The Swiss Responsible Business Initiative: what business & human rights obligations for Swiss companies?

29 October 2020 By Sandrine Giroud, Warren Martin, Anton Vallélian

The growing reach and impact of business enterprises have given rise to a debate about the roles and responsibilities of such actors regarding human rights and have led to the placement of business and human rights (“BHR”) on the agenda of many international organisations and countries.

At an international level, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (“UN Guiding Principles”)[1] and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (“OECD Guidelines”)[2] were adopted in 2011. At a national level, several countries are already implementing BHR legislations, such as France, the United Kingdom or the United States, to name a few of Switzerland’s most important economic partners.

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[1] UNITED NATIONS, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, New York/Geneva, 2011, available here:

[2] OECD, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, Paris, 2011, available here: