Sustainability in the financial sector is becoming increasingly important, both nationally and internationally. For the Swiss financial centre, sustainability in the financial sector presents a considerable opportunity, but could also expose it to new risks. The government primarily acts as mediator and facilitator in this context, cultivating an intensive dialogue with the financial industry and interested third parties and supporting the creation of an optimal regulatory framework.
Switzerland actively participates in the work of the relevant international financial bodies. It has expertise in the environmental sector, favourable framework conditions and a strong financial sector. As a result, Switzerland has the potential to achieve a competitive advantage in the area of sustainable investment over the long term.
In February 2016, the Federal Council defined principles for a consistent financial market policy for Switzerland in connection with the environmental aspects of sustainability, as well as further steps. These principles are based on market-economy solutions and transparency, while taking the long-term effects of current decisions into account.
In June 2019, the Federal Council held a discussion on a sustainable Swiss financial centre and set up a cross-departmental working group. The aim of the working group is to assess the impact on the Swiss financial centre of the EU's action plan on sustainable financial investment. A report containing the assessment findings and proposals for the Swiss financial centre is due in 2020.
The internal working group also drew up the principles governing Switzerland's participation in international initiatives. As a result, Switzerland has joined the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action (October 2019) and the International Platform for Sustainable Finance (February 2020). In this connection, it is continuing its activities in international organisations (e.g. International Monetary Fund, OECD, Financial Stability Board, G20).
The question of whether and how the financial market should be regulated was discussed by the Federal Council in December 2019. It instructed the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) to examine whether there is a need for regulatory action as regards transparency, due diligence, risk analysis and stability.
Environmental impact testing
In 2017, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF) made it possible for all Swiss pension funds and insurance companies to have the environmental impact of their stock and corporate bond portfolios tested voluntarily and free of charge. Testing will be repeated in 2020 and expanded to include banks and asset managers.
Last modification 20.04.2020