Due diligence procedures for Swiss SMEs in the field of human rights: new brochure
What benefits can a company derive if it respects human rights? How can it ensure that it conducts business responsibly? SECO and the FDFA are publishing a brochure for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on their human rights responsibilities.
This brochure gives Swiss SMEs a practical overview of the opportunities and challenges of responsible business conduct. It provides international and national guidelines on this subject. It also provides tips for integrating human rights into corporate governance. The brochure provides an overview of the steps required to implement human rights due diligence. It is specifically aimed at SMEs and provides useful and specific information for human rights risk assessment.
Also available in Spanish / También disponible en español
National action plan for the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
On 9 December 2016 the Federal Council adopted a report outlining a National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Switzerland is one of the first countries to adopt such a strategy in order to promote coherence between business activities and human rights.
The document sets out the expectations of the Federal Council with regard to the corporate sector, and presents – by means of 50 policy instruments – how Switzerland will implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The objective of the NAP is to improve the protection of human rights in the context of business activities. It also helps to raise awareness among and facilitate cooperation with the corporate sector, and also to improve the consistency of government action.
The multipartite advisory group for the National action plan implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights unites since 2017 representatives of business associations, the civil society, the scientific community and the Confederation. The advisory group is consulted when questions of substance or strategic issues concerning the implementation of the NAP arise.
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The UN Human Rights Council endorsed the UNGP in June 2011. The UN Guiding Principles (UNGP) are rooted in an awareness that corporate activities can also have adverse human rights impacts.
The UNGP represent an important step towards closing the governance gaps. They define the international policy framework for the State duty to protect, and corporate responsibility with regard to human rights. The UN Guiding Principles rest on three pillars:
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