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Swiss Sustainable Finance Newsletter - July 2015

SSF gaining international presence


The record heat wave in Switzerland and in other parts of the world illustrates the urgency of international action on climate change. 2015 is an important year, with four international conferences defining tangible action to address not only climate change but also other sustainability challenges. One of them took place mid July in Addis Abeba: At the conference “Financing for Development” the 192 UN member states adopted the “Addis Abeba Action Agenda” and therewith laid the cornerstone for financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will hopefully be signed off in September in New York. SSF was part of the official Swiss delegation and brought in the perspective of Swiss financial services and investors. Innovative financing instruments will be needed to raise more private funds for development. We are convinced that Swiss actors are in a great position to play an active role in this and look forward to support the further development of this field of action.

In the meantime – if the days are too hot – enjoy the pleasant summer evenings.


Kind regards


Sabine Döbeli

CEO Swiss Sustainable Finance


Sustainable finance in politics

SSF in the media

Save these dates

Our activities

New studies & reports

Closing thoughts

Sustainable finance in politics

Sustainable finance is gaining interest in the Swiss political arena. A recent postulate by Luc Recordon – which was launched as a result of the BAFU/UNEP Inquiry/SSF event on 6 May – calls for the Bundesrat to develop a report and present to parliament how the Swiss finance market can contribute to sustainable development. It raises questions around what political incentives could support a sustainable development of the finance sector. 26 out of 46 members of the council of states representing almost all parties voted in favour of the postulate. The document mentions SSF and its members’ efforts and refers to the UNEP Inquiry document that was published earlier this year. We will follow the developments closely and be sure to inform our network once further decisions are made.


In the National Council, an interpellation was handed in by Adèle Thorens Goumaz on the reduction of the CO2-footprint of investments. She asks about ways to include investors and asset managers in the efforts to reduce the carbon intensity of our economy.


Meanwhile, our neighbour country France already adopted a new legislation making it mandatory for institutional investors to measure and reduce the carbon footprint of their investment portfolios. This is not just relevant for French investors, but also for all asset managers wanting to continue to work for French clients.


In Sweden, it was announced in June that the restructuring of the five AP buffer pension funds will also include a legal mandate for them to “respect certain ethical and ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria”.


On a Europe-wide basis, Eurosif has published its position paper on Country-by-Country Reporting (CBCR) on tax accounting, highlighting their support of a mandatory, annual CBCR, for listed companies which will increase overall corporate transparency and allow more detailed analysis by investors.


These initiatives illustrate that regulators are becoming increasingly active in setting standards for sustainable investing. We see this as an incentive for the industry to go ahead and adopt voluntary principles, before strict mandatory rules are established.


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SSF in the media

Read the latest SSF press release


17 June 2015: Jean-Daniel Gerber elected as new Swiss Sustainable Finance President, 17 June 2015. The members of Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF) have elected Jean-Daniel Gerber as the new President at the Annual General Meeting held in Bern.


He emphasized the important role of SSF in shaping the dialogue around sustainable finance in Switzerland seeing as certain countries are already passing legislation related to sustainability in financial products. Furthermore he stressed his dedication to gain the attention and commitment of Institutional Asset Owners.


Read this press release


Articles on SSF and Sustainable Finance in Switzerland


13 July 2015, NZZVermögensverwalter buhlen um nachhaltig orientierte Anleger


9 June 2015, RSI: Investimenti sociali e etici attraverso strumenti finanziari

Radio interview with SSF representative Alberto Stival


June 2015, Smart Media: FOKUS Nachhaltigkeit

A 16 page special report on sustainability with editorial by Sabine Döbeli, CEO SSF


16 May 2015, FOEN: Swiss Finance in a Changing World 2015: Keynote from Sabine Döbeli

Full video of Sabine Döbeli's keynote speech summarizing the Swiss team input into the UNEP Inquiry: Design of a Sustainable Financial System


Visit our website for regularly updated articles on SSF and sustainable finance


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Save these dates

Zürich, 27 August 2015

SSF Event: Responsible investment along the agricultural supply chain - the role of international guidelines for the financial services industry


This event will examine the relevance and impact of international frameworks and standards for the financial services sector and address such questions as:

  • What are recent international developments taking place in this area?
  • Why should financial services companies keep a close eye on responsible investment in agriculture and in particular on the CFS-RAI (Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems)?
  • What are practical steps to move from principles to actions?
  • What is the role of Swiss sustainable finance players?

Register online



Zürich, 1 September 2015

Finance Cluster Dialog der Standortförderung des Kantons Zürich: Paradigmenwechsel auf dem Finanzplatz Zürich


This event is organised by the Canton of Zurich in partnership with SSF and will be held in German.


Der Zürcher Finanzplatz ist im Wandel begriffen: neue gesetzliche Rahmenbedingungen und wachsende Anforderungen von Kunden geben die Richtung vor. Zeiten des Wandels beinhalten immer auch viele Chancen für diejenigen, die sie zu nutzen wissen.


Die Fragen, die mit verschiedenen Akteuren des Zürcher Finanzplatzes diskutiert wird:

  • Wie stärkt man die Qualität der Beratung im Private Banking?
  • Wie sorgt man für die geforderte Innovation im Asset Management?
  • Und welche Rolle spielen dabei nachhaltige Finanzen?

Register online



Lugano, 24 September 2015

SSF event: Finanza e sostenibilità: un connubio in ascesa


SSF will be hosting its first event in Ticino this autumn. This event will be held in italian.

Per lo scopo di promuovere le attività dell’associazione Swiss Sustainable Finance sarà organizzato questo primo evento a Lugano che vi dara un ‘introduzione al mondo della finanza sostenibile. A fine 2014 gli averi gestiti secondo criteri di sostenibilità (ambientale, sociale e di governance) ammontavano, in Svizzera, a CHF 71,3 mrd, il 26% in più rispetto all’anno precedente (nel 2005 erano solamente 10,7 mrd). L’evoluzione di questo settore finanziario è quindi reale. Con la tavola rotonda vi offriamo la possibilità di scambiare delle informazioni con dei relatori specializzati su questo tema.

  • Relatori:Prof. Laura Viganò (Università di Bergamo) eGiovanni Gasparini (Airlight Energy).
  • Moderatore: Ferruccio De Bortoli (già Direttore de Il Sole 24 Ore e del Corriere della Sera)

Register Online


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Our activities

17 June 2015: SSF Members’ Assembly in Bern

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Over 80 professionals in the SSF Network joined on 17 June 2015 in Bern to take part in the 2nd SSF Members’ Assembly. We have summarized the day and offer access to the many different presentations from our expert panels.

At the Members’ Assembly we graciously thanked our interim President Klaus Tischhauser, who played a key role in the launch and success of SSF in its first year. Stepping into his position is Jean-Daniel Gerber, who was voted into presidency at the Members’ Assembly. The Assembly has also elected Beatrice Fischer (Credit Suisse) and Caroline Anstey (UBS) onto the SSF Board. With these three new members, the board gains an independent president with an extensive network and 2 large bank representatives whose opinions and commitment are sure to gain SSF even more visibility than in its first year.


Read more


3 July 2015: UNEP Inquiry/Axa Symposium: New Rules for New Horizons

As a continuation of the dialogue around a financial system promoting sustainability, UNEP Inquiry and Axa invited representatives to Paris to discuss first results of the UNEP Inquiry amongst experts. SSF was invited to put together a delegation of Swiss officials to bring in the Swiss perspective into the discussions and to inform Swiss authorities about areas of action.


Read more


13 - 16 July 2015: SSF part of official Swiss Delegation for “Financing for Development” conference


SSF was invited to represent the Swiss Financial sector in the official Swiss delegation for the international conference in Addis Abeba on Financing for Development. Moderating a Swiss side event with a high level panel including Manuel Sager, Director General of the SDC, Sabine Döbeli promoted Swiss capacities in managing investments for development.


The Addis Abeba Action Agenda adopted by the The Business Forum side event offered the opportunity to liaise with finance and business representatives and learn more about innovative forms of financing.


Read more


SSF was also present at many other events. Read more



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SSF Activity Report 2014/2015

SSF has published its first activity report to recap what we have accomplished in the first year for the industry and our members.



Workstream update

The four SSF workgroups are active in preparing different documents supporting the promotion of sustainable finance.


In the workgroup SSF Pro, a survey has been prepared to assess the training needs of different financial specialists regarding sustainable finance. The story line of the training material SSF aims to prepare by the end of this year has been drafted.


The Investments for Development Workgroup is preparing a Swiss market survey on development investments reaching further than the existing data on microfinance.


In the Private Wealth Management Workgroup, a glossary on sustainable finance is being prepared. Furthermore the group works on strong arguments for relationship managers to promote sustainable investments.


The Institutional Asset Owner workgroup will prepare a guide on sustainable investing for institutional investors providing an overview and useful sources of information in the sense of a toolkit.


SSF members find more information on the workstreams in the members’ section of the website.


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New studies & reports

Reports you should not miss


Investing in a Time of Climate Change, June 2015

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Addressing the questions:

  • How big a risk/return impact could climate change have on a portfolio, and when might that happen?
  • What are the key downside risks and upside opportunities, and how do investors manage these considerations to fit their current investment process?
  • What plan of action can ensure an investor is best positioned for resilience to climate change?

Cognitive biases and Stranded Assets: Detecting psychological vulnerabilities within International Oil Companies, July 2015


Stranded Assets and Cognitive Biases_280_195_border

This working paper touches on the ever more relevant theme of stranded assets and how diversity on boards of large international oil companies can be used as an indicator for a company’s susceptibility to cognitive biases and stranded assets exposure.


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Closing thoughts

The past few months have seen impressive dynamics with regulatory changes in the area of sustainable investing in France as well as many institutional investors announcing their reduction of fossil fuel investments. The conference on the Sustainable Development Goals in New York in September and the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21 to be held coming December in Paris will keep sustainability topics high on the agenda. We are convinced this entails opportunities for the financial sector to position itself as part of the solution, not part of the problem. SSF will  keep you informed about such opportunities and work with you on tangible areas of action.


Best regards


The SSF team

Grossmünsterplatz 6
8001 Zürich
+41 44 515 60 50
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