ZURICH, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Switzerland’s government urged voters on Tuesday to reject a plan to hold Swiss-based companies responsible by law for human rights and environmental abuses abroad, saying the campaign by activists went too far.
Proponents of the “responsible business initiative” want Swiss companies to apply mandatory due diligence to identify risks to people and the environment in all their business, even involving suppliers abroad, and let victims seek redress in Switzerland.
The public will vote on the initiative in a referendum on Nov. 29 under the country’s system of direct democracy.
Switzerland is home to a number of multinationals, from Nestle to commodities trading house Glencore. Many businesses reject the proposed changes saying they would lead to a flood of legal cases.
“The government too wants better protection of human rights and the environment. But for the government, this initiative is the wrong path,” the justice ministry