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Corporate responsibility Companies ‘making progress’ on ethical standards

In 2002 US President George Bush called for more corporate responsibilty at a conference in Texas 

(Keystone)

Plans to make companies in Switzerland bear greater responsibility for the effects of their business activities on society and the environment are advancing.

Approving an interim report on the implementation of a four-year responsibility programme launched in 2015, the government on Wednesday confirmed the four strategic priorities, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The cabinet recommends continuing to raise awareness, notably among small and medium-sized Swiss companies, encouraging transparency in social responsibility activities, helping to develop multilateral norms and promoting the policy in developing countries.

“Progress has been made on all these fields,” says the statement.

A final report on the programme is due in 2019.

Sustainable development

The government has defined corporate social responsibility as a contribution to sustainable development by companies.

It covers a wide range of aspects, including working conditions, human rights, environment, anti-corruption measures, consumer interests and taxes.

Efforts are underway to improve transparency in the commodity sector, including a people’s initiative demanding that Swiss companies comply with human rights and environmental standards when they operate abroad.

The government has proposed tightening rules for stock-listed companies and promoting equal pay for men and women in firms with more than 50 employees.

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