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SSF Newsletter February 2018: Europe shifting up a gear
Dear all

The European Commission High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG), published their final report


with strategic recommendations for a financial system that supports sustainable investments. They serve as a basis for the Commission’s yet to be defined strategy for sustainable finance - also having huge implications for Switzerland. Delivering an EU strategy on sustainable finance is a priority action of the Commission's Capital Markets Union (CMU) Action Plan, as well as one of the key steps towards implementing the historic Paris Agreement and the EU's Agenda for sustainable development. The financial sector has a key role to play in reaching those goals, by mobilising private capital for sustainable investments.


The HLEG proposals include mandatory disclosures on sustainable investment strategies, labels for green investment funds and green bonds and a call to make sustainability part of the mandate of the European Supervisory Authorities. With such a far reach they cannot be ignored by the Swiss market place. To remain competitive, Swiss players will need to evaluate how to best benefit from and adapt to the changing environment.


The European Commission is determined to help investors select sustainable projects and companies, which directly impacts the private wealth management market, where the Swiss financial centre plays a leading role. In Switzerland we see movement in this direction with the recent emissions of two green bonds by the State of Geneva, showing that sustainable finance is gaining momentum within our institutions.


Ensuring that Switzerland leverages the current dynamics to further embed sustainability in financial decisions is becoming more and more strategic and urgent. Given the recognized expertise of Swiss players, as well as the growing support from political actors, this is not just a vision for the future, but an opportunity for today.


Kind regards,

Jean Laville

Deputy CEO Swiss Sustainable Finance


SSF activities

Regulatory and market news

SSF and sustainable finance in the media

New members joining SSF

Join these events

New reports & studies

Varia from our network

SSF activities

SSF hosts first full-day event on inspiring investment partnerships


At SSF's first international conference in Zurich on 16 January, some 240 participants from 12 countries seized the opportunity to inform themselves about innovative partnerships for development investments. In her keynote speech, Karin Finkelston, Vice President Partnerships, Communications, and Outreach at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), presented concrete examples illustrating how private investment can improve livelihood while delivering attractive returns. This was followed by panel discussions reflecting the role of both the public and private sector in making cooperations for such partnerships successful. 

new picture inspiring investment

In the afternoon, participants were able to attend two of six breakout sessions, each illustrating an existing partnership involving Swiss actors. Videos from many of the sessions as well as the summaries of the breakout sessions can be found on our website event summary page. Also visit the event website for speaker profiles.



SSF and CFA Institute Research Foundation co-publish the Handbook on Sustainable Investments in English

new picture handbook

One year after the publication of the Handbook in German and French, an English version of this much valued overview on sustainable investments is now available. SSF has updated the content and translated it into English, publishing the book jointly with CFA Institute Research Foundation and CFA Society Switzerland.


An expanded chapter on impact investments and a new chapter on integrating sustainability into commodity investing complement the overview on current best practice in sustainable investing aimed at institutional asset owners and other finance professionals. This handbook is the result of a close collaboration with over 30 expert authors and contributors. Sign up for the launch event on 27 February in Zurich.

Download the English Handbook here.



SSF present at FINANZ’18 and IMMO’18


SSF was happy to contribute to two mainstream finance events, supporting our goal to make sure sustainable finance reaches a broader audience.

kelly panel 2018

At FINANZ’18 in Zurich, Kelly Hess (SSF) moderated a panel on Sustainable Investments. Experts from the field with over 40 years of combined experience shared their views regarding changes in the sustainable investment field and how these have influenced their business and services.


At IMMO’18, SNBS, in partnership with SSF, held an event on the role of the new Swiss standard on sustainable building SNBS 2.0 (Standard nachhaltiges Bauen Schweiz) for real estate investors. SSF was represented by our Board Member Patrick Fankhauser, who gave his view on the impact sustainability aspects have on property valuation and the growing significance real estate investors attribute to it.

Read more on these events.



SSF launched survey on sustainable investment in Switzerland


In preparation of the official Swiss sustainable investment study 2018, SSF prepared a questionnaire jointly with the Market Study Workgroup and sent this out to a broad set of asset managers and asset owners. The deadline for respondents is 9 March, whereafter the results will be aggregated and interpreted with the support of the University of Zurich.



SSF participated in public consultation of European Commission on institutional investors and asset managers' duties regarding sustainability


As a representative of the Swiss sustainable finance market, SSF participated in a consultation on institutional investors’ and asset managers’ duties regarding sustainability. Together with the newly released final report of the HLEG, the results of the consultation will support the European Commission in formulating its strategy on sustainable finance. After having requested feedback from SSF members and network partners, SSF consolidated the answers and submitted the final survey mid-January 2018.

Download SSF’s final submission here.


Read more about these and other SSF activities

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Regulatory and market news

Swiss news


International initiatives

  1. Establish and maintain a common sustainability taxonomy at the EU level
  2. Clarify investor duties to better embrace long-term horizon and sustainability preferences
  3. Upgrade disclosure rules to make sustainability risks fully transparent, starting with climate change
  4. Key elements of a retail strategy on sustainable finance: investment advice, ecolabel and SRI minimum standards
  5. Develop and implement official European sustainability standards and labels, starting with green bonds
  6. Establish ‘Sustainable Infrastructure Europe’
  7. Governance and Leadership
  8. Include sustainability in the supervisory mandate of the ESAs and extend the horizon of risk monitoring.


Market trends


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SSF and sustainable finance in the media

Visit our website for more articles and regular updates

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New members and network partners

We welcome the following organisations as new SSF member and network partner, respectively:

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  • zCapital AG
  • Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

The full list of our members and network partners can be found on the SSF Website.


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Join these events

Save these dates:

  • 17 April 2018, PRI and SSF, Joint event to present recent PRI tools for institutional asset owners, Zurich
  • 19 June 2018, Swiss Sustainable Finance, Annual SSF Conference, Bern 


Further events are listed on the SSF Website

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collage february 20218
New studies & reports
  • February 2018: Standford researchers published the working paper Is “Being Green” Rewarded in the Market? An Empirical Investigation of Decarbonization and Stock Returns. The study looks at over 70'000 US firms between 2005 - 2015 and demonstrates that a carbon efficient portfolio pays off.
  • January 2018: The HLEG has released its final report to support the European Commission in drafting an EU roadmap on sustainable finance.
  • January 2018: OECD’s report, Making Blended Finance Work for the Sustainable Development Goals provides a thorough assessment of the current state and priorities for blended finance. It describes concepts and definitions, lays out the main actors and instruments and shares learnings from past experiences.
  • January 2018: seif and BHP Brugger and Partners have jointly published the report Social Impact Bonds – ein Leitfaden für die Praxis, describing current best practices in the establishment of Social Impact Bonds as well as experienced challenges in a European environment. With this German publication, authors hope to initiate a discussion on both the risks and opportunities of issuing SIBs in Switzerland.
  • January 2018: In their paper Swiss Legal and Tax Implications of Social Impact Bonds, Brunschwig & Fischer look at the legal implications of launching an SIB in Switzerland. Since Swiss issuances are still lacking references, the authors provide learnings of a recent SIB project by the International Committee of the Red Cross supported by SECO, amongst other donors.
  • January 2018: Moxie Future has launched its first survey on the responsible investment behaviour of woman in their publication 2018 Understanding Female Investors – Women using capital to change the world. The survey was answered by 2536 women in Australia, China, Germany, UK and US, whereof respondents from China showed the highest interest in responsible investing.
  • January 2018: The Blended Finance Taskforce of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission has published the consultation paper Better finance, better world to present the private sector perspective towards this topic. Still awaiting feedback from stakeholders until mid-March 2018, it will finalise a concrete action plan by late April 2018.
  • December 2017: In its new Paper on the Implications of UN Guiding Principles 13b & 17 in a Corporate and Investment Banking Context, the Thun Group of Banks has attenuated its controversial claims with regards to the responsibility of banks for human rights issues. Instead, it focuses on situations where banks may be directly linked to negative human rights impacts under UNGP 13b.
  • December 2017: The PRI has published an Investment Consultant Services Review with the aim to drive a deeper discussion about the inclusion of ESG issues as a standard part of consulting advice and which additional ESG integration investment services are needed. The report also sets out barriers to this practice and identifies preliminary interventions.
  • December 2017: In The State of Impact Measurement and Management Practice, GIIN presents the findings of its first comprehensive survey of the state of impact measurement and management. It captures data from 169 impact investing organizations to provide valuable insights into why impact investors measure social and environmental impact, how they do so and challenges that remain.
  • December 2017: The Global Green Finance Council issued the Global and European Green Finance Policy Directory to provide policymakers and global and regional market participants a simple, easy-to-use reference as to which international and regional governments and industry bodies have implemented or are implementing major green, sustainability and climate change initiatives.
  • November 2017: In the research paper Foundations of ESG Investing – Part 1: How ESG Affects Equity Valuation, Risk and Performance, MSCI tackles the old question of correlation and causality by examining how ESG information is transmitted to the equity market. Using a standard discounted cash flow model, the authors provide evidence for a causal relationship between ESG and financial performance.


Read these and other reports

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Varia from our network

University of Zurich is starting with the next round of its Certificate of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Finance (CAS SF) . The different courses running from 1 March 2018 through to 23 November 2018 can be chosen individually or can be combined for a full CAS program. They cover the areas of Sustainable Investing, Sustainable Banking and Insurance, Microfinance, Microinsurance and Emerging Market Finance. The courses combine academic training and research with current business practices, while promoting technical, methodological and social skills.


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