Preface

Our world is facing unprecedented challenges. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals now seems more ambitious than ever. At the same time, climate change is starting to have concrete effects on societies and economies around the world. We now have to accelerate the alignment of our political and economic systems with sustainability goals.

 

The Swiss government and many financial sector players have already taken important steps to further advance the adoption and implementation of sustainability goals within the financial system. We very much welcome actions taken so far. At the same time, we think more has to happen at a faster pace to achieve both goals: ensuring Switzerland is a leading international financial centre, thereby maintaining its competitiveness, while at the same time guaranteeing its contribution to sustainable development is substantial. With this Roadmap for the Swiss financial sector, Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) lays out a plan for the different market players involved and illustrates what their role should be in the transition to a sustainable future.

 

We do not claim to know the right solution to all challenges. Hence we see this plan as a starting point, and think it should be subject to ongoing discussion with key stakeholders in the Swiss financial centre. We are convinced that such discussions will help to further develop the Roadmap over time. The goal for the transition to a sustainable future is clear: we want to reach a net zero world by 2050, with a sustainable economy that respects planetary boundaries while offering prosperity for all people.
 
 

Sabine Döbeli
CEO SSF

Patrick Odier
President SSF

Download the Roadmap (full version PDF) below

Introduction

This report sets out a Roadmap for the Swiss financial sector in making its contribution to a sustainable future. It lays out concrete recommended actions for the different market players with the objective of making Switzerland a leading voice and actor in sustainable finance, and thereby contributing to a sustainable and prosperous economy. As a basis for this, it first takes stock of the sustainable finance developments in Switzerland to date (see full report, chapter 2). Based on the identification of relevant gaps it derives measures for different target groups.

 

The following sections are devoted to individual actions for the different segments of the financial market. In the sense of a Roadmap, a timeframe is assigned to each of them according to the following principles:

  • by 2023, create the basis for the integration of sustainability factors into all financial decisions — 43 recommended actions are assigned to this timeline
  • by 2025, implement all necessary instruments and frameworks to align financial flows and activities to sustainability goals — 7 recommended actions are assigned to this timeline
  • ongoing: starting now but to continue over time with the objective of having all financial flows and activities fully aligned to science-based targets on sustainability goals by 2030 — 7 recommended actions are assigned to this timeline

We categorise the actions required into four categories. Each principal action is tagged as belonging to one of the following categories:

Icon_standard

standard setting

create and apply best-practice sustainability standads

21 recommended actions are in this category

Icon_transparency

transparency

illuminate present and future sustainability risks and/or impacts

9 recommended actions are in this category

Icon_innovation

innovation

solve difficult problems in clever and unprecedented ways

6 recommended actions are in this category

Icon_dialogue

dialogue & education

raise awareness and educate target groups

21 recommended actions are in this category

The full report also contains an analysis of where the Swiss government has already stepped up its efforts with regards to sustainable finance and the various actors involved in pushing the theme forward (Chapter 5).

 

The intention of this Roadmap is to promote a dialogue with all relevant players and stakeholders in the Swiss financial industry as well as to foster concrete actions that will position Switzerland as a leading player in sustainable finance while contributing to the transition to a sustainable economy and society.

 

There remains much to be done in this fast-moving space, but with the energy of the Swiss market, and its ability to develop innovative solutions, we have every chance of remaining a leading centre for sustainable finance that resolutely supports the transition to a sustainable future.

Key Areas of Action for Swiss Financial Market Players to Achieve a Sustainable Financial Centre by 2025

Based on an assessment of the status quo in the full report, it is evident that the finance industry can contribute to reaching both Swiss and global sustainability and climate goals, namely achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and contributing to the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.
 

When we speak about a sustainable financial system, it is important to keep the big picture in mind. The following figure provides an overview on the key players and functions in the Swiss financial system. All players must collaborate for the financial system to effectively contribute to sustainable development. In this Roadmap we focus on private-sector action needed to make sustainability an inherent element of Swiss finance. By clicking on the respective player, you can see the respective recommended actions.

Key players and activities in the Swiss financial centre

4.1 Institutional asset owners

Insurance companies, pension funds, foundations and family offices control large volumes of assets managed in Switzerland. Besides investing in listed securities, such institutional asset owners are often owners – and sometimes developers – of real-estate portfolios. 
 

Many institutional asset owners have started to adopt sustainable investment policies and strategies more broadly over the past two years. While intentions are universally positive for these players, much remains to be done when it comes to actually changing day-to-day processes. 

 

 

Current status

  • In 2004, two large institutional asset owners and the Ethos Foundation founded an engagement pool to carry out engagement activities with investee companies on ESG topics, now uniting approximately 150 pension funds and other tax-exempt institutions[1].
  • The majority of pension fund and insurance company assets in Switzerland by volume were screened according to PACTA for the first time in 2017. These climate alignment tests were repeated in 2020 with an even higher participation of Swiss pension funds and insurance companies.
  • In mid-2018, the Swiss Pension Fund Association (ASIP) incorporated sustainability factors into its Guidelines for Pension Fund Investments.
  • Since 2020 the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) has published an annual report about current sustainability practice in the Swiss insurance industry as well as the development of sustainable assets managed by insurance companies.
  • According to the latest Swiss Sustainable Investment Market Study, around one third of assets managed by institutional asset owners already apply at least one of the common sustainable investment approaches. Yet, much of the volume still remains in phase I or II type products and has not yet shifted into impact-focused products.
  • Some Swiss asset owners have joined the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance.[2] The members of this group commit to reducing the carbon emissions of their investment portfolios to net-zero by 2050.

[1] Ethos: Members of the Ethos Engagement Pool Switzerland, available at  https://ethosfund.ch/en/members-ethos-engagement-pool, accessed 14/04/2021.

[2] UNEPFI: Alliance Members, available at https://www.unepfi.org/net-zero-alliance/alliance-members/, accessed 14/04/2021.

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20231.aDevelop a strategy and policy for sustainable investment in overarching asset management:
  • The strategy and policy should be aligned to the purpose of the organisation
  • Make available necessary resources to implement policy and strategy, be it in internal asset management or through external providers
  • Asset manager selection should be congruent with the policy
  • Undertake the same level of diligence in asset manager selection for ESG capacities as for traditional asset manager selection criteria to ensure asset managers have the capability to deliver on the policy
1.bProvide transparency on the sustainability of portfolios through meaningful and relevant reporting
  • Include relevant KPIs on ESG factors, broken down by major asset classes
  • Transparently report on climate risks based on TCFD
  • Adapt reporting to the size and complexity of the organisation
1.cState a clear target to reduce the carbon footprint of portfolios to net zero by 2050, and set an intermediary goal for reductions by 2030 in line with Swiss climate goals. Thereby cooperate with one of the relevant initiatives in this field
1.dAdopt active ownership strategies:
  • Exercise voting rights at Annual General Meetings in ways that promote sustainability; track and release these votes publicly
  • Engage with companies towards improved sustainability strategies and report on it
  • Establish clear guidelines that define escalation measures for cases where engagement is unsuccessful
1.eAll institutional asset owner board members complete training sessions on sustainable investments
1.fCollaborate with SSF and other relevant finance organisations to develop a Swiss stewardship code in a broad coalition of asset owners and managers

4.2 Insurance industry

The insurance industry issues policies to all segments of our society and economy, including the real economy, the financial sector and government. In addition it has a prominent role as an investor.
 

Besides following the recommended actions set out in Chapter 4.1 for institutional asset owners, insurers can also drive positive change in the area of sustainability in the underwriting and risk management aspects of its business. The recommended actions in this chapter refer to these aspects of the insurance business. To support insurers in developing sustainable practices in underwriting and risk management, UNEP FI created the Principles for Sustainable Insurance[1] in 2012.
 

Current status

  • Since 2020 the Swiss Insurance Association (SIA) has published an annual report about current sustainability practice in the Swiss insurance industry as well as the development of sustainable assets managed by insurance companies.
  • The reports of most international Swiss insurance companies already fulfil the requirements of TCFD.
  • In October 2021 the SIA became a supporting member of the UN-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance.
  • Some insurers (e.g. Swiss Re, Zurich Insurance Group, AXA) have committed to no longer provide re/insurance to businesses with major interests in thermal coal.

[1] UNEPFI (2012): “The UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance”, available at https://www.unepfi.org/psi/the-principles/, accessed 14/04/202

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20232.a Integrate guiding principles regarding sustainability into the mission statement (or equivalent) of the organisation, and ensure they are translated into corporate strategy and policy for sustainable insurance business (managing ESG risks in risk assessment and insurance underwriting),
  • Apply them to core products
  • Make sure management and employees are aligned with the policy and the strategy by engaging them in the implementation and aligning remuneration structures
2.b Provide transparency on the sustainability of the insurance business through meaningful and relevant reporting
  • Include relevant KPIs on ESG factors
  • Publish portfolio indicators broken down by major lines of business
  • Transparently report on climate risks based on TCFD
  • Adapt reporting to the size and complexity of the organisation
2.cEngage with clients on sustainability topics as part of underwriting new policies
2.d Train insurance professionals in the role of sustainability issues for insurance business
2024-20252.eDevelop innovative climate insurance products to mitigate risks related to climate change.
2.fIn cooperation with SIA, develop best practice for insurance solutions addressing sustainability issues.

4.3 Asset managers

Switzerland is home to a large number of national and global asset managers. The Swiss financial centre looks after 4.6 percent of the assets under global investment management, according to the SBA.
 

Swiss asset managers are crucial for the development of the right products and instruments targeting Swiss and international clients (both institutional and private) looking to redirect their assets into sustainable products. A crucial contribution to the sustainability of the Swiss financial centre by asset managers in this process is their engagement with investee companies. By providing transparency on the sustainability performance of their products, they support clients in their choice. 
 

Current status

  • Many asset managers have long experience in sustainable investing and some of them have been providing KPIs on the sustainability of their portfolios for many years.
  • Some asset managers go a step further to define binding carbon-reduction goals for their portfolios[1].
  • AMAS/SSF recommendations were published in June 2020 and will help smaller players adopt sustainable investment strategies.
  • A number of Swiss asset managers have joined the Net Zero Asset Manager Initiative,[2] formed in 2020. The members of this group commit to support investing aligned with net zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
  • Mainstreaming of ESG risk assessment is progressing fast, as illustrated in the 2021 SSF Market Study: CHF 1,520.2 billion of assets under management currently take sustainability factors into account in one or the other way.

[1] E.g. Swisscanto claims to be “the first fund provider to commit … to a binding target of reducing CO2 by 4% p.a. in all traditional, active investment funds” Swisscanto: Sustainability, available at  https://www.swisscanto.com/ch/en/po/swisscanto-invest/sustainability.html, accessed 14/04/2021.

[2] Net Zero asset managers initiative, available at https://www.netzeroassetmanagers.org/, accessed 14/04/2021.

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20233.a Integrate guiding principles regarding sustainability into the mission statement (or equivalent) of the organisation, ensure they are translated into corporate strategy and policy for sustainable investment
  • Apply them to all core products
  • Make sure management and employees are aligned with the policy and the strategy by engaging them in the implementation and aligning remuneration structures
3.b Provide transparency on the sustainability of portfolios through meaningful and relevant reporting
  • Include relevant KPIs on ESG factors
  • Transparently report on climate risks based on TCFD
  • Publish portfolio indicators broken down by asset classes
  • Adapt reporting to the size and complexity of the organisation
3.cState a clear target and roadmap to reduce the carbon footprint of managed portfolios to net zero by 2050, and set an intermediary goal for reductions by 2030 in line with Swiss climate goals. Thereby cooperate with one of the relevant initiatives in this field.
3.d Adopt active ownership strategies
  • Exercise voting rights at Annual General Meetings in ways that promote sustainability; track and release these votes publicly
  • Engage with companies towards improved sustainability strategies and report on it
3.eTrain investment professionals through the SSF e-learning tool or other training
3.fCollaborate with SSF and other relevant finance organisations to develop a Swiss stewardship code in a broad coalition of asset managers and owners
ongoing3.gLead an informed and constructive dialogue with institutional clients about their needs and preferences in sustainable investing

4.4 Wealth managers

Switzerland is a leading centre for private wealth management. The banks in Switzerland had client assets totalling CHF 7,878.7 billion at the end of 2020. Switzerland is still the global market leader in cross-border private banking, accounting for a quarter of all cross-border assets under management worldwide.[1]
 

The proximity to their clients and high advisory quality is something Swiss wealth managers are proud of. Against the backdrop of growing client demand for sustainable investments, it is key to expand the sustainable offering in wealth management. By providing transparency on the sustainability performance of their products, wealth managers support clients in their choice.
 

Current status

  • Many players have long experience in sustainable investing and some of them have been providing KPIs on the sustainability of their portfolios for many years.
  • The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) published “Guideline for the integration of ESG considerations into the advisory process for private clients” in June 2020.
  • Some wealth managers have made sustainable investments the default of their offering and developed specific sustainable discretionary mandates.
  • In September 2021, the Association of Swiss Asset and Wealth Management Banks (VAV/ABG) presented an industry initiative with 16 priority actions to engage against climate change, with the commitment to regularly monitor progress.

[1] Source: Banking Barometer 2021, SwissBanking, 2021 (https://publications.swissbanking.ch/economic-trends-in-the-swiss-banking-industry/assets-under-management/  )

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20234.a Integrate guiding principles regarding sustainability into the mission statement (or equivalent) of the organisation, ensure they are translated into corporate strategy and policy for sustainable investment
  • Apply them to all core products & services
  • Make sure management and employees are aligned with the policy and the strategy by engaging them in the implementation and aligning remuneration structures
4.b Provide transparency on the sustainability of portfolios through meaningful and relevant reporting
  • Include relevant KPIs on ESG factors
  • Transparently report on climate risks based on TCFD
  • Publish comparable portfolio indicators for all products on offer
  • Adapt reporting to the size and complexity of the organisation
4.cState a clear target and roadmap to reduce the carbon footprint of managed portfolios to net zero by 2050, and set an intermediary goal for reductions by 2030 in line with Swiss climate goals. Thereby cooperate with one of the relevant initiatives in this field.
4.d Adopt active ownership strategies
  • Facilitate exercising of voting rights at Annual General Meetings for clients in ways that promote sustainability
  • Engage with companies towards improved sustainability strategies
4.eTrain client advisors and investment professionals through the SSF e-learning tool or other training
ongoing4.fIdentify private client sustainability preferences in the advisory process, based on SwissBanking recommendations
  • Ensure sustainability is part of every client conversation
  • Offer products and services matching different sustainability client needs
  • Undertake the same level of diligence in asset manager selection for ESG capacities as for traditional asset manager selection criteria to ensure asset managers have the capability to deliver on ESG factors

4.5 Banks

Besides managing assets of their institutional clients (for respective recommended actions see Chapter 4.1) and managing the wealth of their private clients (relating recommended actions see Chapter 4.4),  banks also have a key role in providing finance both to corporate and private clients through lending and corporate finance, as well as mortgages. 
 

4.5.1 Corporate lending & corporate finance

Banks have many different roles in providing finance to corporates, be it through lending or the placement of securities in financial markets.
 

In their lending and corporate finance operations, banks have a chance to shape the economies in which they function. Prudent lending to sustainable firms can create long-lasting benefits in the real economy.  
 

Current status

  • Several banks have started taking ESG factors into account in lending processes to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporates.
  • A number of banks have issued green bonds to raise funding for sustainable lending activities.
  • Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) jointly published a study in August 2021, highlighting the investments needed for the Swiss economy to become climate neutral by 2050.

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20235.1.aIntegrate guiding principles regarding sustainability into the mission statement (or equivalent) of the organisation, ensure they are translated into corporate strategies and policy for sustainable lending/corporate finance and that employees work towards them
  • Apply them to all core products
  • Make sure management and employees are aligned with the policy and the strategy by engaging them in the implementation and aligning remuneration structures
5.1.bApply in-depth climate scenario analysis to evaluate risks in project finance/loan portfolios
5.1.cEngage with clients on sustainability topics and assist them in identifying know-how and support regarding the improvement of sustainability standards and practices
5.1.dIssue and assist others in issuing sustainable bonds (e.g. green, social, transition or other forms of sustainable bonds) based on best-practice standards
2024-20255.1.eBegin systematic collection and assessment of sustainability data as part of lending to corporates
  • Use this information in decision-making processes for lending
  • Develop benchmarks for companies to compare themselves to peers

4.5.2   Mortgages

Banks not only lend to corporates, but also to private individuals. The largest purchase made by most individuals during their lifetime is their home, and for this reason mortgages are the most important intersection point between banks and retail bank customers. 

By taking steps to ensure that the real estate purchased with the help of these loans is environmentally sound, mortgage issuers can have a positive impact on sustainable living. They can also support existing clients in gaining the capital needed for refurbishments. 

Current status

  • A growing number of Swiss banks have issued environmental mortgages. Some of them have been on offer for decades.
  • The association of cantonal banks has formed a workgroup on sustainable mortgages.
  • Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) jointly published a study in August 2021, highlighting the investments needed for the Swiss economy to become climate neutral by 2050.

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20235.2.aBegin systematic collection of energy-related and other relevant sustainability data as part of mortgage lending
5.2.bOffer special mortgage products for renovation of buildings and provide access to consulting services on efficient renovation measures

4.6 Stock exchanges

Stock exchanges have a key role in linking investors to the real economy and they provide information to the market. In Switzerland, SIX is the dominating player in this field. Owned by the banks of Switzerland, SIX provides key services to the market: public exchanges for all manner of financial products, a market information service, and a settlement and custody operation.
 

Current status

  • As early as 2001, SIX already published its first corporate governance directive.
  • SIX tags green bonds on its platform.
  • There is an opt-in clause for publishing a sustainability report based on one of the named standards for companies listed at SIX.
  • SIX became a member of SSF in spring 2020.
  • SIX has published sustainable indices for equities and bonds in 2021.
  • By November 2021, SIX had assisted in the issuance of 62 green bonds and 2 sustainability or sustainability-linked bonds. 

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20236.aCooperate with relevant industry associations to promote sustainability in the Swiss marketplace
6.b Support the development of a mature sustainable bond (e.g. green, social, transition or other forms of sustainable bonds) market in Switzerland by cooperating with other relevant stakeholders
  • Inform market players about different green bond standards and their strengths and weaknesses
  • Make the offering of sustainable bonds easy to find for investors
6.c Define quality standards for reporting requirements resulting from counterproposal to the Responsible Business Initiative and governmental request to prepare TCFD reporting
  • Make sure information is easily accessible

4.7 Credit rating agencies for local issuers

Fixed-income securities (bonds) represent a large share of financial markets. In addition to the three global majors (Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch), FINMA recognises four additional credit rating agencies[1] that assign scores to issuers of debt instruments within the Confederation. 
 

Through their decision of which bonds to buy, investors in this market carry huge importance. Therefore, the addition of sustainability criteria in the area of credit ratings is a big step towards a sustainable finance sector. The consideration of ESG factors by credit rating agencies is particularly relevant and important, as there is a growing pool of evidence linking good ESG performance to lower firm-specific risks and lower credit default swap (CDS) spreads.[2]  
 

The rating agencies should follow international best practice in sustainability risk assessment, which is advancing rapidly in this area, spearheaded by the PRI Credit Risk and Ratings Initiative.[3] Overall, the space is evolving rapidly, with Moody’s appointing a Global ESG Head and S&P Global acquiring ESG assessment specialist SAM in 2020.  
 

Current status

  • Some rating agencies have started to take ESG factors into account in their credit ratings. 

[1]   ”List of rating agencies recognised by FINMA”, available at  https://www.finma.ch/en/~/media/finma/dokumente/finmapublic/bewilligungstraeger/ratingagenturen.pdf?la=en       

[2] UNPRI (2017): “Shifting Perceptions: ESG, Credit Risk And Ratings”, available at  https://www.Unpri.Org/Download?Ac=256

[3] UNPRI: Credit Risk and Ratings Initiative, available at https://www.unpri.org/credit-ratings, accessed 14/04/2021.

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20237.a Include ESG factors in analysis for credit ratings
  • Follow developments of the major rating agencies in the area of sustainability, and actively improve on best industry practice
  • Provide transparency on methodology both on a qualitative and quantitative level

4.8 Corporates: the "real economy" of Switzerland

The corporate sector is a key recipient of the services provided by the financial services industry, in the form of loans, equity issuance, and other products. Swiss corporations will play a prime role in advances in sustainability within Switzerland, as their activities cause a major share of direct and indirect Swiss CO2 emissions. 
 

The role of the industry – and specifically of SMEs – seems to be missing so far in the Swiss sustainable finance discussion, as the topic is perceived to be confined to entities operating in the financial sector itself. But as a report by the German government points out, “The financial industry can fund only those economic activities that companies develop.”[1] It is therefore key for Swiss corporates to support the transition to a sustainable financial centre by following sustainable strategies and informing on the results of their implementation in a transparent way. As stated in the introduction, this chapter focuses on the interaction of corporates with the financial sector, but not on their overall sustainability strategy and its implementation.
 

Current status

  • Many Swiss companies have implemented sustainability strategies.
  • Several companies regularly publish a sustainability report based on an international standard (e.g. GRI, SASB).
  • Economiesuisse has established a sustainable finance committee.
  • With the rejection of the popular vote on the Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) in November 2020, the indirect counterproposal comes into effect. The counterproposal requires companies to report annually on non-financial matters and sets out due diligence and reporting requirements on conflict minerals and child labour.[2]
  • The Federal Council decided on parameters for the future mandatory climate reporting by large Swiss companies in August 2021 and announced that it would prepare a consultation draft by summer 2022.[3]

[1] Sustainable Finance-Committee of the German Federal Government (March 2020): “Interim Report. The Significance Of Sustainable Finance To The Great Transformation”, available at https://sustainable-finance-beirat.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/200306_SFB-Zwischenbericht_EN.pdf.

[2] Swiss Parlament: “Obligationenrecht (Indirekter Gegenvorschlag zur Volksinitiative «Für verantwortungsvolle Unternehmen –zum Schutz von Mensch und Umwelt») Änderung vom 19. Juni2020 “, available at https://www.parlament.ch/centers/eparl/curia/2016/20160077/Schlussabstimmungstext%202%20NS%20D.pdf

[3] https://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start/documentation/media-releases.msg-id-84741.html

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20238.aMandate the major industry associations to promote sustainable investments of their members’ own funds and pension funds through a list of best practices
8.bThe Energy Agency of the Swiss Private Sector defines clear sector carbon emission targets to adequately reflect the Federal Council’s net zero 2050 goal
8.cIssue sustainability bonds (e.g. green, social, transition or other forms of sustainable bonds) based on best practice standards
  • Integrate ESG/climate- related terms in the "covenants section" of the bond agreement
8.dAll listed companies apply TCFD recommendations, in line with announcement of Swiss government
8.eBoth listed companies and a defined segment of SMEs prepare ESG reporting. In this they:
  • Release sustainability data simultaneously and as part of annual financial reports
  • Define and include KPIs based on recognised standards such as GRI and SASB
  • Seeking independent assurance of ESG reporting is highly recommended/considered as best practice
2024-20258.fStrive for a review of the Swiss accounting standard Swiss GAAP FER to include sustainability-related aspects, aligned with respective developments in international accounting standards
8.gMake relevant sustainability KPIs available in a central data repository (aligned to international discussions)
8.hCorporates should carry out due diligence on material human rights and the environmental impact of key suppliers

4.9 Sustainable finance research and education providers

Solid education is an important basis for economic success. Switzerland can build on excellent educational facilities on all levels of education, be it vocational training, primary, secondary or academic research and education.
 

In June 2020 the FOEN published a report, in conjunction with SSF, that identified important areas of action to make sustainability a standard element of all finance education. Based on workshops, a dialogue with respective stakeholders has already been started with the objective of implementing many of the suggested measures.

 

Current status

  • A growing number of courses and degrees on sustainable finance are available at Swiss universities and business schools
  • Some vocational training programmes already include elements of sustainable finance
  • A number of universities have dedicated centers or research capacities in sustainable finance

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-20239.aActions related to vocational training
  • Expand requirements and training within vocational programmes in the banking and private insurance sectors with regard to sustainability and sustainable finance
  • Achieve systematic integration of sustainability into CYP[1] courses and other fundamental professional training for finance-related professions
9.b Actions related to academic research and education/training
  • Secure financing for additional sustainable finance chairs i.e. through foundations, private actors etc. in Switzerland
  • Create national research projects in sustainable finance
  • Expand existing academic partnerships and foster networks in Switzerland and abroad
  • Systematically integrate sustainable finance into academic training i.e. through mandatory material in Bachelor’s programmes in the field of economics and finance or the establishment of a Master’s degree in sustainable finance
9.c Actions related to continuing education for professionals
  • Develop specific tools and training modules on sustainable finance for executive- and board-level education
  • Include a sustainable finance module in existing training for pension fund boards
  • Integrate sustainable finance as a compulsory element in the curriculum of financial diplomas and certification programmes
[1] CYP stands for “Challenge your Potential” and is the competence centre for learning in banking, founded in 2003 by the five largest Swiss banks in cooperation with the Swiss Bankers Association (https://cyp.ch/en/about-cyp)

4.10 Swiss finance associations

Industry associations play a key role in motivating and enabling Swiss finance players to adopt sustainability strategies.
 

Amongst these associations, Swiss Sustainable Finance represents a strong sustainable finance network across all relevant players in the financial market. Through its activities it shapes and informs on best practice, creates supportive frameworks and tools, and fosters a dialogue between different stakeholders. We see an important role for SSF in supporting all players in the financial centre in implementing the measures suggested in this Roadmap. At the same time, it is vital that other finance associations support their members in implementing sustainable finance policies through concrete, sector-specific guidance.

 

Current status

  • Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) has worked on promoting sustainable finance practices over the course of the past 7 years, with a particular focus on investments.
  • SSF has a close collaboration with Sustainable Finance Geneva (SFG) in promoting sustainable finance in Switzerland. SFG was the initiator of Building Bridges and was instrumental in setting up both the structure of this broad cooperation platform and the content of the topics covered, thereby supported by SSF.
  • SSF has a fruitful cooperation with many finance associations in promoting sustainable finance practices (e.g. Swiss Bankers Association, Asset Management Association Switzerland, Swiss Insurance Association).
  • Other finance associations have prepared initial guidance on sustainable finance practice for their members and have set up workgroups on the subject.

Areas of action for SSF

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-202310.aSupport the implementation of the Roadmap for Switzerland as a leading centre for sustainable finance
  • Report on progress and update the Roadmap on a regular basis
  • Advocate strategies supporting the Roadmap objectives
10.bReview existing stewardship codes and develop a draft Swiss stewardship code jointly with other stakeholders
10.cUndertake an evaluation for a Swiss label for sustainable funds aligned with other existing label schemes
2024-202510.dHelp establish a sustainable fintech community in Switzerland
  • Cooperate with research institutes in organising events and preparing publications
  • Liaise with the Green Fintech Neetwork to promote the right frameworks and foster innovative approaches
ongoing10.eDevelop initiatives to ensure the market possesses the right expertise to adopt sustainable finance strategies, e.g.
  • Prepare guidelines for different market players, thereby cooperate with other associations representing the different players in the Swiss financial marketplace
  • Support members in adapting to new regulatory requirements
  • Support the development of educational capacities on sustainable finance
10.fCooperate with other stakeholders in promoting sustainable finance vis-à-vis national and international stakeholders
  • Support the establishment of Building Bridges as a key platform
  • Support other sustainable finance events with expert know-how and access to key stakeholders
  • Represent Zurich in the FC4S Network

Areas of action for other Swiss finance associations

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
ongoing10.hDevelop initiatives to ensure the market possesses the right expertise to adopt sustainable finance
10.iCooperate with other stakeholders in promoting sustainable finance vis-à-vis national and international stakeholders

4.11 Building bridges between stakeholders

Switzerland is in a unique position to host a broad ecosystem of international organisations and NGOs while being a world-class financial centre. The “Building Bridges” initiative brings diverse actors from the finance industry, the United Nations, international organisations, NGOs, academia, and local, cantonal and national authorities together in collaboration around a common vision of advancing sustainable finance to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building Bridges aims to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy in Switzerland and worldwide in a collaborative effort.
 
Through an annual discussion forum and continued cooperation, complemented by numerous events organised by the Building Bridges community, the initiative encourages the finance community’s contribution to realising the SDGs. At the core of the initiative is the recognition that the scale and complexity of the transition require “building bridges” between the multiple stakeholders in the finance, government, and sustainable development communities.

 

Current status

  • The first Building Bridges Week and Summit was held in October 2019, initiated by SFG in cooperation with SSF and Geneva Financial Centre (FGPF)
  • The initiative now builds on a great number of partners that are involved in organising the second Building Bridges Week and Summit from 29 November to 2 December 2021

Areas of action

Timeframe#Recommended ActionsCategory
2022-202311.aEstablish “Building Bridges” as a key platform to further strengthen ties between the international organisations based in Geneva, the Swiss finance community, the Swiss federal authorities and NGOs, thereby fostering the development of finance for the SDGs
ongoing11.bAssess which competence areas need enhancement within mainstream Swiss finance in order to effect a transformation and build on cooperation between all stakeholders to foster such competencies

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