A proposal that could have stiffened penalties against companies based in Switzerland if they violate human rights or harm the environment abroad has failed in a Swiss referendum, only achieving a majority in eight and a half of the country’s 23 cantons – including the four major cities of Zurich, Geneva, Basel and the capital, Bern – with the rest voting against. The measure, according to Al Jazeera, could have made large Switzerland-based companies liable in the country’s courts for their flawed operations or those of their subsidiaries and subcontractors in foreign nations, unless they were able to show that they conducted proper due diligence beforehand. Instead, the rejection by voters automatically activated the government’s counter-proposal, which also requires companies to report on rights, environmental protections, and corruption issues – but without being liable for violations.