Today, more and more companies are committed to conduct their business in a socially and ecologically responsible manner – by respecting human rights and environmental standards, creating decent jobs, and offering sustainably sourced products and services. Acknowledging the fundamental importance of the sector and its increasing efforts towards responsible conduct, Helvetas collaborates with small and large, local and multinational private companies and corporate foundations in its efforts to advance the rights of poor and disadvantaged men and women and enhancing sustainable social, economic, and environmental development.
At the same time, private sector engagement can only foster sustainable, inclusive development and help reduce poverty when it respects human, social, and environmental rights, observes broadly accepted standards and rules, and balances its drive for profit by the interest of society at large.
- advocates for corporate justice, including robust corporate liability that holds business accountable, improved access to justice and remedies for victims of corporate abuse, and greater corporate transparency based on meaningful social (human rights) and environmental reporting. To this end, Helvetas is an active member of the Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice. At international level, Helvetas critically observes and accompanies the ongoing negotiations of the UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights, and advocates for a constructive engagement of the Swiss government.
- maintains a constructive dialogue with the private sector as a member of the United Nations Global Compact Network Switzerland (UNGC) and several other multi stakeholder initiatives. Promoting responsible business practices through multi-stakeholder dialogue and knowledge sharing, the UNGC network can be a space to discuss further improvements regarding the role of private business for development and human rights, including binding laws and regulations, and externally monitored standards.
- considering private sector engagement in development cooperation as essential for reaching the SDGs, seeks collaboration with private partners based on its long experience and proven skills, while respecting due diligence requirements. To do so, Helvetas follows the five Kampala principles for private sector collaboration, issued by the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness in 2019, when entering new partnerships. This includes a compulsory due diligence procedure, as well as a specific human rights due diligence in selected cases.