Switzerland – E and CC

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 11: Human rights due diligence by public-private development partnerships

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) Risk Assessment for Partnerships with the Private Sector takes into account the impact that these partnerships could have on human and employment rights, government structures and the environment. Consequently, the federal government will not work with partners which have repeatedly been involved in human rights abuses or cannot provide cogent evidence that they have substantially reduced their exposure to human rights risks.


Guiding Principle 6

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

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.


2.1.5 Policy coherence

Guiding Principle 10

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

As a general rule, an evaluation of the environmental and social risks is integral to the process of approving any project or programme conducted as part of Swiss economic cooperation. The aim is to ensure that any investments Switzerland makes fully comply with applicable legislation and rules, including international human rights standards.

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.


2.2 Pillar 2: the corporate responsibility to respect human rights


2.2.2 Operational principles: human rights due diligence 

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.