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10 Oct 2016

Swiss Responsible Business Initiative

Swiss quality must include the protection of human rights and the environment

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The Swiss Responsible Business Initiative will be presented to the Swiss authorities today.  The 80 civil society organizations supporting the initiative share one common goal: Swiss quality must incorporate the protection of human rights and the environment.  The 120'000 valid signatures gathered for the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative will be handed over to the Swiss government...The constitutional amendment proposed by the initiative is based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...The initiative compels Swiss-based multinational companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence in all their business activities abroad.  In practice, companies will have to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how they address their adverse human rights and environmental impacts and those of the entities under their control.  If a corporation does not fulfill its mandatory due diligence, it may be held to account for abuses committed by a subsidiary abroad...This initiative is part of a wider international trend towards binding rules for multinational companies...According to a recent survey, 89% of the population wants Swiss-based companies to be compelled to respect human rights and the environment abroad.  Furthermore, 92% think that corporations should ensure that companies under their control do the same.

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Switzerland: Responsible Business Initiative rejected at ballot box despite gaining 50.7% of popular vote

Switzerland: NGOs present Govt. with petition calling for mandatory human rights due diligence for companies operating abroad