If this email is not displaying correctly, please click here.
Swiss Sustainable Finance Newsletter - September 2015

Sustainable Finance offering growth opportunities for Switzerland


An impressive amount of activities around sustainable finance have occurred in Switzerland in the past few months – many of them initiated or supported by SSF. I am glad that I can now, together with the SSF Board and our members, contribute to developing Swiss capacities and know-how in sustainable finance that will undoubtedly foster growth opportunities for the Swiss institutions active in this field.

SSF is growing – not just in terms of members, but also in terms of resources. Our CEO Sabine Döbeli will increase her workforce to 100% in October and I look forward to join forces with her in driving the manifold SSF projects. I am happy SSF has found an ideal location in the heart of Zurich, from where the team will continue working towards our vision: to make Switzerland a leading centre in sustainable finance.


Kind regards


Jean-Daniel Gerber

President Swiss Sustainable Finance


SSF activities

New address for SSF

Workstream Update

Save these dates

Sustainable finance: self-regulation ahead of regulation

SSF and sustainable finance in the media

New studies & reports

Varia from our network

Closing thoughts

SSF activities

SSF has hosted many events in the past few weeks. Read a short summary of them here and gain more insights on our website.


27.08.2015, Responsible investment along the agricultural supply chain – the role of international guidelines for the financial services industry


With the topic of agricultural investments gaining more attention, SSF provided a platform for representatives from both the Swiss government and the private sector to present and discuss the relevance and impact of international frameworks and standards for the financial services sector.


The two speakers Peter Bieler, Head Global Programme Food Security, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Bernd Schanzenbächer, Founder and Managing Partner, EBG Capital AG, addressed an audience of 80 professionals and tackled some critical questions around responsible agricultural investments. Read more


01.09.2015, Finance Cluster Dialog der Standortförderung des Kantons Zürich: Paradigmenwechsel auf dem Finanzplatz Zürich


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 Carmen Walker Späh, Economic minister of the Canton of Zurich, SSF President Jean-Daniel Gerber gave a presentation on the opportunities sustainable finance can offer the Zurich financial centre. Philipp Aeby, CEO RepRisk AG, shared his view on the value of a good reputation and the danger of losing it. A panel of experts representing organisations such as the Swiss Bankers Association, the Swiss National Bank and University of Zurich shared their mixed view on the role sustainability should or should not play in the financial world. Watch a short video on the event


Read more


24.09.2015, SSF’s first Ticino event: Finanza e sostenibilità: un connubio in ascesa


In her welcome note, SSF CEO Sabine Döbeli gave an introduction on the state of Sustainable Finance in Switzerland. Afterwards Stefano Montobbio, Head of Investment Coordination & SRI, BSI SA, and Laura Viganò, Professor for finance, University of Bergamo, provided their professional input on ESG integration and microfinance.


In a panel discussion moderated by Ferruccio De Bortoli, Editor of del Corriere del Ticino, former director of Corriere della Sera and Il Sole 24 Ore, the three panelists had a chance to address further questions on the topic and field questions from the audience.

Read more

SSF was also present at many other events. Read more


Back to top

New Address for SSF

After having been hosted by Vontobel for 1.5 years, SSF is now moving into its own offices. As of 12 October 2015, we will steer SSF activities from our new location at Grossmünsterplatz 6 in Zürich. We are proud to soon welcome SSF members and guests for first meetings at this central location. Please take record of our new contact details that will be valid from 12 October 2015.


New postal address: Swiss Sustainable Finance, Grossmünsterplatz 6, 8001 Zürich
New phone number: +41 44 515 60 50

Back to top

Workstream Update

The four SSF workgroups have been very active over the summer months in preparing different documents supporting the promotion of sustainable finance.

In the SSF Pro Workgroup, the story line of the SSF training material on sustainable finance has been finalized and slides are currently being prepared.

The Investments for Development Workgroup has prepared a Swiss market survey on investments for development. The respective questionnaire will be sent to relevant players in October while illustrative case studies will be prepared.

In the Private Wealth Management Workgroup, a glossary on sustainable finance was finalized and will soon be online. Furthermore the group has drafted 10 arguments for relationship managers to promote sustainable investments – they form the core element of a publication on this topic.

The Institutional Asset Owner Workgroup has drafted the structure of a guide on sustainable investing for institutional investors providing an overview and useful sources of information in the sense of a toolkit. A call for contributions will be sent to SSF members in early October.

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


Back to top

Save these dates

Zürich, 5 November 2015, Geneva, 6 November 2015

SSF event in partnership with IIGCC: Carbon Footprinting Workshop

SSF Event in partnership with IIGCC: In this practical carbon foot printing workshop, different research providers demonstrate their carbon analysis of an institutional portfolio. Panellists include amongst others Christian Olivecrona (AP2 Fund), Philipp Desfossés (ERAFP), and David Engel (Publica). The panel will discuss carbon footprinting mechanisms and their effects on portfolio management.

Register online


Zürich, 27 October 2015

Der neue Swiss Governance Code

At the event organized by FNG, SSF and SwissFoundations, the new Swiss Foundations Code will be presented with a special focus on the new guiding principles on sustainable investments and their role for an improved impact of foundations.

Register online

Bern, 30 October 2015

Forum „Carbon Risks for the Swiss Financial Center”

In a pioneer study, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment analysed the investment carbon exposure of the Swiss equity fund market and evaluated the corresponding risks for the Swiss Financial Center. The findings of the study will be presented at this event, accompanied by a panel discussion on international experiences on carbon risks and financial markets. SSF members and network partners are cordially invited. To register, please send an E-Mail to silvia.ruprecht@bafu.admin.ch (Program German / Program French).

Zurich, 19-20 November

TBLI Europe 2015

The annual European conference on sustainable investments regularly attracts a wide variety of international finance experts. SSF is hosting a workshop on “Investments for Development – Swiss innovations for a sustainable world” and debating the instruments needed to increase private finance for development.

Register online

Back to top

Sustainable finance: self-regulation ahead of regulation

In early September, SwissFoundations published a new version of the widely used Swiss Foundation Code. Serving as a practical tool for questions around the founding, governance and accounting of foundations, the code for the first time covers questions on foundations’ investment activities. It highlights opportunities sustainable investments can offer in strengthening the impact of foundations.

The Canton of Geneva has for the first time adopted a long term strategy for economic development with a horizon till 2030. Sustainable Finance is named as one of four topics to be further explored, as building on existing strengths could make Geneva an international crossroad for sustainable financial services.

On a global level, the U.N. General Assembly on 26 September adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Composed of 17 goals and 169 targets, the Agenda is an essential plank in the effort to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and enhance medical and educational access over the next 15 years. And their relevance for the finance industry? There will be massive need for long term investments from the private sector – often based on innovative public private partnerships – in order to reach these goals.


The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released new guidance  on corporate governance this September with a strong focus on encouraging institutional investors to increase the transparency on how ownership rights are exercised, as well as on other ESG reporting issues. In the face of the recent VW-scandal, no one will doubt the necessity of even better guidance on good corporate governance.

In Switzerland, the recent postulate by Luc Recordon mentioned in our last newsletter was asking the Federal Council to develop a report on how the Swiss finance market can contribute to sustainable development. Yet, the necessity for such a report is not seen by our government and it recommended that the parliament decline the postulate.


Back to top

SSF and sustainable finance in the media

September 2015, Responsible Investor: Advancing Swiss Sustainable Finance - Interview with Sabine Döbeli


September 2015, Denaris: Miser maintenant sur la finance durable


1 September 2015, Radio SRF 4 News: Interview - Jean-Daniel Gerber on Sustainable Investing in Switzerland

4 September 2015, NZZ: Chancen für das Schweizer Asset Management


14 August 2015, Ticino Management: Sostenibilità per il futuro della finanza


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


Back to top

New reports & studies

European Capital Markets Union - A game-changer for sustainable finance?

ESG Magazine, September 2015

ESG Magazine (launched September 2015) is the first dedicated print publication for sustainability in capital markets covering responsible investing, responsible banking, sustainable insurance, sustainable finance, impact investing, corporate sustainability and more.


Switzerland: Sustainable finance the Helvetic way

RI Insight, September 2015

This RI INSIGHT, published in association with RobecoSAM, includes interviews with ASIP, RobecoSAM, CAP Prévoyance, Nest Sammelstiftung, UBS, Ethos, Suva and Swiss Sustainable Finance (SSF).


2015 Symbiotics Microfinance Investment Vehicles (MIV) Survey

Symbiotics, September 2015

The Survey provides a detailed overview of key market trends about microfinance offshore investments. More than 80 MIVs have participated in the 9th annual survey which covers 96% of the total MIV market estimated at USD 10.4 billion as of December 2014.


Perspectives on ESG Integration in Equity Investing: An opportunity to enhance long-term, risk-adjusted investment performance

Calvert Investments, July 2015

The authors use historical analysis of multiple datasets to examine several approaches for introducing ESG factors into the investment process and assess their efficacy from a portfolio management perspective.


The cost of inaction: Recognising the value at risk from climate change

Economist, August 2015

This research highlights the relevance of climate change to the asset management industry and beyond by estimating the value at risk (VaR) to 2100 as a result of climate change to the total global stock of manageable assets (the climate VaR).


Routledge Handbook of Responsible Investment

This handbook provides an atlas of current practice in the field of responsible investment. With a large global team of expert contributors, the book explores the impact of responsible investment on key financial actors ranging from mainstream asset managers to religious organizations.


Back to top

Varia from our network

If you’ve just published a research paper on sustainable finance, don’t miss the call for papers for the 3rd Geneva Summit on Sustainable Finance (22 March 2016 at the International Conference Centre Geneva, Switzerland). It is still open until 31 October 2015.

This summer a new dialogue portalGreen Economy Dialogue” was launched by the Federal office for the Environment (FOEN) available in German, French, Italian and English. The site presents examples of companies which manage to conserve natural resources while reducing cost, allows actors from business, science, society and the public sector to have their say, and aims to reflect the full spectrum of opinions on related topics, including sustainable finance.

The Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative published the final version of the SSE Model Guidance Report. SSF contributed to reviewing the zero-draft of this document.

Back to top

Closing thoughts

Discussions around topics in sustainable finance such as carbon intensity of portfolios, green bonds and the role of the private sector in financing development have intensified over the past weeks and months. COP 21 in Paris is an important driver not only for action in the political arena, but also for sustainable innovation in the financial system. The UNEP Inquiry report will be published on 7 October in Lima – we are positive it will provide concrete solutions and practical hints on how to build a financial system that fosters sustainable development globally.

Best regards

The SSF team

Grossmünsterplatz 6
8001 Zürich
+41 44 515 60 50
Swiss Sustainable Finance   Swiss Sustainable Finance
www.sustainablefinance.ch | contact | sign off
© Swiss Sustainable Finance