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6 Mar 2020

Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice

Switzerland: Lower House reaffirms commitment to proposed human rights due diligence legislation

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"National Council sticks with compromise proposal", 4 March 2020

Today, Switzerland’s National Council reaffirmed its counter-proposal to the Responsible Business Initiative. This proposal was forged through a compromise between the Legal Affairs Committees of both parliamentary chambers. It is also supported by an important group of business actors such as a major Swiss retail sector association (IG Detailhandel), the Multinational Companies Grouping (Groupement des Entreprises Multinationales GEM) or the Federation of Entrepreneurs of the French-speaking part of Switzerland (FER), as well as by the authors of the initiative.

The counter-proposal, however, contains a number of painful concessions for the authors of the initiative: The counter-proposal’s binding rules apply to only the largest of multinational corporations and its liability provisions were massively curbed. Notwithstanding these cutbacks, the initiative committee assured it would withdraw the initiative should the National Council’s counter-proposal be enacted into law. The committee argued that the counter-proposal allows for a faster introduction of legally binding measures than would be possible through the path of a popular vote on the initiative. The speed with which new measures can be implemented is particularly important for those whose human rights are being violated...

This item of business will now move back to the Council of States...