5. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

5.6. Relation to the Federal Council position paper on CSR [page 12]

The federal government’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is set out in the Federal Council’s CSR position paper on corporate social and environmental responsibility31. The CSR position paper addresses a very broad spectrum of issues of relevance to corporate social responsibility. These include working conditions (including health safeguards), human rights, the environment, preventing corruption, fair competition, consumer interests, tax and transparency. The present report and NAP in fulfillment of postulate 12.3503 and the CSR position paper on corporate responsibility are therefore complementary and of equal status.

5.7 Pillar 1: state duty to protect

5.7.2. Operation Principles: legislative and information policy measures

Guiding Principle 3 [page 20]

PI13 Corporate sustainability reporting

The Federal Council is closely monitoring developments with regard to the legally binding reporting of non-financial information in the EU. It is prepared to examine possible action, which would be as congruent as possible with international regulation, and intends to draw up a consultation draft on sustainability reporting that will be based on the EU instrument. Work will begin when more is known about the way in which EU Member States intend to implement the Directive. Swiss business enterprises are not obliged to report on sustainability issues. However, in line with the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by all UN Member States, and in particular to achieve SDG 12.6, companies are encouraged to introduce sustainable practices and to include sustainability information in their reporting. Accounting legislation requires all companies that are subject to an ordinary audit pursuant to Article 727 of the Swiss Code of Obligations (CO) to include a general assessment of risk in their management report. This also includes human rights risks, where these are present. Listed companies are also obliged by Article 53 of the SIX Swiss Exchange Listing Rules to report on human rights matters where these might affect the company’s share price. The Federal Council recommends incorporating the human rights risks which business enterprises identify in their due diligence processes, for example, in their sustainability reports.

5.7.5 Policy coherence

Guiding Principle 8 [pages 28-29]

PI28 Coherence between the various policies, strategies and action plans

Economic, social, environmental, development and human rights policies are all interrelated elements of a policy to promote sustainable development. The Federal Council attaches great importance to coherence between these policies. The issue of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is dealt with in the position paper and action plan of the Federal Council on corporate responsibility for society and the environment. CSR and business and human rights are also mentioned in the goals of the 2030 Agenda, as well as in several federal government strategies. These include, for example, this present Action Plan, the Sustainable Development Strategy, the Dispatch on Switzerland’s International Cooperation, the Foreign Policy Report86, the Foreign Economic Policy Report, the FDFA Human Rights Strategy 2016-201988, the Swiss Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders89 and the National Action Plan to Fight Human Trafficking. Consistent policies on business and human rights are ensured by incorporating the UNGP into these strategies. The Federal Council incorporated the UNGP, as a key reference framework for State activities in the business and human rights sphere, into the Sustainable Development Strategy, which it endorsed as part of its legislative planning programme in early 2016. The Principles incorporated into the Strategy include recognition of the federal government’s duty to protect, as well as the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights.