Swiss vote on corporate responsibility

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The Swiss can vote in a referendum on Sunday whether Swiss companies and their suppliers are obliged to do business responsibly.

The question is whether companies should check whether they themselves or their subsidiaries or business partners are not (partly) guilty of violations of human rights or damage to the environment.

The companies that do not comply with these obligations would not only risk a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (over 92,000 euros), but could also be held liable for the damage they or their trading partners cause. This could also make it possible to prosecute violations committed abroad in Switzerland.

In addition, there is a referendum on a ban for the state and institutions such as pension funds to put money into companies that make weapons of war. If that is assumed, the Central Bank, for example, must quickly dispose of approximately 20 billion francs (18.5 billion euros) in shares.

The result is still open, because according to Swiss media the difference between the number of supporters and opponents is not great. Both initiatives have been received with enthusiasm, but the number of opponents seems to have increased in the meantime due to fears that the country will achieve little concrete with the proposals except for lingering legal conflicts concerning Swiss companies.

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