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20 Sep 2019

SwissHoldings, economiesuisse

SwissHoldings/economiesuisse letter: "Your request regarding the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative"

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13 September

...We understand your organisation has contacted those companies which signed a letter sent to Members of Swiss Parliament dated 8 August 2019, and that you are seeking clarification regarding their position towards the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative („RBI“). As the original letter was submitted jointly, our members again decided to submit a coordinated response. Accordingly, this letter should be regarded as the official reply of the companies that we represent. 

economiesuisse is the umbrella organisation of Swiss business. SwissHoldings represents the interests of Swiss-based multinational enterprises from the manufacturing and service sector...

The purpose of the letter to Swiss Parliament is to convey the view of the signing companies within the Swiss domestic political dialogue and process. As laid out in the letter, our members are concerned about how the initiative and the „indirect counterproposal“ („GGV“) aim to implement obligations of companies related to human rights protection in Swiss national law. In fact, both proposals are incompatible in key aspects with related approaches followed by important other jurisdictions, in particular the European Union...

Again, we would like to stress that this position does not conflict with our commitment to participating in further developing the agenda on business and human rights. To this end, we welcome the proposal recently announced by the Swiss Federal Council to fully align the Swiss regulatory approach with the policies and instruments implemented by the EU and some of its member states, in particular regarding human rights due diligence processes...

***economiesuisse and SwissHoldings sent the following update on 20 September***

We are referring to our letter to you dated 13 September 2019 and thank you for the publication of our response to your request on your website. As part of our response, we have provided you with a list of examples on the broad involvement of our member companies in important initiatives that promote human rights in business. In this context, we want to clarify that the specific nature of each of these initiatives determines whether our member companies are represented through their associations economiesuisse or SwissHoldings, or whether the companies are participating directly. Specifically, the latter applies to the Global Business Initiative for Human Rights, in which member companies participate.