The history and meaning of GBDe have evolved over time reflecting emerging trends in the online economy and demands of society. In 2010, GBDe had changed its name from "Global Business Dialogue for e-commerce" to "Global Business Dialogue for e-Society."
Following, reproduced as a historic document, is the original release announcing the formation of the then-named "Global Business Dialogue"
On June 29, 1998, Martin Bangemann, Member of the European Commission, invited business leaders from around the world to participate in a round table discussion on global communications issues. The objective of the meeting was to explore the need for strengthened international coordination.
Among the main questions addressed were "What are the most urgent obstacles and what are the most effective means to remove them?", and "What method of coordination is best suited to respond rapidly and effectively to new challenges?"
The emerging online economy presents new challenges to both private and public sectors. The most urgent issues identified by business:
- Data Protection
We agreed that there is a need for improved cooperation between business and governments on critical issues for the global online economy.
This cooperation would provide substantial benefits to businesses and consumers around the globe. Consumer interests should therefore be taken into consideration.
Conflicting policies, rules and regional patchwork-regulations are obstacles to our business. Therefore, strengthened coordination between industry, governments and international organisations is required.
In view of the global character of the online economy, regulation must be kept to a minimum, be internationally consistent and transparent. It should be proportionate to clearly defined objectives.
The global and diverse nature of the online economy makes it impossible for any single government or body to regulate. As a consequence, industry self-regulation is the preferred approach.
Various international and bilateral business dialogues have already identified priorities for action to deal with regulatory obstacles. However, business coordination must be improved on a global level.
At this meeting, industry papers were submitted as a basis for discussion. It has been agreed to further elaborate on them. Additional contributions made by the round table participants and by other businesses shall be included.
Therefore, it has been proposed to set up a Business Steering Committee, representing businesses from all regions of the world, to ensure that this initiative remains business-led and global.
With a view to establishing closer cooperation at a global level, the industry leaders present in the meeting announced that they have taken the initiative to set in motion a new Global Business Dialogue, to which governments and international organisations will be invited. The task of the Steering Committee will be to make proposals on the process of further cooperation in a Global Business Dialogue.
Such a process could build on the successful experiences of existing models of bilateral industry cooperation.
A global business dialogue should focus on clearly identifying solutions, and providing input on regulation or business self-regulatory codes of conduct in consultation with governments and international organisations.
The business leaders envision as a possible part of this process, a series of business-led and organised meetings, working groups, and conferences. The purpose is to develop and present a global business consensus to governments and international organisations for further actions and cooperation. The Business Steering Committee will announce this September the date, place and proposed agenda of the first conference of the Global Business Dialogue, to occur in the first half of 1999.