Responsible Business Initiative

The Council of States buckled in front of the corporate lobby and adopted an alibi counter-proposal

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In mid-December 2019, the Council of States had backed an ineffective alibi counter-proposal to the Responsible Business Initiative. This is intended to prevent large corporations such as Glencore and Syngenta from being held responsible for any damage caused in future.

The proposal does not introduce any binding rules to prevent human rights violations by corporations and merely demands an annual report in glossy format. The counter-proposal seeks to fool voters into thinking that the corporate accountability initiative is no longer needed, thus creating uncertainty. However, the initiative will not be withdrawn under any circumstances. Following this decision by the Council of States, Switzerland will most likely vote on the Responsible Business Initiative next year.

Horyzon has supported the Responsible Business Initiative since the beginning and cannot be fobbed off with this alibi counter-proposal. Even in our programme countries, large corporations violate human rights and do not accept responsibility for environmental damage. The broad-based Responsible Business Initiative aims to change this in the future.

The initiative is supported by:

  • 120 human rights, environmental, development and consumer organizations
  • Economic committee of over 160 entrepreneurs
  • Over 120 politicians from the BDP, CVP, EVP, GLP, FDP and SVP in the "Civic Committee for Corporate Responsibility
  • Swiss Bishops' Conference, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, the Swiss Evangelical Alliance (through its AG Interaction), the Federation of Free Churches in Switzerland and numerous other church actors
  • 300 local committees with thousands of volunteers

This is what the initiative demands:
The initiative wants to oblige companies based in Switzerland not to violate human rights and not to destroy the environment. To ensure that all companies comply with the new law, violations should have consequences in the future. Companies should therefore be held accountable for human rights violations committed by their subsidiaries.

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