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B Lab Switzerland's New Legal Framework

B Lab has earned a global reputation for championing sustainable business practices and successfully influencing policy changes in various jurisdictions. Now, the organization is turning its focus towards Switzerland, advocating for the introduction of a dedicated legal framework that supports and recognizes businesses committed to sustainability. The proposed framework aims to bring clarity and legitimacy to companies undertaking the transition to sustainable practices and to acknowledge those already dedicated to social and environmental goals. To strengthen their case, B Lab Switzerland collaborated with the University of Geneva in a comparative law study, published in May 2023, examining how impact businesses are regulated in other countries and reinforcing the need for clear legal guidelines in Switzerland.

What are the goals and objectives of the project?

The New Legal Framework Project sets out ambitious goals to tackle pressing challenges in the realm of sustainable business conduct. The key objectives include:

Firstly, to prevent greenwashing, the new framework will establish coherence between sustainability standards and international norms and it will verify a company's genuine commitment to sustainability, mitigating the problem of misleading sustainability claims and the prevalence of a confusing "label jungle".

Secondly, the project aims to support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in their sustainability endeavors. These businesses often face challenges in transitioning to sustainability due to limited financial resources and expertise. The framework will provide clear guidance and offer financial incentives, making it easier for SMEs to embrace and implement sustainable practices.

Thirdly, the new legal framework seeks to enhance the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance of Swiss businesses. As global financial flows increasingly consider ESG criteria, Swiss companies adhering to these standards stand to gain a competitive advantage and attract more sustainable investment.

Finally, B Lab Switzerland's initiative aligns with broader global goals. Improving sustainable performance of Swiss companies will contribute to the achievement of the country's self-set 2030 targets and help the progress towards the global global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, it will play a crucial role in fulfilling the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and the 2030 Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) targets.

Who is supporting the project?

B Lab Switzerland's New Legal Framework Project has garnered strong support from key partners, including:

  • Swiss Leaders, as an umbrella organization, reaches a large number of mid to senior managers, who will be in charge of redefining the companies’ strategic orientation in the midterm

  • The Federation Suisse des Entreprises, as a principal umbrella organization, provides the project with broader business community engagement and support.

  • Approximately 150 Swiss companies from different sectors and regions, including existing B Corp certified businesses, serve as exemplary models for others, encouraging wider adoption of sustainable practices.

What has been achieved so far?

B Lab Switzerland has made significant strides in advancing the New Legal Framework Project:

  • In May 2023, the organization published a comparative legal study in collaboration with the University of Geneva, showcasing the necessity of a dedicated regulatory framework.

  • The White Paper, the result of collaboration among 15 experts, was finalized in the same month, laying the groundwork for the proposed framework.

  • In May 2023, the New Legal Framework proposal was presented to the Parliamentary inter-group on SDGs 2030, garnering visibility and potential support.

  • In June 2023, MPs Thorens, Dittli, and Herzog (Vert-PLR-PS) presented interpellation 23.3679, further emphasizing the project's importance to policymakers.

  • B Lab Switzerland launched the "Manifesto for the recognition of Sustainable Enterprises" in June 2023, receiving coverage in prominent media outlets like Leader Magazine and Le Temps, with more expected in the future.

What are the next steps?

B Lab Switzerland is eager to move forward with the New Legal Framework Project and has outlined its next steps:

  • Continue to rally support from businesses to strengthen the project's impact and credibility within the corporate community.

  • Refine the proposal based on the valuable inputs and feedback received to create a comprehensive and well-rounded framework.

  • Engage actively with Swiss policymakers both before and after the October 2023 general elections, seeking endorsement and collaboration.

B Lab Switzerland's New Legal Framework Project signifies a significant step towards fostering a more sustainable future for businesses in Switzerland. By promoting transparency, providing guidance, and encouraging responsible practices, the proposed legal framework is poised to drive Switzerland closer to its 2030 targets and make a meaningful contribution to global sustainability efforts.

Now is the time to take action and join us in our mission. By signing the Manifesto for the recognition of Sustainable Enterprises, you are pledging your commitment to sustainability and supporting the implementation of a dedicated legal framework that will pave the way for a greener, more equitable, and prosperous future. Together, we can drive positive change, prevent greenwashing, and empower businesses of all sizes to embrace sustainability.

Sign the manifesto today and be a part of the movement towards a more sustainable and resilient Switzerland. Let's create a thriving and sustainable future for generations to come.


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