Guidelines, guides and brochures

Guidance for the commodity trading sector

On 28 November 2018, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) launched a Guidance on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the commodity trading sector (PDF, 3 MB, 01.11.2019). This best practice guide, produced together with the London-based Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), is the result of a public consultation with NGOs, the private sector and the Geneva cantonal authorities

Brochure for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)


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.

This brochure is available in French, German, Italian, English and Spanish.

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights)

UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are internationally recognized and clarify the complementary roles of States and business enterprises in protecting and respecting human rights in economic activities.

The Interpretive Guide on the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights aims to provide additional background explanation to the Guiding Principles to support a full understanding of their meaning and intent. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also provides many resources on Business and human rights.

Brochure for a responsible business

The brochure "Responsible Business: key messages from International Instruments" provides an overview of the respective functions and common elements of three central instruments in the field of responsible business: the UN Guiding Principles, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the ILO Declaration on Multinational Enterprises. It describes how these instruments help companies implement responsible business practices.

Practical guidance of the International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) promotes social justice and upholds human rights in the world of work. To encourage the positive contribution of companies and minimize the negative impacts of their operations, the ILO has tools to help companies implement inclusive and sustainable working conditions and processes (for instance Helpdesk).

The ILO provides practical resources and tools for companies interested in aligning their operations with principles contained in international labour standards.

OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises

The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are common recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises on many topics such as human rights, working conditions, the environment, the fight against corruption, etc. These are principles and standards for responsible business conduct.
The OECD Due Diligence Guidance on Responsible Business Conduct contains practical recommendations for companies to conduct due diligence along their value chains.
The OECD has also developed specific guides for certain sectors (extractive, agricultural, textile, financial, etc.).

Children's Rights and Business Atlas

The “Children's Rights and Business Atlas” was developed by UNICEF together with the Global Child Forum and published in November 2018. The atlas is designed to help companies easily identify their actual and potential child rights risks and integrate child rights into their corporate due diligence practices and policies.


Other international CSR standards

Several institutions have developed instruments in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR). For instance, the United Nations Global Compact, the ISO 26000 standard on social responsibility, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.