Switzerland – Export Credit

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

Measure 10: Human rights due diligence by business enterprises covered by Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) and supported by Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE)

The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Common Approaches for Officially Supported Export Credits and Environmental and Social Due Diligence is constantly being updated and developed. Switzerland contributes to this process. The guidelines are intended, among other things, to provide greater protection against business-related human rights abuses, and they are widely recognised as constituting an international standard by export credit agencies and export risk insurance providers.

The SERV Ordinance (as amended) expressly requires insurance applicants to disclose human rights-related information. Unlike many other export credit agencies, SERV does not grant export credits, i.e. engage in direct lending, but solely provides insurance and guarantees, i.e. pure cover. SERV does not provide cover or accept liability in respect of claims relating to projects that do not meet international human rights standards because of the insured party’s activities.

Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) works on behalf of the federal government and the Swiss cantons to promote exports and attract companies to Switzerland. It helps companies exploit new international markets, thus promoting Switzerland’s as a business location. S-GE has a Code of Conduct28 which is intended to ensure that its staff are not implicated in human rights abuses by Swiss companies. If S-GE determines that a company has committed a human rights abuse, it will decline the mandate in question.

Objective Indicator Responsibility
A rights-aware approach in all export promotion activities. Human rights due diligence by SERV (source: report to Federal Council on the achievement of strategic objectives). Verification of compliance with Code of Conduct (source: S-GE monitoring report submitted to the EAER).  

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