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Canada Referendum in Switzerland: rejection of the initiative for "responsible multinationals"

20:45  29 november  2020
20:45  29 november  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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Une majorité de cantons suisses ont rejeté l'initiative pour des multinationales plus responsables, ce dimanche 29 novembre. © AFP - FABRICE COFFRINI A majority of Swiss cantons rejected the initiative for more responsible multinationals on Sunday, November 29th.

Switzerland rejected this Sunday an initiative that wanted to impose stricter legal obligations on Swiss companies in terms of respect for human rights and environmental standards.

According to the polling institute gfs.bern, the so-called “responsible multinationals” initiative was rejected by at least 14 of the 26 Swiss cantons although it would have been approved by a narrow majority of votes, 50.7% . However, to be adopted, a text must be approved by both a majority of voters and of the cantons.

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CETIM against the impunity of multinationals in the media. Neo-liberal globalization has opened the door to the savage exploitation of the world by the major economic and financial powers.

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This text provided for obliging Swiss companies to ensure respect for human rights and the environment in their activities abroad, in those of their suppliers or their business partners.

It would also have made it possible to force companies to answer possible failures before the courts in Switzerland.

"I am extremely disappointed [...] but it is an initiative that has received incredible support [...] and we see that the whole country has had a very broad debate, a debate that is healthy and which raises the question of the values ​​that we want to ensure in a globalized economy ”, declared on the public channel RTS Lisa Mazzone, representative of the Swiss Greens, party which called to vote yes for the initiative supported by 130 NGOs.

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Benefits of multinationals for host countries It is clear that multinationals have brought many benefits to communities who would otherwise not have experienced, as quickly Socially and environmentally responsible multinationals have the ability to affect the host country in a very positive way.

A divide between German-speaking and French-speaking cantons

The Federal Council (government) as well as business defense organizations called on voters to reject the text, believing that it risked harming Swiss economic interests.

"This result is a great relief, because the initiative created uncertainty for the entire Swiss economic fabric, including SMEs", congratulated the Swiss agency Keystone-ATS Cristina Gaggini, director from Economiesuisse, an association for the defense of companies, for French-speaking Switzerland.

The vote reveals a divide which corresponds to the linguistic border of Switzerland, the German-speaking German-speaking cantons having mostly rejected the initiative while the French-speaking French-speaking cantons generally approved it.

(with AFP)

Switzerland: The initiative on "responsible multinationals" narrowly rejected .
The text provided for obliging Swiss companies to ensure respect for human rights and the environment in their activities abroad © Igor Zehl / AP / SIPA Illustration of the Swiss flag.

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