The principle of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is anchored in Switzerland's Sustainable Development Strategy. This means that Switzerland expects companies to assume their social responsibility – at home and abroad – by developing more sustainable business strategies and products, and by applying norms and standards in the area of socially and environmentally responsible conduct. The Federal Council is seeking to step up CSR‑ principles in future and improve the example set by the public sector in this field. That is why the federal government strives to set a good example and apply sustainable development principles to its own activities.
Federal government sets an example
An expert report was commissioned to assess the extent to which the federal government fulfils its social responsibility as an employer, business owner and investor, and in terms of its use of resources. A second report analyses the federal government's procurement activity. The reports are based on the principles of the United Nations Global Compact. The first concludes that the federal government's commitment to CSR is very high, particularly in its capacity as an employer. The federal government's role as a proprietor and user of resources was also rated well. The largest potential for improvement lies in its investment portfolio, with the report recommending a more systematic consideration of environmental, social and governance criteria. The second report concludes that the federal government has made remarkable efforts towards sustainable procurement in recent years. It now has a wide range of instruments to gear its procurement activities to CSR‑ criteria, although it has only just begun to set an example in this field. To do so, a number of gaps will need to be filled – both in terms of strategy and operations.
The reports therefore specify additional measures to improve the incorporation of CSR‑ criteria in the various areas where the federal government operates and will serve as the main guide in this area, particularly in terms of raising public awareness. A brochure on CSR has been published.