Switzerland – Supply Chains

2 National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights 2020-23

2.1 Pillar 1: state duty to protect


Guiding Principles 1 to 3

2.1.2 Operational principles: legislative and information policy measures

Measure 7: Reduction in human rights risks associated with gold extraction and trading

Switzerland will continue to support the implementation of OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and other relevant guidelines. As recommended in the above report, it will explore the possibility of granting the Central Office for Precious Metals Control wider responsibilities, including with respect to transparency on the provenance of gold imported to Switzerland.


Measure 8: Human rights in tourism

The tourism sector is a major driver of the Swiss economy. However, tourism can have adverse impacts on human rights. For example, local communities may be forced to vacate an area to make way for new hotels, workers may suffer human rights abuses, and children may be exploited and fall victim to sex tourism (cf. Measure 27 below).

The federal government supports the Roundtable on Human Rights in Tourism assessment of human rights impacts along the tourism value chain. This project, which will initially focus on Thailand, adopts a multi-stakeholder approach and seeks to develop practical guidelines for the tourism industry as a whole.


2.1.3 The State-business nexus

Guiding Principle 6

The federal government is committed to ensuring that the value chains of goods purchased by the public sector are free of human rights abuses. It promotes respect for human rights by business enterprises with which they conduct commercial transactions.


Measure 12: Criteria under the core ILO conventions in public procurement at federal level

The Federal Council attaches great importance to sustainable public procurement practices. Public procurement practices in Switzerland are governed by the Federal Act on Public Procurement (PPA) and the Ordinance on Public Procurement (PPO). The PPA stipulates that the federal government must, as a minimum, monitor compliance with the core ILO conventions where goods and services are to be supplied abroad. The contracting authority may require bidders to comply with other core international labour standards, provide proof of compliance, and agree to audits.

The Public Procurement Act is currently being revised in line with changes to the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) 2012. The PPA (as amended) will include all three pillars of sustainability – economic, environmental and social. Accordingly, the principle of sustainable public procurement will govern the interpretation and implementation of the PPA and the PPO. In its recommendations on sustainable procurement, the Federal Procurement Conference specifically calls for social, environmental and economic factors to be taken into account, including the human rights criteria covered by the core ILO conventions. It also recommends that sustainability criteria be reflected in award procedures.

The federal government will also explore the option of creating a national platform to promote sustainable public procurement practices and facilitate information-sharing between the different levels of government.

Objective Indicator Responsibility
Promote sustainable public procurement practices and information-sharing between the different levels of government. The possibility of creating a national platform for sustainable public procurement was explored. FDF [Federal Department of Finance],

DETEC [Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications],

EAER [Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research].


2.1.5 Policy coherence

Measure 22: Commitments by Switzerland to the UN Guiding Principles at multilateral level

Within the ILO, Switzerland supports the follow-up to the 2016 ILO Resolution on the UN Guiding Principles and global supply chains


2.2 Pillar 2: the corporate responsibility to respect human rights


2.2.2 Operational principles: human rights due diligence 

Measure 29: Public-private partnerships to promote respect for human rights in the value chain

To promote the implementation of labour rights and human rights by business enterprises, the federal government, together with the ILO, supports the Better Work programme for the textile industry and the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) programme to support SMEs in creating decent working conditions. These projects are jointly run by the ILO, governments, the private sector and unions, and are focused on compliance with fundamental labour standards, including measures to combat child and forced labour. The tools developed by these programmes are shared with the private sector.

The federal government supports a project to promote human rights due diligence with a view to preventing the exploitation of Syrian refugees and migrant workers in neighbouring countries (Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan). The aim is to strengthen the contribution that business enterprises make to providing decent work opportunities and combatting exploitation in the textile, agricultural and construction sectors in these countries.

As part of its foreign policy efforts, Switzerland establishes public-private partnerships to promote measures aimed at combatting human trafficking.

Objective Indicator Responsibility
Establish partnerships with the private sector to create decent work opportunities in value chains. Swiss and private sector contributions to the Better Work and SCORE programmes and to projects aimed at protecting migrant workers from exploitation. Establish partnerships with the private sector to create decent work opportunities in value chains.

Measure 30: Guides and tools to implement the UN Guiding Principles

Most business enterprises use certification and private labels (e.g. UTZ, Fairtrade, and amfori/BSCI) as a means of ensuring compliance with social and environmental standards along the entire value chain. The federal government intends to help businesses identify which certifications meet the human rights due diligence standards under the UN Guiding Principles.