5. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

5.7 Pillar 1: state duty to protect

5.7.2 Operational Principles: Legislative and Information Policy Measures

Guiding Principle 3 [page 13]

In meeting their duty to protect, States should:

… (c) Provide effective guidance to business enterprises on how to respect human rights throughout their operations

PI6 Clarify and communicate what the Federal Council expects of business enterprises [page 16]

Governments should provide business enterprises with guidance on action to respect human rights, by clearly defining and communicating their expectations. This was one of the primary demands made by the business sector during the consultation process” and PI18 [page 17]: “The federal government has supported the development of a variety of guidelines on business and human rights in recent years. Further to Recommendation 11 in the Federal Council’s Background Report on Commodities, the federal government is joining forces with NGOs and commodity trading firms to draw up guidelines for the implementation of the UNGP in commodities trading. Under the terms of the mandate, the guidance should include specific recommendations concerning human rights due diligence and reporting. (…) In the financial sector, SECO is supporting the OECD with the drafting of guidance on due diligence in this industry. Planned for the end of 2017, one of the objectives of the guidance is to support financial institutions in Switzerland to mitigate the negative impacts of their business activities on the environment on society around the world, including developing countries. The work is being supported by an advisory group of representatives of the federal government (SECO), industry (UBS), civil society (Public Eye [formerly the Berne Declaration]and the University of Zurich) In the agricultural and food sector, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), as well as the Committee on World Food Security, the UN FAO and the OECD are supporting the formulation of Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, as well as the OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains. Both instruments stress the important role that business has to play in responsible investment, and offer relevant guidance on action. Switzerland will also actively support their implementation.

5.7.4 Business respect for human rights in conflict-affected areas

PI22 Guidelines on human rights due diligence in conflict-affected and high-risk areas [page 26]

Over the years, the federal government has supported the drafting of a number of guidelines addressing the situation in conflict-affected areas. These include the Guidance on Conflict Sensitive Business Practice for the extractive sector issued by International Alert, and the Red Flags Initiative. Switzerland also provides financial support for the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.