SSF representatives are regularly taking part in events organised by third parties to present the objectives and activities of SSF and inform on sustainable finance.
Here’s a list of events in which SSF was involved in 2015.
Innovation, Technology & Stewardship (ITS) conference
Zürich, 8 December 2015
The Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and Bank J. Safra Sarasin organized two full-day conferences on the topic of "Innovation, technology & Stewardship".
Andreas Hoepner, PRI, presented an update on academic research on ESG investments. He found clear indications that taking ESG factors into account can indeed reduce downside risks and specific factors are linked to out-performance. Several panels then presented further insights into where the industry is heading. A panel consisting of 3 data providers (eRevalue, RepRisk, and TruValue) discussed the advances being made on the data side, which is now using artificial intelligence to look at ESG data more objectively. The following panel focused on the topic of Fiduciary duties concluded that ambiguity needs to be removed from regulations around this term. Another highlight of the day was the presentation from Falko Paetzold, Harvard, describing his experiences working with motivated wealthy private investors who run into barriers when pursuing their Sustainable investment goals. He saw a barrier in the lack of interest and expertise of client advisers.
At the close of the conference, Sabine Döbeli, CEO SSF, joined the last panel including Pierin Menzli (J. Safra Sarasin), Emma Jayne Joyce (Ireland Strategic Investment Fund) and Hans-Jörg Hofer (private investor) to discuss the evolution of responsible investing in Europe. One of the topics touched on in the discussion was how Switzerland will likely see innovation and growth driven by the private sector more than by regulatory change as seen in other countries like Sweden or France.
Clean TechInvesting Seminar: The roadmap to successful Cleantech investment
Lausanne, 2/3 December 2015
This two day seminar from CleanTechInvesting (CTI) brought together investors from the area of Cleantech investing to explore some of the upcoming innovations and trends. Some of the major topics covered during the event were:
- Sources of Cleantech Investment
- Stopping Climate Change
- Government Impact to Going Global
- Responsible Investment & Making an Impact
- Investing Into Growth at Scale
- Development, Growth & Exit Strategies
Deputy CEO SSF, Jean Laville, moderated one of the sessions on day 1 on "Government Impact to Going Global - Making regulations work for your strategy." The panel discussed policy and regulatory barriers to entering new global markets, how to choose target markets, what benefits global investment partners bring and the benefits and drawbacks of government support for Cleantech development.
As part of the TBLI Conference Europe 2015, SSF CEO, Sabine Döbeli moderated a Workshop with three prominent representatives in the area of "Investments for Development: Swiss Innovation For A Sustainable World." With the agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) now behind us, the panel was tasked to explain what mechanisms are in place within their organisations to help meet these goals and to display how an innovative approach can lead to great success in the area. The panel was kicked-off by Patrick Elmer, Head Business Development at BlueOrchard. Christian Etzensperger, Head Corporate Development & Strategy from responsAbility followed with an overview of how seed capital of 2.5 million dollars grew into over 2 billion dollars of investments in projects with positive effects in the developing world. Andrea Heinzer, CIO & Partner at Obviam rounded out the discussion with stories of her experience running the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM).
Clear conclusions were that for the Swiss market, such investments are very difficult for Swiss institutional investors to support due to their rather traditional investment approaches. The three panellists further stated that a friendlier regulatory environment for such products needs to be supported and that much more awareness on the topic is also a top priority, including some clear definitions and a common language.
Long night of careers at ETH and University of Zurich
Zürich, 12 November 2015
ETH and University of Zurich offered a varied program to their students to get informed about promising career paths. In a roundtable on careers in sustainability different sustainability experts gave insights into prerequisites and supporting factors for a career with impact. The interest in combining a career in finance with sustainability was particularly high and Sabine Döbeli offered her experience in how to best get prepared for such a job.
Read more about the Long Night of Careers.
Book Vernissage "Small Money - Big Impact"
Zürich, 11 November 2015
Blue Orchard presented a new book on the power of Microfinance at an event featuring a speech of Jean-Daniel Gerber, President of Swiss Sustainable Finance. At the event, the role of microfinance investments was illustrated with practical examples by the two authors Peter Fanconi and Patrick Scheurle, both from Blue Orchard.
ALFI Switzerland Roadshow
Zürich, 29 October 2015
At the ALFI Roadshow, a panel discussion was held on the increasingly important role of sustainable investments both for the European fund market and the market place in Luxemburg. Annemarie Arens, General Manager, LuxFlag, debated with Joëlle Hauser, Partner, Clifford Chance, Sabine Döbeli, CEO, Swiss Sustainable Finance, Rochus Mommartz, Member of the Management Board, responsAbilityInvestments AG and Dr. René Nicolodi, ZürcherKantonalbank, Head of Equities & Themes, Asset Management about specific challenges of sustainable investments in the Swiss market and today's approaches in addressing them.
See intro presentation (Slides 60-67)
Forum Kohlenstoffrisiken für den Finanzplatz Schweiz
Bern, 22 October 2015
The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) presented the first study on carbon risks of Swiss funds and pension funds at this event. The authors CSSP and South Pole Group presented the findings of the study and outlined risks and costs involved in equity investments in case stricter carbon pricing and regulations are put in place. A panel of experts including Jean Laville, Swiss Sustainable Finance, Simone Ruiz-Vergote, Allianz, and Robin Edme, Ministère de l’Écologie, du Développement Durable et de l’Énergie de la France, discussed international experiences in assessing climate risks in investments with the moderator Jakob Thomä, 2° Investing Initiative.
Academia Engelberg: Zukunftsfähige Wirtschaftssysteme
Engelberg, 14 October 2015
The annual symposium "Academia Engelberg" aims to foster a dialogue between science, the economy and the public on future economic systems. After a day of thought provoking presentations by different academics, the public evening featured a panel discussion on the topic "Doing business in Switzerland - homework completed?".
After an introductionary speech of Gerhard Schwarz, Avenir Suisse, Sabine Döbeli, Swiss Sustainable Finance, Irmi Seidl, Research Institute WSL, Paul Philipp Hug, Bäckerei-Konditorei HUG AG and Felix Sulzberger, CALIDA, debated the role of business in making our society more inclusive. Watch the video of the event.
A Swiss Perspective on the New Climate Economy Report
Zürich, 10 September 2015
swisscleantech in partnership with The New Climate Economy (The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate), hosted an event to discuss topics around the New Climate Economy Report. This report identifies 10 key areas of opportunity for stronger climate action which will also bring significant economic benefits.
SSF President Jean-Daniel Gerber joined a panel with Caio Koch-Weser (Vice Chairman Deutsche Bank Group), Dr. Mirjam Staub-Bisang (CEO Independant Capital Group AG) and Thomas Vellacott (CEO WWF)
Finance Cluster Dialog der Standortförderung des Kantons Zürich: Paradigmenwechsel auf dem Finanzplatz Zürich
Zürich, 1 September 2015
Over 100 professionals joined the Canton of Zurich and SSF at SIX ConventionPoint to discuss the opportunities Sustainable Investing offers for future growth of Zurich as a finance centre.
After introductory words from Alexander Barkawi (Director, Council on Economic Policies and President, oikos Foundation), Carmen Walker Späh (Volkswirtschaftsdirektorin des Kantons Zürich), and a presentation from SSF President Jean-Daniel Gerber, further insights to the topic were presented by prominent actors in the field.
Philipp Aeby (CEO RepRisk AG) explained the issues around the increasing "hypertransparency" affecting companies in a world where the transfer of knowledge occurs at the click of a button and within seconds can reach a global audience.
Afterwards, a panel discussion on the topic of "Asset Management: in what direction is it heading?" invoked a lively exchange between panallists and the audience.
- Prof. Urs Birchler, Institute for Banking and Finance, University of Zurich
- Doris Fiala, Nationalrätin FDP, Die Liberalen, Zürich
- Peter W. Grünblatt, Leiter Initiative Asset Management Schweiz, SBVg
- Dewet Moser, Stellvertretendes Mitglied des Direktoriums, SNB
- René Nicolodi, Head of Equities & Themes, ZKB
Closing words were provided by Markus Assfalg (Leiter Standortförderung, Amt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit, Kanton Zürich).
For more insights into the evening, watch this short YouTube video.
Throughout the evening, it was emphasized that there are already many Swiss-based companies, which have a high level of expertise as well as innovative strengths in the area of sustainable finance. We see this through our market leadership in the microfinance industry. Nevertheless, the market share of sustainable investments is still below 2 % in Switzerland. The event offered a platform to discuss the opportunities available to increase total assets dedicated to sustainable investing. Some of the possibilities discussed included a stronger focus on encouraging the systematic inclusion of such investments by pension funds, in-depth training of client advisors or the introduction of minimum standards for investors.
Swiss Ambassador's Conference 2015
Bern, 18 August 2015
In an Atelier hosted by State Secretary Manuel Sager, Head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Ambassador Michael Gerber held a discussion on the topic "Switzerland and the Post 2015 Agenda" with experts from development aid, politics and finance. Sabine Döbeli, CEO Swiss Sustainable Finance, Doris Fiala, Member of the Swiss Parliament, FDP, and Peter Arbenz, President of the Consulting Commission on International Cooperation debated the role of the Swiss public sector and Swiss business in contributing to sustainable development.
International conference: Financing for Development 3 (FFD3)
Addis ABeba, 13 - 16 July 2015
SSF was invited to represent the Swiss Financial sector in the official Swiss delegation for the international conference Financing for Development 3 (FFD3) in Addis Abeba. The main objective of the conference was the sign off of the Addis Abeba Action Agenda (AAAA) by the 192 UN member countries, a document defining the framework to finance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SSF took the opportunity to not only liase with the Swiss officials of the delegation, but also with many of the roughly 7000 participants at the main conference and at the over 200 side event.
SSF formally represented Switzerland in some of the official roundtables at the main conference. Panellists in the roundtables stressed the importance of partnerships for development - partnerships between the private and the public sector, but also between the North and the South. Tax justice - or lack thereof - was widely discussed and representatives of the G77 expressed their disappointment that an international tax committee is not mentioned in the AAAA. The importance of business friendly frameworks with low corruption, easy bureaucratic processes and low taxes was seen as a prerequisite for increasing foreign direct investments by many players.
A Swiss Side Event covered the topic "Impact investing in Africa" and featured a high-level panel including Manuel Sager, Director General of the SDC, and representatives of the UNDP, the African Union Commission and an African Foundation. Sabine Döbeli moderated the session and summarised the discussion focussing on the importance of achieving attractive returns while illustrating the impact of investments with relevant KPIs. She also took the opportunity to promote Swiss capacities in managing investments for development.
The AAAA were seen as a difficult compromise both for developing and developed countries and many of them expressed their reservations about the final document. Nevertheless their adoption by the UN member countries can be seen as an important step forward. They lay the foundation to finance the Sustainable Development Goals and create a framework under which a further mobilisation of private capital becomes more likely. Read the summary of all roundtables and side events visited by Sabine Döbeli (in German).
UNEP Inquiry/Axa Symposium: New Rules for New Horizons
Paris, 3 July 2015
UNEP Inquiry and Axa held a symposium in Paris to discuss first results of the UNEP Inquiry project amongst experts. SSF was invited to put together a delegation of Swiss officials for them to bring in the Swiss perspective into the discussions and to inform Swiss authorities about possible areas of action. Representatives from FOEN, SIF and SECO made their way to Paris to learn more about UNEP Inquiry policy suggestions and discuss these results with high-level financial experts.
Read a summary of the symposium.
The Swiss finance sector addressing climate change
zurich, 1 July 2015
This event –jointly organized by the Zurich Carbon Market Association and South Pole Group – brought together representatives of the financial sector and corporate world to discuss international politics and the upcoming COP21 in Paris, to showcase international trends, to showcase tools for assessing investment climate impact and to present best practices from Switzerland and abroad.
After an introduction by Sabine Döbeli (CEO SSF), Maximilian Horster (South Pole Group) and Tobias Jung (Inrate) presented some industry practice examples.
Dialogue on Swiss carbon markets
Bern, 16 June 2015
The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) held the second dialogue between the Swiss private sector and the Swiss Federal Administration Dialogue on carbon markets. Swiss actors in carbon finance were informed about international developments and their effect on the Swiss economic system and invited to discuss the outlook for market activities in this sector. SSF brought in the view of the Swiss financial sector and stressed the importance of integrating carbon risks into asset management in order to promote a less carbon intense economy.
See presentation from FOEN on carbon market developments.
Geneva Forum for Sustainable Investment 2015
Geneva, 4 June 2015
On July 4th, the 6Th edition of the Geneva annual event dedicated to the promotion of Sustainable Investment solutions, organised by the communication agency Voxia and the SRI consultant Conser, attracted more than 250 finance professionals. The Forum gives participants the opportunity to discover major product innovations in the field of responsible investment.
Jean Laville, SSF deputy director was in charge of the Swiss institutional panel. The discussions among important pension funds shows that several approaches to responsible investments are currently used. The first approach is top down: the board defines a responsible investment Charta which serves as a basis for the selection of asset managers. Another approach is more bottom up: the pension fund looks at all investments styles, including responsible investment, based on traditional risk/return profiles and the best ones are then selected. A third approach concentrates on long term investment horizons by investing in sustainable infrastructures.
For more Information please visit the GFSI website
Insurance 2030: Policies and partnerships for sustainable development
Rüschlikon, 11-12 May 2015
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Swiss Re, bringing together the UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of Sustainable Financial System (UNEP Inquiry), co-hosted this Roundtable at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue. Around 60 leaders and executives from insurance companies and regulatory bodies, the UN, governments, think tanks and civil society discussed industry priorities, challenges and pathways. The Roundtable drew on existing industry initiatives on sustainability issues such as access to insurance, disaster resilience, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
It also marked the culmination of the global consultation led by the PSI and UNEP Inquiry over the past year on insurance frameworks. SSF was invited to bring in the view of the Swiss financial sector and stressed the importance of integrating ESG aspects not only into the liability but equally into the asset management side of the insurance business.
Swiss Finance in a changing world
Bern, 6 May 2015
At a symposium entitled «Swiss Finance in a changing world» held in Bern, national and international experts identified and debated ways in which the financial system can contribute to the transition to a green economy. The symposium was organised jointly by the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP, the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO and was staged in partnership with Swiss Sustainable Finance.
After a welcome note from Bruno Oberle, Director of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations gave a key-note speech and expressed the urgency to use financial processes to achieve are resource-efficient economy.
Simon Zadek, Co-Director of the UNEP Inquiry, then outlined the main objectives of the project and the results attained so far. He stressed the importance of the different country inputs and encouraged Switzerland to taking on a leading role in implementing the suggested changes to the system.
Attendees then participated in break-out sessions revolving around the topic of “future best practice in finance”. These sessions were followed by afternoon keynote speeches by Nick Robins, Co-Director of the UNEP Inquiry and Sabine Döbeli, CEO of Swiss Sustainable Finance. Sabine Döbeli presented the Swiss Team input into the UNEP inquiry to the audience of national and international experts.
In a surprise guest appearance by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard reaffirmed the importance of Switzerland’s role in designing a sustainable financial system.
To conclude the day, opportunities for Switzerland were debated in high-level expert panel discussion: Stefan Beiner, Head AM Publica; Urs Berger, Chairman Mobiliar; Rajna Gibson Brandon, Prof. of Finance at Uni GE; Alexander Karrer, Deputy State Secretary SIF; Patrick Odier, Head of Swiss Bankers Association; Cecilia Reyes, CIO Zurich. A majority of the panellists saw more opportunities than risks for Switzerland in adopting sustainability standards more systematically in its financial system.
UNECE Regional consultation on Financing for Development
GENEVA, 23 March 2015
In September 2015, UN Member States will adopt a transformative and aspirational post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Its impact will much depend on reaching ambitious agreements and commitments at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa from 13-16 July 2015. Against this background, UNECE and the Regional UN Development Group for Europe and Central Asia has held a one-day regional preparatory consultation, focussing on strategies and instruments the UNECE region has to offer to promote resource mobilization for sustainable development and the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.
SSF was invited to provide input on the role of private investors in sustainable development and ways to raise more private capital. Sabine Döbeli presented ways to tackle challenges and stressed the importance of not only focussing on specific development investments but also thinking of mainstreaming the integration of ESG aspects in finance.
More information on the event and a summary of the chair are available at the UNECE-website.
respACT Branchenfrühstück „Responsible Finance – Due Diligence in der Finanzwirtschaft“
WiEn, 20 March 2015
respACT, the Austrian Business Council for sustainable development held a breakfast event on due diligence and sustainability in finance, hosted by the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank. respACT CEO Daniela Knieling presented the role of the OECD Guidelines for multinationals for a thorough due diligence process. Dr. Katharina Muner-Sammer, project manager at ÖGUT, Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Umwelt und Technik, gave an overview on sustainable finance and trends in responsible investing. As illustrated by Sabine Döbeli, CEO of Swiss Sustainable Finance, private investors are an important driver to promote sustainanble investments in Switzerland, even though often based on a latent demand.
For details see summary on the respACT website.
SECO/WE Partners' Event
Bern, 29 January 2015
On January 29th, the Directorate of Economic Cooperation and Development, part of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO/WE), held an event to update their partner organisations on its activities. As part of the tribute to their partners, a short video was compiled with different voices on the role of SECO/WE in promoting development. One of those voices was SSF CEO, Sabine Döbeli, describing the cooperation between SECO and SSF. The video also features comments by State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Director SECO, Peter Niggli (Alliance Sud) and Beatriz Londono (Colombian Ambassador).