Federal Council reaffirms its commitment to responsible business conduct
Bern, 15.01.2020 - On 15 January 2020, the Federal Council approved the revised Action Plans 2020-2023 on corporate social responsibility, and on Business and Human Rights. The federal government promotes the implementation of a responsible business conduct. It is an important contribution to sustainable development and to solving societal challenges.
In order to foster a responsible business conduct, the Federal Government actively promotes the implementation of internationally coordinated frameworks. It supports companies, strengthens the issue in developing and transition countries and promotes transparency. With this goal in mind, it has adopted the coordinated action plans on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and on business and human rights (NAP) for the legislative period 2020-2023.
The CSR Action Plan 2020-2023 focuses on sixteen measures. In particular, these promote sustainability reporting and due diligence at company level, stakeholder dialogue and the alignment of private sector CSR instruments with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights was revised by the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) with the involvement of external stakeholders (business associations, civil society, academia) for the period 2020-2023. It builds on the results achieved so far and will continue to support companies with effective measures. This includes in particular the creation of support measures for the implementation of human rights due diligence (tools, guidelines, etc.) and cooperation with multi-stakeholder initiatives that can support SMEs in particular.
With the two action plans, the Federal Council is supporting companies in maintaining internationally agreed norms and standards of responsible business conduct. These include the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
On 14 August 2019, the Federal Council decided to get involved in the parliamentary debate about the indirect counter-proposal on the initiative for responsible business by proposing a project requiring companies to submit sustainability reports. In addition, the introduction of a mandatory due diligence regarding child labour and “conflict’s minerals” is to be examined. Parliament is currently debating corresponding proposals.
Responsible business conduct, including respect for human rights, environmental protection, working conditions and the prevention of corruption, contributes to the productivity of companies. Responsible business conduct improves market positioning and reduces potential reputational risks.
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