On November 29, 2020, the “Responsible Business Initiative” (RBI) was rejected. This decision paves the way for the indirect counterproposal adopted on June 19, 2020, by the Swiss Parliament (the Counterproposal).
The Counterproposal is largely based on existing EU regulation. It will introduce new reporting obligations on environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters as well as human rights due diligence and reporting obligations regarding conflicts minerals and child labor.
On April 14, 2021, the Federal Council opened the public consultation procedure on the Ordinance on Due Diligence Obligations and Transparency Regarding Minerals and Metals from Conflict Areas and Child Labor (the Ordinance). Since there are no delegation norms included in the section on ESG matters (infra 1), the Ordinance covers the sections on conflict minerals and child labor only (infra 2).
On April 27, 2021, the Federal Council published the Counterproposal which started the 100-day referendum period. Since no referendum was requested, the new provisions are expected to enter into force on January 1, 2022. Swiss companies should thus determine their obligations and prepare to implement or enhance their ESG reporting and compliance programs.
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