Switzerland: ESG reporting and due diligence requirements — an update for Swiss companies

In brief

In this update, we set out the extent to which new Swiss ESG reporting, disclosure and due diligence requirements apply to Swiss companies and foreign companies operating in Switzerland. We also provide further details about the due diligence requirements in relation to conflict minerals and child labor, and give an overview of developments outside of Switzerland that are relevant for Swiss companies doing business abroad, including the recently proposed EU Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and the German Supply Chain Act. Finally, we share some of the key points senior leadership should consider as extended ESG reporting and due diligence obligations take shape in Switzerland and abroad.
 


Contents

Where do we stand in Switzerland in terms of ESG reporting and due diligence requirements? The bigger picture

As we reported in our Client Alert of December 2020, on 29 November 2020, the Swiss electorate voted against the so-called Responsible Business Initiative, which would have opened up Swiss companies to litigation in Swiss courts for alleged violations of international human rights or environmental laws abroad. However, as a counter-proposal to this initiative, the Swiss Parliament introduced new general ESG reporting and specific reporting and due diligence requirements in the area of conflict minerals and child labour that are viewed as more moderate.

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