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11 Jun 2018

John G. Ruggie

John Ruggie's statement emphasizes importance of reaching workable compromise on Swiss Responsible Business Initiative

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"Statement on Swiss Citizens‘ Initiative. John G. Ruggie, Former UN Special Representative on Business & Human Rights", 10 June 2018

...The wave of globalization that has swept through the world over the past generation demonstrates the scale mismatches and governance gaps between transnational enterprises and the capacity of societies to deal effectively with the adverse consequences those enterprises may generate.  The UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) are intended as a framework to narrow these gaps.  When I delivered the UNGPs to the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, I said that building on this framework will require a smart mix of policies and regulations...We’ve done quite well on the policy front, with soft uptake of the UNGPs by states, international institutions, business enterprises, as well as civil society and workers organizations...In a growing number of instances the UNGPs have also been deepened and made more robust by the adoption of hard law.  For example, the various modern day slavery acts, non-financial reporting requirements, and the French due vigilance law draw on and reference the UNGPs.  Similarly, Canada has recently established the office of an ombudsperson, whose remit includes the human rights dimensions of Canadian businesses’ overseas operations...[B]y reaching a workable compromise on the Citizen’s Initiative, Switzerland would not be alone in adopting more progressive steps to address the scale mismatches and governance gaps that exist in the world economy today—and which, not coincidentally, are one of the major causes of the rise of extreme forms of populism on the political left and right alike. Other countries have already taken such steps. Safeguarding the Swiss brand is in the interest of all Swiss, be they natural or legal persons.