Sustainable Business Network’s Terms of Reference

A. Roles and functions:

  1. Mobilize businesses in the region across sectors and countries as an active participant in promoting inclusive and sustainable development;
  2. Act as a force of change for businesses in the Asia-Pacific region by highlighting the need for businesses to: (a) adopt responsible and sustainable business practices based on existing global CSR instruments such as the United Nations Global Compact, Global Reporting Initiative, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and ISO 26000; (b) adopt monitoring and evaluation procedures for implementing these practices and duly report on progress; (c) engage actively in social impact investments or, at a minimum, consider the environmental and social impacts of their investment decisions; (d) generally engage actively in promoting inclusive and sustainable development through public-private partnerships and providing funding or co-financing for development projects, including humanitarian and disaster relief assistance
  3. Be a dialogue partner with governments and voice the perspectives of the business sector regarding inclusive and sustainable development issues, with particular reference to discussing with governments the requirements for an enabling policy environment for the adoption, practice and implementation of corporate sustainability
  4. Promote cooperation among businesses and facilitate exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences across borders among businesses to identify best practices in adopting responsible and sustainable business practices and global instruments and engaging in social/impact investments
  5. Assist in resolving issues in the sustainable and inclusive development of micro-, small- and medium-size enterprises (MSME) in the Asia-Pacific region, in particular in the supply chains of SBN members
  6. Contribute, to the extent possible, to ESCAP organized or sponsored conferences, meetings and events related to sustainability, in particular (but not exclusively) the Asia-Pacific Business Forum and its special events, in the form of providing speakers or papers on pertinent issues reflecting the business perspective, recommendations and best practices
  7. Establish task forces led by EBAC members to focus on specific issues of sustainable and inclusive development in key areas of interest, as identified by EBAC. Task forces shall consist of core EBAC members and associate members from the business community, as well as non-government organizations active in the area of business and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

B. Membership

  1. Membership of SBN will be comprised of members of EBAC who are appointed to task forces and associate members who have been recruited by core EBAC members of task forces. Associate members need to be representatives of businesses or NGOs in the area of business and development from or operating in regional Member and associate Member States of ESCAP, accepted on the basis of a due diligence process. SBN members/associate members conform to and promote ethical and responsible business practices and fully subscribe to United Nations principles and norms. They strive towards full implementation of the principles of the Global Compact and their reputation will partly rest on their association with the United Nations.
  2. The SBN will strive to meet a minimum level of gender balance among its members, which should ideally be 50/50. Geographical balance among its members should also be promoted.
  3. Individual EBAC members can nominate new associate members of SBN task forces on the basis of inputs from the EBAC secretariat and the advice of the Chairs of relevant SBN taskforce. Individual SBN task forces can decide on matter relating to associate membership applications, but must inform to the EBAC Chair, Vice Chair and the Memberships Committees through the EBAC secretariat. SBN task forces may also propose termination of the membership of SBN task force members to the appropriate task force chair based on advice provided by the EBAC secretariat. In principle, membership of associate members who are non-active for a period of two years in SBN, EBAC and/or APBF sessions would be automatically terminated.

C. Chairpersonship

At regular meetings of EBAC, the Council shall elect the Chair of each SBN task force from its members, who shall enjoy membership in the task force for a two-year term. The Chair of each task force shall provide the necessary technical and coordinating support to the task force, EBAC and the EBAC secretariat.

D. SBN Task Forces

  1. The functions and tasks of SBN shall be carried out through the designated task forces (see H.). EBAC may form new task forces under SBN relevant to contemporary issues; such task forces may propose actionable options, including dialogues and capacity building activities. Such activities shall be on-going and involve selected members of the task force. The progress of SBN task forces shall be reported back to EBAC and the EBAC secretariat.
  2. The roles and functions outlined above for the SBN automatically apply to the task forces under the SBN in their respective focus areas. Task forces are to conduct policy dialogues, capacity building workshops, organize networking events, and provide speakers and/or participate on a self-funding basis in ESCAP/EBAC meetings related to their respective areas, and facilitate research in their areas of focus. They shall also play important roles in organizing sessions, panels, round table discussions in the Asia-Pacific Business Forum (APBF).
  3. EBAC members in task forces are to recruit and mobilize associate membership representative of the Asia-Pacific region.

E. Secretariat

The Trade and Investment Division (TID) of ESCAP serves as the secretariat to the SBN and its task forces.

The EBAC secretariat will maintain an interactive SBN website in order to disseminate knowledge and promote the activities of SBN in the public domain. The SBN website shall also enable members to engage in moderated dialogue on relevant issues, be informed of upcoming activities and relevant studies and publications, and have access to other available relevant information on responsible business practices and corporate sustainability.

F. Venue and frequency of meetings

By default the EBAC meetings and venues will be SBN meetings and venues. In between sessions, discussions among members will take place through email, an online collaboration platform on the SBN website, social media and conference calls.

G. Financing

The cost of operations of the SBN secretariat is borne by ESCAP. SBN members attend SBN sessions and participate in task force activities at their own cost. In order to recuperate the costs of capacity building activities they organize, participants in such activities may be required to cover their own participation costs related to travel and accommodation. However, no additional fees for participation shall be charged.

H. Established Task Forces

The SBN shall consist of the following task forces:

  1. Task Force on Green Business
    Chair: Mr. Carson Wen
    EBAC Members: Mr. John Cann, Mr. George (Kam Ho) Yuen, Ms. Barbara Meynert, Ms. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Mr. Isara Vongkusolkit, Mr. Tak Sriratanobhas
    Area of Focus:
    Optimizing the positive impacts of business on the environment and minimizing the negative ones
    Scope:
    • Identify and disseminate good practices on green business
    • Promoting the reduction of waste and the carbon foot print of businesses
    • Increasing use by businesses of renewable energy sources and maximizing energy efficiency
    • Improving recycling and re-use of resources by businesses
    • Increasing the use and production of environmentally sustainable product and services by businesses
    • Adoption of global sustainability platforms and instruments, including sustainability reporting by businesses
    Modalities:
    • Identify and disseminate good practices on green business through cost-effective media such as Internet
    • Prepare check-list for SMEs to evaluate their compliance with “green” business practices
    • Identify projects/activities on green business for implementation by the Task Force
    • Identify commercial projects on green business
    • Contribute to improving governance and policies on green business
    • Raise awareness among stakeholders on the need for green business, the greening of business and the active role to be taken by business in this regard
  2. Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and Entrepreneurship in Business & Development
    Chair: Dr. Sailandra Narain
    EBAC Members: Ms. Rokia Afzal Rahman, Mr. Mohan Suresh, Mr. Kosala Wickramanayake, Mr. U Win Aung, Mr. Rinchen Dorji, Mr. Sazah Sulaiman, Mr. Akash Bhavsar, Mr. Octavio B. Peralta (pending membership of BAC)
    Associate Members: Ms. Truong Thi Kim Anh
    Area of Focus:
    Promoting the development of MSMEs and entrepreneurship for inclusive and sustainable development
    Scope:
    • Promoting the concept of entrepreneurship in business, impact investment, and identifying opportunities for this kind of investment in ESCAP member states, as well as suitable investors
    • Bringing impact investors and governments together to construct an enabling environment for investment and development
    • Promoting responsible and sustainable business practices by MSMEs and throughout the supply chains of which they are a part
    • Promoting the overall development of entrepreneurship in business as an important aspect of inclusive growth, job creation and poverty reduction
    • Promotion of young and women entrepreneurship
    Modalities:
    • Identifying good practices in social, woman and youth entrepreneurship
    • Identifying MSMEs that stand out in terms of adoption of responsible and sustainable business practices
    • Raise awareness among stakeholders on the need for responsible and sustainable business practices by MSMEs, the importance of promoting social, young and women entrepreneurship, and the role of business in this regard
    • Undertake capacity development through training, policy dialogues and demonstration projects
  3. Task Force on Inclusive and Sustainable Trade and Investment
    Chair: Mr. Asif Ibrahim
    EBAC Members: Mr. Tariq M. Rangoonwala, Mr. Mirzan Mahathir, Mr. Richen Dorji, Dr. Juejan Tangtermthong.
    Area of Focus:
    Promoting trade and investment in support of productive job creation, reduction of poverty, and engagement of marginalized group in society and in the economy
    Scope:
    • Promoting trade and investment in Least Developed Countries (‘LDCs’), Landlocked Developing Countries (‘LLDCs’), and Small Island Developing Countries (‘SIDs’)
    • Identifying opportunities and addressing requirements for unemployed people, in particular women and youth, to productively engage in trade and investment
    • Actively engaging in exploring investment opportunities in marginalized underdeveloped regions
    • Promoting trade and investment in environmentally friendly goods and services, and goods and services which have in any case been produced on the basis of good labour practices and with due respect to human rights
    • Actively advocating the adoption by business of global instruments and certification and standard schemes which promote inclusive and sustainable trade and investment
    Modalities:
    • Identify inclusive trade and investment opportunities
    • Raise awareness on opportunities for and the need to promote inclusive trade and investment with clear impact on income generation, skills development and overall poverty reduction, and the role of business in this regard
    • Undertake capacity development through training and policy dialogues, including through the engagement of local chambers of commerce and industry
  4. Task Force on Banking and Finance
    Chair: Mr. Peter Charlton
    EBCAC Members: Mr. George Yuen
    Area of Focus:
    Promoting and mobilizing financial resources for inclusive and sustainable development, and encouraging banks and financial institutions to adopt responsible and sustainable business practices
    Scope:
    • Engaging banks and financial institutions in promoting inclusive and sustainable development
    • Promoting the availability of investment and working capital for social enterprises and enterprises headed by women and young people
    • Promoting the adoption of responsible business practices and corporate sustainability accounting by banks and financial institutions
    • Promoting the overall availability of finance for MSMEs, in particular those that are start-ups, green, and social SMEs
    • Promoting the engagement of private banks and financial institutions in funding development projects, including the provision of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance
    • Promotion and/or expansion of innovative mechanisms, such as crowd-funding and securitization, to ease and facilitate access to finance
    Modalities:
    • Identification of good practices in responsible and sustainable banking and finance
    • Raise awareness and undertake policy advocacy in the area of responsible and sustainable banking and finance and the need for enhanced credit to MSMEs, in particular those that are start-ups by young people and women and those that are green
    • Undertake capacity development through training and demonstration projects
  5. Regional Integration and Connectivity
    Co-Chairs: Dr. Jingjai Hanchanlash, Ms. Barbara Meynert
    EBAC Members: Mr. Tariq M. Rangoonwala, Mr. Oudet Souvannavong, Mr. Win Aung, Mr. Sok Siphana, Mr. Rinchen Dorji, Dr. Juejan Tangtermthong, Mr. Carson Wen, Dr. Liu Xin, Mr. Akash Bhavsar.
    Associate Members: Mr. Pana Janviroj and Mr. Pedro Eloy
    Area of Focus:
    Promoting business-driven connectivity among ESCAP states through enhanced intraregional trade, investment, transport and ICT in support of developing regional and inter-regional value chains
    Scope:
    • Promoting the development of regional and global value chains with the active engagement of SMEs
    • Promoting the sustainability of regional and inter-regional free trade agreements and economic partnership agreements, and their contribution to inclusive and sustainable development
    • Promoting transport and ICT links among countries as well as other infrastructural requirements, for the promotion of intraregional trade and investment
    • Promoting regional certification schemes and standards, and adoption at the regional level of established global certification and standard schemes
    • Promoting regional mutual recognition agreements
    • Promoting region-wide trade or economic partnership agreements
    • Promoting intra- and inter-regional technology transfer and implementation of intellectual property rights, with due regard to the concerns of developing countries
    • Promoting intraregional trade and investment in general with due regard to sustainability issues
    Modalities:
    • Creation of an online platform/network for business that connects SMEs and facilitates their access to global value chains. The platform aims to be global and developed in concentric circles, commencing with an initial setup in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), proceeding to ASEAN, ASEAN++, inter-subregional, regional, inter-regional, and global.