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Source: Amnesty International –

This Sunday, the Swiss people will vote in a landmark referendum on how their multinational companies are regulated with regards to their activities abroad. The Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) could be the start of more accountability for some of the world’s wealthiest companies headquartered in Switzerland.

Switzerland is not only a fairytale country of chocolate, scenic mountains and watches, but also home to some of the biggest and most powerful multinational companies in the world, some of which have larger revenues than the GDPs of entire countries. The wealth and power of these businesses make it difficult to hold them to account if they cause harm to people or the environment – especially when such harm takes place abroad.

The business activities of Swiss-based multinationals can have an impact all over the world. For example, Glencore, a mining company, has been linked to concerns about water pollution and labour abuses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Despite a clear corporate responsibility to respect human rights under international law, there are no laws in Switzerland that require multinational companies like Glencore to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence and which hold them accountable for misconduct abroad. 

There are no laws in Switzerland that require multinational companies to conduct human rights and environmental due diligence and which hold them accountable for misconduct abroad

MIL OSI NGO