US News The Swiss say no to more responsible multinationals

11:05  30 november  2020
11:05  30 november  2020 Source:   nouvelobs.com

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The Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) could be the start of more accountability for some of the world's wealthiest companies headquartered in Switzerland . The business activities of Swiss -based multinationals can have an impact all over the world. For example, Glencore, a mining company, has

Imagine the foreign subsidiary of a Swiss multinational corporation has been accused of human France has also enacted a broad law that holds companies responsible for abuses throughout their US President-Elect Joe Biden has said he'll require public companies to make greater disclosures on

Les Suisses disent non à des multinationales plus responsables © Allan Baxter / Getty Images The Swiss say no to more responsible multinationals The country has rejected an initiative aimed at better monitoring and sanctioning Swiss companies that do not respect human rights and environmental standards.

Switzerland values ​​the independence of its multinationals. The country rejected, Sunday, November 29, 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 cantons.

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Swiss voters have narrowly rejected stricter ethical rules for many global firms based in the Alpine republic. The initiative titled " Responsible companies — to protect people and the environment'' won a Narrow escape for multinationals . The RBI would have extended Swiss company liability over

Both the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and Swiss commercial banks have opposed the initiative, with the Swiss Banker Association saying it would weaken It also faced opposition from the government and the country’s most important industrial lobby, which estimated it could affect around 3,000

A broad debate

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 allowed to force companies to respond to possible breaches before the courts in Switzerland.

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"I am extremely disappointed (...) but it is an initiative which has received incredible support ( ...) and we see that the whole country has had a very broad debate, a debate which 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, a party that called for a yes vote for the initiative supported by 130 NGOs.

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Under the Responsible Business Initiative, Swiss -based firms would have had to prove they had taken due care to prevent abusive labour conditions and Opponents of the initiative, which include most large multinationals , major industry lobby associations as well as the government and a majority of

But many had criticised the Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) as unworkable, and worried that it would make Business leaders may be heaving a sigh of relief for now - but the fact that this vote was so close with around half of all voters saying yes, is a clear sign to Switzerland 's multinationals that

The environmental NGO Greenpeace Switzerland also expressed its disappointment, but stressed that the main point of this initiative had been validated by the popular vote, namely that "those who pollute or violate fundamental freedoms must face up to their responsibilities and assume the consequences ".

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The Federal Council (government) as well as business organizations called on voters to reject the text, considering 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," said the Swiss agency Keystone-ATS Cristina Gaggini, director of 'Economiesuisse, association for the defense of companies, for French-speaking Switzerland.

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In a divisive referendum, 50.7% of Swiss voters supported proposals by the Responsible Business In a polarizing campaign, the government and multinationals denounced the negative economic consequences of Organisers said the more than 40% approval gained by the initiative, spanning

A campaign banner reading “ Responsible multinationals initiative, yes!” in the Swiss city of La Under the Swiss system, because the initiative proposed a constitutional amendment, it needed The vote on Sunday had been the source of much debate in Switzerland , and was the most expensive in

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.


A total of 64.8% of voters rejected the text in the German-speaking canton of Zug, for example, which houses the headquarters of Glencore, a commodities giant, which has often been questioned by the initiators of the vote, during the campaign. Their poster campaign notably showed a little girl in front of a mine in Peru belonging to a company controlled by the Swiss multinational.

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With the discharges of heavy metals, some 2,000 children in the region show chronic symptoms of intoxication, suffering from anemia, disabilities and paralysis, according to supporters of the initiative. They have multiplied the examples, involving pesticides long banned in Switzerland but sold elsewhere by the agrochemist Syngenta or the discharge of fine particles from a lafargeHolcim cement plant in Nigeria.


For the supporters of the "no", the initiative went too far and even risked being counterproductive by pushing companies to leave countries where they invest and create jobs, for fear of an increased risk of complaints. Now that the popular initiative has been rejected, a counter-project drawn up by Parliament will apply. It pursues the same objective of increased corporate responsibility in terms of human rights and respect for the environment, but, deplore the NGOs, without really binding scope.

In another vote, the Swiss also rejected an initiative aimed at prohibiting their central bank and pension funds from contributing to the financing of manufacturers of war material through their investments. According to gfs.bern, it would be rejected by 58% of the population as well as by a majority of cantons.

Union-Coach: “Has I got away one or the other time?” .
Also at the Alte Försterei was thought of Diego Maradonas with a minute's silence before the game of 1. FC Union against Eintracht Frankfurt. The Berlin trainer Urs Fischer also associates a very personal memory with the deceased Argentine superstar. In May 1990, the then Swiss national player Fischer was allowed to take part in the test international match against the South Americans. © Uwe Anspach / dpa / Current Berlin's trainer Urs Fischer is in the stadium. “I still have that in my head.

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