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Switzerland: Investors call on parliamentarians to support legislation for mandatory human rights due diligence

Author: Ethos, Published on: 11 June 2019

Ethos Foundation and 22 Swiss and foreign institutional investors, who represent assets under management of CHF 395 billion, sent a statement to the members of the lower house... [T]he signatories call on parliamentarians to back the introduction of mandatory human rights due diligence by supporting the counter-proposal to the responsible business initiative...

"As institutional investors, we have a responsibility to consider whether the companies we are investing in have negative impacts on human rights and the environment and, if so, to prevent and mitigate these impacts", explains Vincent Kaufmann, CEO of Ethos Foundation. “Reputational and operational risks related to human rights breaches have a significant negative financial impact on the companies in which we are shareholders".

Adopted by the lower house in June 2018 before being rejected by the upper house in March, the counter-proposal is to be discussed again on Thursday 13 June in the lower house. For the signatories of the declaration, ... [t]he disclosure and processes required by the mandatory due diligence under the counter-proposal would thus give investors the opportunity to better analyze how companies manage and mitigate their human rights and environmental impact, thus enabling institutional investors to fulfill their fiduciary duty towards their beneficiaries.

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