Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

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Corporate social responsibility (CSR) means that companies are responsible for the effects of their activities on society and the environment. The Swiss Confederation understands CSR to be a contribution to sustainable development made by companies.

CSR covers a wide range of aspects that must be taken into account when managing a company, including working conditions (including occupational health), human rights, environment, anti-corruption measures, fair competition, consumer interests, taxes, transparency, etc. To implement CSR, companies need to take stakeholder interests into account (e.g. shareholders, employees, consumers, local communities and NGOs).

CSR assumes compliance with laws and social partnerships. Society's expectations, which may go beyond legal obligations, are also to be considered. The Swiss Confederation expects companies based or operating in Switzerland to take responsibility for all of the activities they perform there or abroad in accordance with internationally recognised CSR standards and guidelines.

A consistent and broad implementation of CSR plays a key role in improving sustainable development and providing solutions to social challenges. It can also considerably improve companies’ competitive position.

Various terms are used in Switzerland to refer to CSR. Companies use e.g. corporate social responsibility (CSR), corporate responsibility (CR), responsible business conduct or corporate sustainability.


Position Paper and action Plan of the Federal Council

On 1 April 2015, the Swiss Federal Council adopted a Position paper on corporate social responsibility. It was prepared as part of an interdepartmental process under the aegis of SECO and based on a consultation between the various stakeholders. It has two main goals: 1. Informing companies and their stakeholders about the federal government’s goals and expectations as regards CSR; 2. Providing an overview of the government’s current and future CSR-related activities.


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If no English version exists, the French version will be linked.



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Last modification 05.02.2018

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