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9 Jul 2019

Public Eye

A pioneering analysis of Swiss agricultural traders – responses from firms lack substance

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For years, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has collected reports and accounts of human rights violations in our globalised economy. Our latest report on Swiss agricultural traders was published in this database. Off the back of that, the Resource Centre contacted the companies we had investigated for their comments. 11 of the 16 agricultural traders responded to the request for comment. Most answers were not however specific statements responding to the alleged human rights abuses and neither did they credibly refute the accusations levied in our report.

Over half of the companies failed to address the report or the sector or company-specific information discussed in it... We see this as a clear admission that there is something wrong in the sector.

Even firms that issued detailed responses to our report failed to provide much substance. They restricted themselves to simply pointing out missing data points. The gaps in our data are due to the opacity of the sector...

Our key findings have not been contested by any of the companies – the argument is simply that they apply to others but not the firm itself. As we lay out in our Public Eye rejoinder to company reactions, we stand by our argument that after decades of failed attempts at self-regulation by companies, binding measures to resolve the problems associated with this sector are long overdue...