The Swiss Popular Initiative on Responsible Business: From Responsibility to Liability

in: Enneking et al. (eds), Business Operations and the Law: Providing Justice for Corporate Human Rights Violations in Global Value Chains (Routledge 2019)

24 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2018 Last revised: 21 Apr 2020

Date Written: December 2019

Abstract

Swiss citizens will decide whether to adopt or reject a partial revision of the Constitution of Switzerland that aims to introduce a provision on responsible business. According to the proposal, companies that are based in Switzerland are required to carry out appropriate human rights and environmental due diligence in Switzerland and abroad. The proposal also entails a provision for companies that makes them liable for the harm caused by companies under their control unless they can prove that they took all due care to avoid the harm. This contribution presents and assesses the content of the Swiss Popular Initiative on Responsible Business in light of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. It also compares the Swiss popular initiative with the recently adopted French loi relative au devoir de vigilance and other recent legislative developments. It identifies a trend towards more precise liability provisions for corporate human rights abuses in international operations.

Keywords: Business and Human Rights, United Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, UNGP, Multinational Enterprises, Human Rights Due diligence, French loi de vigilance

JEL Classification: M14

Suggested Citation

Bueno, Nicolas, The Swiss Popular Initiative on Responsible Business: From Responsibility to Liability (December 2019). in: Enneking et al. (eds), Business Operations and the Law: Providing Justice for Corporate Human Rights Violations in Global Value Chains (Routledge 2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3125672

Nicolas Bueno (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

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