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.
On 29 November 2020, Swiss voters opted for the introduction of EU-style ESG reporting and due diligence requirements and against the so-called Responsible Business Initiative. While the initiative would have added teeth to the civil liability regime for the violation of international human rights and environmental standards across the supply chain, the substantive requirements regarding ESG reporting and due diligence across the extended enterprise are not any lighter under the chosen approach. We expect that affected companies will have to apply the new requirements in financial year 2023.