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  • At the end of June 2020 the Federal Council defined the objective of positioning Switzerland as a leading location for sustainable finance.
  • A new strategy developed by WWF and PwC outlines how this can be achieved.

 

Zurich, 1 September 2020 – Swiss financial flows are currently contributing to global warming to the tune of 4 to 6 degrees Celsius. “Oil drilling, fracking and pipeline projects: Swiss financial institutions continue to fund, invest in and provide insurance for far too many activities that harm the climate and nature,” says Thomas Vellacott, CEO of WWF Switzerland. “By redirecting the money into sustainable activities, they can play an active role in shaping an economy that preserves the basis of our existence rather than threatens it.” By 2050 at the latest, all financial flows should contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero and restoring biological diversity. In order to achieve this, however, all new financial flows will have to be aligned to this target from as early as 2030 onwards. That means we have only ten years left.

A concrete plan of action is needed

At the end of June 2020 the Federal Council defined the objective of positioning Switzerland as the leading location for sustainable finance. However, this declaration of intent will not be enough in the absence of practicable measures and an effective timetable. What is more, the focus on voluntary measures and self-regulation have barely had any effect so far. “What we need is a concrete plan of action with an intelligent mix of voluntary measures, self-commitments and regulations,” says Vellacott, who together with Andreas Staubli, CEO of PwC Switzerland, outlined the strategy for decision-makers for them to achieve this. “With this quality strategy, we show decision-makers from Swiss politics and the financial industry what is needed for the Swiss financial centre to actually become a leading location for sustainability,” adds Andreas Staubli.

Over 40 effective measures

The strategy contains over 40 concrete measures to be implemented within the next ten years. It is essential as a first step to align the strategies of Swiss financial institutions with the goals of the global agreement to combat climate change (Paris Agreement) and the Biodiversity Convention. A clear political framework and credible standards are also required in order to ensure the necessary transparency and legal certainty on the financial market. Furthermore, the real economy needs to work harder to facilitate the transition to a green and resilient Swiss financial centre. This calls for the involvement of all players: not only financial institutions, but also politicians, supervisory authorities, companies, science and civil society.

“COVID-19 has shown us how much of an impact nature can have on us – politically, economically and socially. We have to act now to ward off even more disastrous consequences from climate change. Only by working together can we transform ourselves into a sustainable Swiss financial centre,” says Andreas Staubli.

Switzerland has a lot of potential

“There’s no better place than Switzerland to set this all in motion,” according to Staubli. With over 6,200 billion Swiss francs in assets under management each year, Switzerland carries a lot of responsibility. In addition, Switzerland has a long-standing tradition in sustainable finance, an innovative market, lean framework conditions and exceptional universities. Vellacott adds: “The potential offered by Switzerland is immense, and economy and society will ultimately both benefit from an intact environment. Now is the time for politics, financial market players and all of us individually to come together and take action.”

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WWF/PwC, “Leading the way to a green and resilient economy: a Swiss-quality approach to sustainable finance”, September 2020. (LINK?)

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About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with over 284,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. PwC Switzerland has over 3,250 employees and partners in 16 office locations in Switzerland and one in the Principality of Liechtenstein. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.ch. PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

About WWF

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is one of the largest environmental organisations in the world. Together with our over 5 million members around the globe and presence in more than 100 countries, we are committed to securing a healthy and living planet – for us as well as for future generations.

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Stéphanie Tobler-Mucznik

Stéphanie Tobler-Mucznik

Manager Integrated Communications, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 18 16

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