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

2.1 Pillar 1: state duty to protect

 

2.1.2 Operational principles: legislative and information policy measures

Swiss legislation does not require companies to carry out human rights due diligence. In response to the popular initiative ‘Responsible Business – Protecting Human Rights and the Environment’, the Federal Council proposed submitting it to the people (referendum), without a counter-proposal. It advised voters to reject the initiative, explaining that it prefers a coordinated approach at the international level and the use of existing instruments, specifically the national action plans on the subjects covered by the popular initiative (NAP on Business and Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Action Plan and the ‘Green Economy’ report). On 14 June 2018, the National Council tabled an indirect counter-proposal, which is still being debated in parliament. The Federal Council is monitoring the debates, as well as international developments, emerging legislative trends on corporate human rights due diligence and the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles by businesses. Of particular interest are legislative changes in the EU regarding the mandatory reporting of non-financial information.

 

2.1.5 Policy coherence

Guiding Principle 10

Measure 19: Promotion of respect for human rights and labour standards within financial institutions

Investments by the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) are subject to full due diligence with regard to its environmental, social (including working conditions) and governance (ESG) responsibilities. The relevant human rights standards are applied in all ESG risk assessments. This means that the risks of human rights abuses are always taken into account in the investment decision-making process. SIFEM partners (fund managers) are required to submit an annual or half-yearly report detailing their ESG activities and any major ESG accidents and incidents. This information makes it possible to improve the monitoring of human rights issues from the initial situation assessment and right through the investment cycle.