Switzerland – PP

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

2.1 Pillar 1: state duty to protect


2.1.3 The State-business nexus

Guiding Principles 4 to 5

Given the federal government’s direct influence on the activities of federal government-associated businesses, it has a particular obligation to ensure that these companies respect human rights, for example by conducting human rights due diligence. It also expects federal government-associated businesses to have in place human rights best practices.

Measure 9: Human rights due diligence by federal government-associated businesses

The Federal Council defines its strategic goals for federal government-associated businesses every four years and expects these companies to pursue a sustainable corporate strategy to the best of their business ability. As regards the protection of human rights, a number of these businesses already exercise due diligence and document these efforts in their reporting.

To advance the implementation of UN Guiding Principles by federal government-associated businesses, interdepartmental coordination must be stepped up. Failure by these entities to meet international standards on human rights due diligence could pose a reputational risk to the federal government. The Federal Council therefore intends to assist federal government-associated businesses in playing a lead role by raising awareness of human rights due diligence and promoting the exchange of best practices, particularly with regard to risk management, monitoring and public reporting. This optional measure is geared primarily towards federal government-associated businesses which work with suppliers and business partners abroad.

The federal government may also run optional training sessions on UN Guiding Principles and human rights due diligence for the members of boards of directors and senior management of federal government-associated businesses.

Objective Indicator Responsibility
Assist federal government-associated businesses in taking a lead role and encourage them to put in place human rights due diligence procedures. Examples of human rights due diligence exercised by federal government-associated businesses.

At least one training session held for federal government-associated businesses.

FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs],

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

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


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.

FDFA [Federal Department of Foreign Affairs],

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

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