The Business 20 (B20) group has risen to prominence as a global business platform that plays a crucial role in shaping policies. Within the G20, the B20 stands out as one of the most influential engagement groups, facilitating meaningful dialogues between the international business community, G20 decision-makers, and governments.
B20’s inception goes back to 2010, when it was first constituted under the South Korean G20 presidency, from when the Confederation of Indian Industry has had the opportunity to participate and represent Indian businesses. Since then, B20 has been providing a stage for business leaders from G20 economies to discuss issues of global economic and trade governance, ideate on solutions to pressing economic challenges, and provide policy recommendations for G20 governments to consider. Over the years, as we continue to represent Indian businesses in the B20, we have been witnessing the group gain in strength and visibility.
The current geopolitical uncertainties have posed significant challenges to the nascent, post-pandemic economic recovery. India took over the G20 presidency at a time global businesses were going through turbulence caused by the pandemic, disruptions to global value chains, and extreme climate events. These called for a revitalised corporate impetus.
The G20 India theme, ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, underscored the importance of resilient business systems and practices in the face of uncertainties. B20 India, hosted by the CII as the B20 India secretariat, seized the opportunity to focus on amplifying the voices of developing countries. B20 India’s core principles, guided through the overarching theme of RAISE—responsible, accelerated, innovative, sustainable and equitable businesses—guided the deliberations throughout the course of B20 India for fostering a strong, resilient, and equitable global economy.
Through the B20 India platform, we worked towards redefining the global economic environment and forming clear, precise, timely, and necessary recommendations to address shared concerns. Under the leadership of N Chandrasekaran, chair of B20 India, a diverse team of business leaders and experts collaborated through seven task forces and two action councils.
With the participation of a wide range of businesses representing 35+ countries and participation from more than 25 sectors, B20 India strengthened international cooperation and evolved concrete partnerships over the year of India’s presidency. Cumulatively, this inclusive approach involved approximately 1,500 members from all G20 members and invitee countries, along with numerous stakeholders globally. The year-long process received invaluable support from the international advisory caucus.
B20 India’s impact extended beyond formal deliberations, with over 110 policy advocacy and outreach initiatives gathering more than 20,000 delegates to disseminate key messages. The B20 task forces and action councils dedicated meticulous efforts to develop actionable recommendations across various themes, leading to groundbreaking ideas and solutions.These diligent efforts have yielded results as showcased in nine policy reports. As a result, B20 India formulated 54 recommendations and 172 policy enablers through its task forces and action councils, nearly 80 percent of which have been considered and adopted by the G20.
Notable accomplishments included the study of accelerating services trade and enhancing technology in trade, the rollout of digital public infrastructure, and the promotion of digital trust through harmonising cybersecurity standards. Recommendations also addressed the sustainability and climate change imperative, focusing on net-zero transition, common ESG reporting standards, and harmonised international carbon markets.
Looking ahead, B20 India outlined three key initiatives for the coming years including the establishment of a B20 Global Institute, which would provide knowledge, research and policy advocacy to global enterprises, ensuring a continuation of priorities. The institute, led by businesses, will focus on building resilient global value chains, leveraging digital innovations and AI for social good, fostering innovation, sustainability, energy transition, and promoting ESG principles and inclusion. It will collaborate with businesses globally to drive new opportunities.
Another outcome was accelerating financial support for decarbonisation efforts in the Global South, aligning with India’s focus during its G20 presidency. This initiative aims to develop strategies and address financing for hard-to-abate sectors to advance decarbonisation.
B20 India also recommended the establishment of a Global SDG Acceleration Fund or GSAF, a global multi-donor fund facilitating private sector participation in funding progress towards the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) in developing economies. GSAF aims to bridge the SDG financing gap by bringing together governments, the private sector, and philanthropies, leveraging credit enhancement tools and blended finance.
Through these efforts, B20 India represented a collective aspiration for a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive global economy. Building on the work of previous B20 deliberations, it set a new agenda for a transformative future. We believe that the commitment, collaboration, and visionary thinking of stakeholders involved in B20 India have paved the way for a brighter and more equitable future for the world.
This article was first published in The New Indian Express, on 5th January 2024.