Sustainability in the financial sector is becoming increasingly important both nationally and internationally. Various bodies and international organisations are currently addressing this topic. While the Swiss financial centre may derive advantages from this, it may also be faced with new risks. The government primarily plays the role of mediator and facilitator in this context.
The issue of sustainability is becoming increasingly important for financial market policy too. This development is reflected in particular in the G20's work in the financial sphere (Finance Track). Hosted under the Chinese presidency in 2016, the G20 established a study group to look into green economy matters for the first time (i.e. Green Finance Study Group). Switzerland is also represented in this group. In parallel, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are examining the impact that climate change could have on financial market stability. The FSB has also established a task force under the leadership of the financial industry that has developed recommendations for voluntary, uniform, climate-related financial reporting.
Switzerland actively participates in the work of international financial bodies on this issue and is working on applying a coherent policy in this area at both the national and international levels. The issue is doubly relevant for Switzerland: firstly, as a potential risk for the stability of Switzerland's financial system, and secondly, as an opportunity for its financial centre. Thanks to its expertise in the environmental sector as well as favourable framework conditions and a strong, experienced financial sector, Switzerland has great potential to develop a lasting competitive advantage in the area of sustainable investments.
The Federal Council defined principles for a consistent financial market policy for Switzerland in connection with the environmental dimensions of sustainability as well as further steps at its meeting on 24 February 2016. These principles are based on the primacy of market-economy solutions and, as well as on transparency and awareness of the long-term effects of current decisions. In addition to its active involvement in the corresponding international bodies, Switzerland is also seeking to intensify talks with the sector on the issue of sustainability in the area of financial markets. In particular, transparency issues and possible risks and opportunities for the financial centre should be determined in this process. The government should primarily assume the role of mediator and facilitator here.
In 2017, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF) initiated pilot tests to analyse the climate alignment of financial portfolios. All Swiss pension funds and insurance companies could voluntarily have their portfolios of stocks and corporate bonds tested, anonymously and free of charge, for their compatibility with the internationally agreed climate goal, limiting climate warming to well below 2°C compared with pre-industrial levels. More information you can find here Climate and financial markets
Last modification 20.08.2018