Finance

Embedding sustainability principles

responsAbility supports Swiss Sustainable Finance

The Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) platform has been promoting sustainability in the Swiss financial market since 1 July 2014.

Its aim is to position Switzerland as a leading centre for sustainable financial services. And, as one of its founding members, responsAbility Investments AG (responsAbility)  is actively involved in building the platform.

Promoting social and environmental investment

More than 70 organizations – including financial services providers, investors, research institutions and public sector bodies – have joined forces to promote social and environmental themes in the areas of investment and financing in Switzerland.

This will not only create a host of opportunities but will also help to strengthen the Swiss financial centre on a targeted basis.

SSF has set itself the goal of:

  • developing practical tools
  • promoting training and development for financial specialists
  • and supplying market information.

Bringing expertise together

Klaus Tischhauser, Co-Founder of responsAbility explained SSF’s principles.

“With the launch of Swiss Sustainable Finance, we have created a platform that brings together broad expertise in the field of sustainable finance.

“Using a variety of measures, we want to ensure that sustainability principles become more firmly embedded in the Swiss finance industry.”

Sabine Döbeli, CEO of SSF, emphasized: “Swiss Sustainable Finance wants to drive changes in the Swiss financial centre in order to prepare it for the future.

“Growing numbers of clients are explicitly calling for financial products that are based on a long-term perspective. We want to accelerate this trend by building on existing strengths.”

Switzerland: already a leader in sustainable finance

Swiss market participants already have a major impact on global developments in sustainable finance through their innovative products and services.

  • CHF 57 billion of sustainable investments are managed in Switzerland – including a significant proportion on behalf of international clients.
  • The sustainable investments sector has been achieving double-digit growth for several years and expanded by a further 17% last year.
  • Switzerland is the hub for microfinance investments: of the total USD 10 billion invested in microfinance globally, approximately one third is managed here.
  • More than 200 organizations are active sustainable finance in Switzerland.
  • Swiss companies have a variety of sustainable financial services and financing instruments, including a risk index based on environmental and social risks, and a fair trade fund for pre-financing agricultural produce.

Combining strengths for success

SSF held its first event ‘Sustainable financial centre Switzerland – combining strengths for success’ in Zurich on 23 October 2014.

At the event, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Director of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and Marianne Fay, Chief Economist of the Climate Change Group at the World Bank, underscored the opportunities that Switzerland will be able to capture by adopting a sustainable focus in its financial centre.

They explained that the demand for quality, innovation and financial expertise will be greater than ever before.

International finance experts

An international panel of experts, with representatives from various areas of finance, engaged in a lively discussion about the opportunities and risks associated with a sustainable Swiss financial centre.

Everyone agreed that Switzerland possesses excellent structures and a concentration of expertise.

Legislative requirement

The panel also suggested that in the immediate future, the term ‘sustainable’ will become superfluous, given that sustainable approaches will become a legislative requirement.

However, some of the experts remained sceptical about the rate at which changes are being implemented – stating that global institutional investors are seeking solutions that are not yet offered by market participants.

 

Logo SSFRead more about the work and principles of Swiss Sustainable Finance.