On 29 November, a vote will finally be taken on the corporate responsibility initiative. terre des hommes schweiz has been committed to it from the outset. The initiative demands that it goes without saying that Swiss companies that disregard human rights and destroy the environment should take responsibility for this. The petition for a referendum enjoys broad support among the population and the business community and is also supported by representatives of all parties. It must, however, stand up to financially powerful opponents who are resorting to sometimes dubious means for their anti-campaign.
Counter-proposal no alternative
Should the initiative be rejected, the counter-proposal would enter into force. The indirect counter-proposal does not offer a meaningful alternative. Whether child labour on cocoa plantations or pesticide poisoning of Indian farmers: responsible corporations that do nothing about it would still have no consequences to fear, as the alibi counter-proposal does not provide for liability. In other countries, it has long become the norm that corporations must take legal action for human rights violations abroad. In Canada, England and France, for example, legal proceedings against corporations are already underway. Expert reports have shown that Switzerland needs clear laws to ensure that it does not miss the boat internationally.
Vote yes and pass it on
Now it is crucial that we actually go to the polls, because every vote counts! According to studies, many Swiss voters are casual voters. They are therefore drawn to the ballot box when they consider the issue to be important. This time it is important and we can send a strong signal. By adopting the Corporate Responsibility Initiative, a real improvement can be achieved for those people who are currently at the mercy of irresponsible multinationals.
Sylvia Valentin, Development Policy Campaigns
Hardly any initiative has not been put to the vote as long as the one on corporate responsibility. For years there was a struggle in Bern to implement its contents. The formulation and discussion of counter-proposals kept the administration and parliament busy. The haggling for wafer-thin majorities and the endless rejections from one chamber to the other developed into a veritable thriller. Since this summer, it has finally been clear: on 29 November we will vote on the referendum.
A political deal that has been fought over for so long is obviously important and hits the nerve of the time. In fact, there is one thing that goes without saying: Swiss companies that do international business must take responsibility for their actions. Toxic waste, child labour, poisoned rivers and heavy metals in the soil must no longer exist - nowhere in the world. Swiss corporations and their subsidiaries who are responsible for them should be able to be held liable.
terre des hommes schweiz has been supporting the corporate responsibility initiative for a long time. Many people in Switzerland have joined together in numerous local committees. Together with them, as well as with numerous organizations and personalities well into the civic camp, we are working to ensure that the initiative is accepted. If we all vote yes to corporate responsibility, we can make a real improvement for people who are otherwise at the mercy of irresponsible multinationals.
Therefore: do not miss this historic vote! Convince family, friends and acquaintances to put their yes in the urn.
Many thanks for your support!
Franziska Lauper, Manager, terre des hommes switzerland