No twice: in Switzerland, two initiatives of the leftist camp have failed in a referendum. According to surveys, one of them had a good chance of success.
Bern (dpa) – Swiss companies cannot be held liable in Switzerland in the future for environmental damage or human rights violations abroad.
The initiators of this proposal failed in a referendum on Sunday. Supporters of the ‘Corporate Responsibility Initiative’ were the opponents wafer-thin with 50.7 percent of the vote, the final result showed. But initiatives are only successful if the majority of the cantons agree. But there was only one yes in four of the 26 cantons.
The disappointment was great because a majority of the respondents were in favor of the study in advance. Supporters were more than 130 church and relief organizations, environmental and human rights organizations. You wanted to impose a new duty of care on Swiss companies. If there were shortcomings, the companies could be sued in Swiss courts for damages caused by subsidiaries or suppliers in the supply chain.
Like the government, the Economiesuisse business association was against it. He had condemned the initiative as “radical, unrealistic and arrogant”. They placed Swiss companies under general suspicion.
Instead, a law that the government has already passed through parliament will enter into force. Companies must monitor, carefully investigate and report the activities of their subsidiaries and business partners abroad. However, this law does not provide for penalties for violations. Subsidiaries and suppliers remain liable for damage they cause themselves and generally locally in accordance with local laws.
The second proposal also failed: 57.45 percent of voters voted against a “ban on the financing of producers of war material”. The supporters of this initiative wanted the National Bank, foundations and pension funds to no longer be allowed to invest in companies that derive more than five percent of their turnover from the production of war materials.