal point in any way we can.


We encourage you to work with us

To remove the obstacles SMEs face in aligning their operations with the Paris Agreement…

Visit the SME Climate Hub

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We have been saddened to learn that Emmanuel Gaillard, the leading arbitration counsel, arbitrator and academic of his generation, passed away today at age 69.

The ICC International Court of Arbitration expresses deep grief and extends sincere condolences to Professor Gaillard’s colleagues, friends and family.


Every arbitration practitioner, anywhere in the world, is indebted in one way or another to him. Professor Gaillard paved avenues of thinking that remained unexplored, established bold practices and shaped arbitration theory and practice that guarantee the success of arbitral resolution of commercial and investment disputes for decades to come. His legacy will remain a foundational stone of modern international arbitration.

Professor Gaillard was also a friend and a great supporter of ICC. He most recently took an active part in the selection of the next president of the ICC Court.

Emmanuel Gaillard’s passing is an irreparable loss to the global arbitration community, ICC, and to each of us individually. He will be greatly missed.

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New publication shines a light on the proliferation – and worrying fragmentation – of private antitrust enforcement regimes

A new ICC publication shines a spotlight on the increasingly fragmented nature of national regimes designed to allow citizens and companies to claim compensation if they are the victims of alleged antitrust abuses.

Once a phenomenon limited to the United States, the past decade has seen a proliferation in new rules across more than 40 jurisdictions to allow private actions to enforce competition law – spurred, in part, by the European Union Damages Directive in 2014. The new analysis – developed through an extensive survey of ICC’s global network – emphasises how this growing patchwork of rules creates severe difficulties for firms in understanding and navigating legal risks when operating in multiple markets.

The ICC Compendium of Antitrust Damages Actions – which contains an unprecedented cross-jurisdiction review of landmark cases across economic sectors and industries – aims to help business understand the heightened risks they face of being sued for damages in light of the growth of this novel area of antitrust law.

In doing so, the ICC Compendium calls on companies to implement effective compliance procedures to mitigate potential antitrust risks – while also pointing to the need for greater harmonisation of national legal systems to avoid creating undue barriers to cross-border trade and investment flows.

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “All businesses, regardless of their sizes or sectors, need to understand the risks they face in operating internationally. We hope the Compendium will enable companies to better understand potential antitrust risks in their international operations – reducing the risk of legal uncertainty placing a chilling effect on the investments and cross-border trade that will be vital in driving a resilient recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.” Mr Denton added: “The growing fragmentation of national approaches to private competition enforcement highlighted by the report should be a wakeup call to governments as regards the need for greater alignment of national regimes – both to ensure effective redress for anti-competitive behaviour and to avoid creating undue barriers to welfare-enhancing commercial activities.”

The ICC Compendium does not seek to explore the complexities of each legal system but, rather, identifies nine key issues – serving as an easy access reference point, illustrated by relevant case-law and decisions across a spread of geographies.

François Brunet, Chair of the ICC Task Force on Antitrust Damages Actions said: “The Compendium provides a much needed overview of key decisions in this novel – and often uncertain – area of antitrust law. Our extensive survey of national decisions should enable greater understanding of how courts have dealt with certain issues – which, we hope, will help drive greater harmonization of national enforcement. The study should also provide competition authorities a broader understanding of the consequences of their approaches based on learning from other jurisdictions.”

The new report was published following over a year of work by members of ICC’s Commission on Competition – comprising leading antitrust experts from business and private practice in over 100 jurisdictions.

Download the ICC Compendium of Antitrust Damages Actions

To find out more about the work of the ICC Competition Commission please contact Caroline Inthavisay.

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International Chamber of Commerce South Africa.