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SSF Newsletter April 2016: Investments for Development as a growth area for the Swiss financial centre

We are proud to have presented the first SSF report entitled “Swiss Investments for a Better World” on 12 April.


Why proud? The market study illustrates Switzerland’s important role in managing investments for development. Close to one third of global assets in this segment are managed in Switzerland. At the launch event in Geneva, experts from UNCTAD, ICRC and Lombard Odier, having personal experience in structuring investments for development, stressed the importance of innovation to grow this segment even further. Switzerland, with its vibrant cluster of sustainable investors and asset managers regularly comes up with innovative solutions, as illustrated by the four case studies included in the report.


On a global level, the topic of financial stability and its link to climate change and other environmental topics has been growing in importance over the last months. Bodies such as the G20 and the Financial Stability Board’s task force are working on better understanding these risks. Here in Switzerland, after the Confederation released the new sustainable development strategy in late January, a month later, the Swiss Federal Council announced its commitment and role admitting that “the state can provide support as a facilitator for the sector’s efforts to open up the business segment of sustainable investments.”


The increased attention to sustainable finance was also seen during the 3rd Geneva Summit on Sustainable Finance held on 22 March. We would like to congratulate the co-organisers – University of Geneva, the Latsis Foundation, Sustainable Finance Geneva and UNEP FI – for their successful event attracting around 1000 people, doubling the attendance since last year. The growing interest for the subject will help reach new players and add to the further advancement of sustainable finance.


Kind regards


Sabine Döbeli

CEO Swiss Sustainable Finance


SSF activities

Regulatory and Market News

SSF and sustainable finance in the media

New members joining SSF

Save these dates

New studies & reports

Varia from our network

Closing thoughts

SSF activities

Read short summaries of our activities here and gain more insights on our website


Swiss Sustainable Finance publishes its first report “Swiss Investments for a Better World”, 12 April 2016

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Swiss financial institutions manage around USD 10 billion of worldwide investments for development, equivalent to almost one third of the total global volume. The first SSF study `Swiss Investments for a Better World` identifies investments for development as a rapidly expanding area of Switzerland’s financial industry, with an impressive growth rate of 18.4% over the past year. The financial sector is therefore building a bridge between economically disadvantaged regions seeking access to financial solutions and investors aiming for a market return on their long-term investments.


Download the report

Download the press release



SSF event “Swiss Investments for a Better World”, 12 April 2016, Geneva

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The first SSF publication, “Swiss Investments for a Better World” was well received at an event attracting over 80 professionals in Geneva. SSF, in partnership with Sustainable Finance Geneva (SFG), hosted this event to present the results of the first market survey on investments for development. 


Jean-Daniel Gerber, President SSF,defined relevant preconditions to access private sector investments to foster development. Frédéric Berney, SSF Workgroup Leader and CRO BlueOrchard, then presented the results of the study. In the following panel discussion, Fiorina Mugione, Chief Entrepreneurship Section UNCTAD, Christopher Greenwood, Responsible for Innovative Financing at ICRC, and Bertrand Gacon, Head Impact Investing & SRI, Lombard Odier and President SFG, outlined key success factors to make this segment even more important for the Swiss financial market.


Read summary, see full program, download presentation



SSF event “How new soft and hard law requirements challenge the financial sector", 9 March 2016, Zürich


Around 100 professionals gained insights on the rapidly evolving regulatory environment pertaining to corporate responsibility and sustainability. The three speakers Robin Edme, Senior Advisor Responsible Finance to the French Ministry of Ecology, Alex Kunze, CSR Senior Advisor at SECO, and Olivier Jaeggi, Managing Director of Ecofact, discussed the risks and opportunities that financial institutions face due to new soft and hard law initiatives related to environmental and human rights issues and how banks, insurers, and asset managers can make sure they are prepared for the changes ahead.


Read more, download the presentations, the CSR positon paper as well a paper of Judson Berkey



"2015 Paris Climate Conference: What are the consequences?", 7 March 2016, Lugano

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BSI Gamma Foundation in collaboration with SSF held a conference in Lugano to examine the impact of the Paris Agreement resolutions from economic, industrial and financial points of view. Two presentators showed the immediate need for action.


Carlo Cararo (Full Professor and Rector Emeritus of the Ca’ Foscari University, Venice) and Luca Mercalli (President and Editor in Chief, Società Meteorologica Italiana) further emphasized that Switzerland is one of the strongest actors with respect to their current emissions reduction efforts. The panel moderated by Luca Fasani, Head of Economy of RSI Swiss Radio TV, and featuring Jean-Daniel Gerber, SSF President , Gianluca Manca, Head of Sustainability at Eurizon Capital, Intesa Sanpaolo Group, and Marco Zanetti, Chairman of Airlight Energy, touched on the practitioners’ views on the topic of sustainable investments that will help reach international targets. Read more


SSF was also part of many other events and discussions


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Regulatory and Market News

With the ever increasing amount of news in the industry, we have changed the format of this section and welcome any feedback. Below you find some of the most prominent topics over the last 2 months.


The Swiss Confederation’s increased attention on sustainable finance issues


Green finance and climate risk disclosure are top agenda points of inter-governmental bodies such as the G20


Sustainable finance gaining momentum as several European governmental agencies are taking practical steps


China’ increases its efforts in the field of sustainable finance


Mainstreaming – sustainable investment growing out of the niche


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SSF and sustainable finance in the media

13 April 2016, Finanz und Wirtschaft, Rentabler als man denkt (with SSF input)

13 April 2016, L’AGEFI, Un tiers du développement en Suisse (with SSF input)

12 April 2016, NZZ, Starke Schweizer Position (with SSF input)

12 April 2016, SRF, Rendite gegen das schlechte Gewissen? (Radio interview with Sabine Döbeli)

22 March 2016, NZZ, CS-Chef fordert Umdenken

22 March 2016, Le Temps, La finance durable rassemble plus 1000 participants à Genève

21 March 2016, Ticino Finanza, Per una finanza più responsabile e più sostenible (with SSF input)

10 March 2016, fondstrends, Umwelt- und Sozialstandards setzen Finanzindustrie unter Druck (with SSF input)

8 March 2016, La Regione, Il capitale si sta erodendo (with SSF input)

4 March 2016, Corriere del Ticino, La finanza e la sfida del clima che cambia (with SSF input)

4 March 2016, ticinonews, Conferenza di Parigi: quali conseguenze? (with SSF input)

2 March 2016, Die Volkswirtschaft, Future-proofing: an obligation

18 February 2016, SRF, Passive Investments – Pensionskassen auf neuen Wegen (Radio interview with Sabine Döbeli)


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


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New members joining SSF

We welcome the following organisations as new SSF members:

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  • AXA Winterthur
  • Obviam


A full list of our members can be found on the SSF Website.


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Save these dates

Fribourg, 28 April 2016

Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems - for the Benefit of All

An agreement on what constitutes responsible investments in agriculture and food systems was reached during the 41st Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). These Principles are now translated into action and every stakeholder - ensuring food security and nutrition on the ground.


Zürich, 10 May 2016

SSF/FNG Swiss Market study presentation

Join SSF and Forum Nachhaltige Anlagen (FNG) for the presentation of the 2016 Swiss market study on sustainable investments. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on how climate change is not only associated with risks, but also opportunities.


Zürich, 9-10 May 2016

6. New Energy Investor Summit

Investors, renewable energy providers and project developers are meeting on May 9 and 10 2016 in Zurich to identify interesting deals and learn more about latest market developments.


Geneva, 2 June 2016

Geneva forum for sustainable investment

The 7th forum, co-organised by Voxia and Conser Invest, focusses on innovation in the field of sustainable finance. It aims to launch a debate between the different interested parties and create a platform to exchange experiences and knowledge.


Bern, 14 June 2016

SSF Members’ Assembly Please save the date. More information will soon be sent to members


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20160415_Newsletter Reports
New reports & studies

Levering ecosystems: A business-focused perspective on how debt supports investments in ecosystem services

Credit Suisse, Climate Bonds, Clarmondial, April 2016

This report explores how businesses can utilize debt as a tool to restore, rehabilitate, and conserve the environment while creating financial value.


Phase 1 Report of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

FSB – TCFD, April 2016

This report sets out the scope and high-level objectives together with a set of fundamental principles of disclosure for climate risks.


Impact of Environmental Factors on Credit Risk of Commercial Banks

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, March 2016

This paper discusses the impact of internalizing environmental costs on a firm's balance sheet and the consequent risks this creates for commercial banks.


Transforming our world through investment. An introductory study of institutional investors' role in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals

Share Action, March 2016

This study aims to examine how institutional investors across the world are beginning to consider the Sustainable Development Goals within investment decisions, in addition to their future plans related to the SDGs.


Too late, too sudden: Transition to a low-carbon economy and systemic risk

European Systemic Risk Board Advisory Scientific Committee, February 2016

The report outlines the danger associated with a late and sudden shift towards a low-carbon economy, where the adaptation occurs abruptly, whereas an early start in implementing the pledges could ensure a soft landing. To ensure financial stability, this report suggests to enhance disclosure of the carbon intensity of non-financial firms, making stress-testing of related exposures of financial firms possible.


Read these and other recent reports

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Varia from our network

3rd Geneva Summit on Sustainable Finance attracted around 1000 participants. At this event co-organized by the University of Geneva, the Latsis Foundation, Sustainable Finance Geneva and UNEP FI, over 1000 people gathered to discuss latest research on sustainable finance and – most importantly – hear from one of the leading figures in Swiss finance on how important sustainability is for Swiss banking. Tidjane Thiam (CEO, Credit Suisse), delivered an inspiring keynote speech emphasizing how the finance sector needs to realign itself with global Sustainable Development Goals. The overwhelming attendance reinforced the fact that this is an area of growing interest where Switzerland can build on existing strengths. Download further material from the event



Dr. David Bresch appointed “Professor for Weather and Climate Risks” at ETH Zürich. Dr. David Bresch, SSF Board member, has been appointed "Professor for Weather and Climate Risks" at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich. In his role as Global Head Sustainability at Swiss Re, he collaborated closely with research institutions such as ETH Zurich, the University of Bern and, in particular, the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss. We congratulate David to this important professional move closer back to his roots as a physicist who graduated from ETH Zürich.



To highlight this and other news, SSF has created a section with members’ news on its website. Check our member’s press releases for more information on sustainable finance in Switzerland.


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Closing thoughts

Our new format for regulatory and market news, due to a rapidly growing number of news items, reflects the strong dynamics in the market of sustainable finance. To stay up-to-date in between newsletters you might as well follow us on Twitter @SwissSustFin or LinkedIn


Next month, the FNG/SSF Swiss market survey on sustainable investments will be published. We look forward to presenting you the key figures at our event on 10 May in Zürich.


Best regards


The SSF team




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