Insights into the CSR Approach of Switzerland and CSR Practices of Swiss Companies
Hetze, Katharina; Winistörfer, Herbert (2015). Insights into the CSR Approach of Switzerland and CSR Practices of Swiss Companies. In: Idowu, Samuel O.; Schmidpeter, René; Fifka, Matthias S. (Hg.). Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe. United in Sustainable Diversity (153-174). CSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance. Cham et al.: Springer . Peer reviewed.
Switzerland can be said to have a long tradition of corporate social responsibility which dates back to industrialization in the nineteenth century and the introduction of the Federal Factory Law on working conditions in 1877. But on environmental legislation, the country only started enacting laws in the 1950s and with regard to ‘sustainability’, they argue that was established after the year 2000. The Swiss economy being based on the concept of a liberal economic system means that there is a policy of a minimalist state establishing the necessary framework—effective environmental legislation and protective social and labor laws. The state thus plays a minor role in regulating CSR, which is seen as business-driven. Compared to other European countries, the Swiss have fewer statutory requirements for CSR activities (e.g. reporting). However, the government promotes moderate CSR by providing guidelines and incentives for appropriate behavior (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs [SECO], 2009). In addition, Switzerland’s economy is seen as highly globalized with a strong export orientation. Hence, most Swiss companies operate in an international context where they depend on, and at the same time profit from, globalized supply chains. The following CSR issues are predominantr for Swiss companies: energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions (environmental), employee health, gender equality and human rights in the supply chain (social) as well as tax evasion and excessive executives’ salaries (governance).