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U.S. Sanctions on Companies from Iran as Parties in ICC Arbitration Cases

ICC Switzerland has addressed the issue of sanctions and arbitration in a number of ways, including organizing a seminar with the leading arbitral institutions and the competent U.S. authority OFAC in 2015. Due to sanctions policies and compliance requirements, banks could not make payments to arbitral institutions and arbitrators if one or more parties had a connection to a sanctioned country. According to ICC Switzerland, this resulted in an unacceptable denial of access to justice, a fundamental right of all actors in the market. Finding a solution in the case of ICC dispute resolution is even more complicated, as various regulatory and supervisory authorities are involved.


We are pleased to announce today that a targeted solution has been found and that the ICC Court has the capability to administer payments in arbitrations involving Iran.


In October 2021, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued a special license to the ICC. Under this license, it is permitted to receive and process most payments in ICC arbitrations involving Iran. The ICC has communicated this special license to its banks and requested whether they would be willing to review their current internal policy of refusing to accept payments to or from Iranian or Iranian-related entities.


The ICC has received assurances from at least one of its banks that it is now able to process payments in arbitrations conducted under the ICC Arbitration Rules. ICC banks may request further information to ensure that these transactions are covered by the license. Nevertheless, there may be delays in payments. The ICC is taking all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that the blocked cases can proceed without delay. 


This is an important step notably for the Swiss arbitration community and we are pleased that such ICC cases can now be handled. ICC Switzerland remains vigilant for this challenge.

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New ICC Report

The Circular Economy and International Trade: Options for the World Trade Organization

This report explores the interface between trade and a transition to a more circular economy. In today’s highly integrated economy, international trade plays a critical role in facilitating this transition, by exploiting existing comparative advantages and allowing economies of scale. Goods and services already cross borders at virtually all stages of the circular value chain, from upstream design services to remanufactured goods and secondary raw materials. Yet trade policies are not always aligned with circularity objectives. Similarly, policies aimed at fostering a circular economy can have detrimental effects on trade even if unintended. As the role of trade and trade policy attracts more attention, understanding how it can effectively support a circular economy transition becomes critical for policy makers.


As a contribution to this emerging field of research, this report reviews the main findings of existing literature and supplements it with qualitative insights from interviews with trade policy makers; researchers in non-government organisations; private sector firms operating in different segments of circular economy value chains; and international organisations focused on different aspects of the circular economy. It starts with a short description of the circular economy as a concept, before reviewing the role of international trade in facilitating a transition to a more circular economy. In doing so it explores in particular the role of multilateral institutions and trade policy frameworks, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), and provides specific recommendations for action.


Download the Report here.

November 2021 copy


ICC Framework for Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications


There has been growing interest by the media, government, consumers, and other stakeholders about the impact of human activities on the environment and how to promote “sustainable” consumption and use.  As such, the past few years have seen a renewed interest in environmental marketing, particularly in the context of growing momentum on climate action globally, including collective efforts by governments and businesses to mitigate the threats of climate change and promote sustainable consumption. 

There has also been a proliferation of “environmental” claims and interest in concepts of “environmental sustainability” and “sustainable development,” with growth in general claims that products or services are “eco-friendly,” “green,” “sustainable,” “carbon neutral” and well as some new emerging claims in the marketplace such as “climate neutral”, “climate positive”, “net zero”, “circular”; “natural”, “microplastics-free”, etc.

The ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code, serves as the cornerstone for many national and regional Codes and it is complemented by various sectoral guidelines, such as the ICC Framework for Environmental Marketing Communications (Environmental Framework), which provides added guidance in response to the growing complexity of environmental or “green” marketing claims.

A joint working group was established in June last year, including members from the Commission on Marketing and Advertising and the Commission on Environment and Energy, to work on updating the Environmental Framework to address new issues, concepts and environmental claims that have emerged.


The revised Environmental Framework:

  • - Provides added guidance in response to the growing complexity of environmental or “green” marketing claims, including general claims of “sustainability”, climate-related, circularity, recyclable content, degradability and additional “free-of” claims.

  • - Provides a helpful approach for advertising industry stakeholders to use in developing and analysing environmental claims, consistent with general principles of the ICC Advertising and Marketing Communications Code and specific guidelines in Chapter D on environmental claims.

  • - Assists marketers in assuring that ‘self-declared’ environmental claims are truthful and not misleading and are appropriately substantiated.

  • - Emphasises that environmental marketing claims need to be appropriately qualified and substantiated to avoid misleading consumers. 


Download the framework here.


Global business tells governments at COP26: put a price on carbon, but do it the right way

Glasgow, 3 November 2021 


The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has today called on governments to “get smart” in how they use carbon pricing instruments to accelerate the transition to a net-zero economy at the lowest possible economic cost. 

At an informal dialogue with finance ministers at COP26, the global business organization will publish the findings of an extensive survey of companies’ experience operating under the 60 different carbon pricing regimes in force today throughout the world. 


The results point to widespread concern amongst business about the growing fragmentation of systems used to price greenhouse gas emissions – emphasising that greater international harmonization of policy approaches will be essential to mobilize the private investment needed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 


The ICC report presents 10 core principles for the effective design of carbon pricing instruments, including an appeal to governments to ensure that such measures are focused squarely on reducing GHG emissions – rather than being used, for instance, as a vehicle to boost government revenues. The principles also highlight the imperative to establish clear, transparent pricing frameworks and, moreover, urge governments to pay greater attention to avoiding inconsistencies or conflicts with other energy, trade and taxation policies.  


The report was developed drawing on insights from around 200 companies with international operations – as well as input from ICC’s global network in over 130 countries. 


Download the full report here.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Report on Business Actions to Mitigate Climate Crisis with Credit Suisse and Nestlé case study

ICC United Kingdom published a new report with over 50 case studies, including very relevant case studies by Credit Suisse and Nestlé, from more than 20 countries to demonstrate practical business actions to mitigate climatecrisis.


Find the complete report here for download.



CCIG Series

The ICC-CCIG Series - Trade and Health

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 

17:00 - 19:30

CCIG, Boulevard du Théâtre 4, Genève

More Information, Programme and registration here.


The “ICC-CCIG Series” address major themes related to international trade with a dual purpose: updating Members on issues that are currently being discussed at the United Nations, World Trade Organization and other international organizations in Geneva ; and illustrate the way businesses, actors of world governance, civil society and researchers can successfully cooperate towards common global goals.


This event will discuss the key priority areas that Member States will be addressing at the upcoming World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC12), from 30 November to 3 December in Geneva. These include environmental sustainability, digital economy, trade and health. A sharp focus will be given to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future health crises, and the way SMEs can contribute to a healthier global trading system. 

Our Members

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