The Swiss Commodities Trading Industry - A Mapping Study

16 March 2017

Switzerland is one of the world’s most important commodity trading hubs. The commodities trading sector is characterised by a diverse mix of companies in terms of size, ownership, turnover and commodities traded.

As the commodities trading industry grows in size, questions are increasingly being raised relating to the responsibilities of trading companies on human rights and environmental protection, and other issues such as corruption and the ‘resource curse’.

About this Report

This Mapping Study – commissioned by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) – provides an overview of human rights issues associated with commodities trading.

It addresses potential human rights impacts in:

  • commodity production and movement through supply chains;
  • the act of buying and selling physical commodities;
  • business relationships with service providers, such as shipping companies, financial institutions, certification providers and others; and
  • overall activities of the sector taken together.

The Study also summarises current efforts by trading firms to implement human rights due diligence consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Next Steps

Guidance for the sector on implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights will be completed during 2017, based on this Mapping Study as well as forthcoming public consultations.

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