Mr. Schneider-Ammann, put corporations on a leash!
Passers-by, including WEF participants and ski tourists, today took advantage of the event staged by the "Corporate Justice" coalition in Davos literally to hold Federal Councillor Schneider-Ammann to account. With the handle on his necktie, they reminded him and the entire Federal Cabinet of their duty to rein in globally active corporations and ensure that they respect human rights and the environment - worldwide. At the same time, thousands of people sent e-mail reminders to the Minister for Economic Affairs Johann Schneider-Ammann and to Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.
This year too, Governments and CEOs are meeting for discussions, workshops and informal talks during the World Economic Forum. Despite the official theme "Resilient Dynamism", the programme still does not include risks such as human rights violations or environmental pollution. With altogether six representatives, the Federal Cabinet also has a high-profile presence at the WEF.
When it comes to human rights-compliant and environment-friendly economic activities by multinational corporations, Switzerland bears a special responsibility: Many of these firms are headquartered here. Some of them are constantly making headlines because of human and labour rights violations or environmental pollution.
"Corporate Justice" therefore handed in a petition seven months ago with over 135,000 signatures. It calls on the Federal Cabinet and Parliament to institute binding rules compelling firms headquartered in Switzerland to respect human rights and the environment worldwide.
Already in 2011, the UN Human Rights Council urged all Governments to take concrete steps to ensure that "their" companies observe human rights. Whereas other States are already discussing specific action, our Federal Cabinet has remained inactive, hiding behind "self-responsibility” on the part of companies.
Thousands therefore used the occasion of the WEF in Davos to send e-mails reminding the Minister for Economic Affairs and the entire Federal Council of their responsibility. The public is invited, until the end of the week, to keep sending reminders to Economic Affairs Minister Schneider-Ammann and Foreign Minister Burkhalter finally to rein in corporations.