Background report on commodities: implementation of recommendations well on the way
Bern, 19.08.2015 - During its meeting today, the Federal Council approved the second status report on the implementation of the recommendations made in the background report on commodities. The report shows that real progress has been made in many areas and that legislative processes have been initiated or completed. The Federal Council wishes to rigorously pursue the implementation of the recommendations in order to strengthen the framework conditions and reduce the risks.
On 27 March 2013, the Federal Council acknowledged the background report on commodities and its 17 recommendations. As demonstrated in this report, further progress has been made on implementing many of these recommendations since the last report of spring 2014. For example, stricter rules have been issued in the areas of over-the-counter derivatives trading and anti-money laundering. The Federal Council also wishes to promote transparency with regard to payments made by commodity companies to governments, and has submitted a corresponding consultation draft within the scope of the revision of the law on companies limited by shares. In addition, Switzerland is continuing to support the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Moreover, work has progressed on the application of voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards to commodity trading companies, and the dialogue between the industry, non-governmental organisations and the cantons has been further improved. The Federal Council intends to fully implement the existing international standards with these measures.
Switzerland's commodities sector continues to be very significant for the Swiss economy, as reflected for instance in the receipts from merchanting - largely in commodity trading - which account for some 3.9% of Swiss gross domestic product (GDP) according to the Swiss National Bank's statistics. The challenges have remained the same since the publication of the background report on commodities in 2013. It is thus still a matter of maintaining the competitiveness of Swiss companies and taking action to address the risks associated with their activities in terms of human rights, environmental and social standards, corruption and reputation.
The Federal Council believes that Switzerland is well positioned by international standards with regard to its efforts to ensure a competitive and morally sound location for commodity companies, and it attaches great importance to these efforts. It has instructed the commodities interdepartmental platform, under the leadership of the FDF, EAER and FDFA, to submit another status report on the implementation of the recommendations by the end of 2016.
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