Ten years ago eleven major service companies – including PwC Switzerland – joined forces to work for more sustainability in Switzerland. The number of partner companies has now grown from 11 to 27. Over the years we’ve been able to achieve a great deal in partnership with the Swiss Climate Foundation, supporting dynamic SMEs and helping make business in this country even more sustainable.
Marc Schmidli, a partner at PwC Switzerland, is a member the Swiss Climate Foundation’s board of trustees. This is how he describes PwC’s view of its role as a partner company to the foundation: “We’re firmly committed to protecting the climate and boosting SMEs as a way of countering climate change and working to make business in Switzerland and Liechtenstein even more sustainable. The money earmarked for this comes from proceeds from the federal government’s carbon incentive tax, which via the foundation are ploughed back into far-sighted climate protection projects initiated and run by small and medium-sized enterprises in Switzerland.”
This is precisely where our subject-matter expertise comes in. The Swiss Climate Foundation doesn’t just benefit from our financial support. Besides Marc Schmidli, Stephan Hirschi – the director who leads PwC Switzerland’s Sustainability & Climate Change team – also works for the foundation’s goals as a member of its advisory board. His expert support involves reviewing applications for submission to the board of trustees. He’s also a member of the legal committee that ensures that applications comply with the foundation’s rules.
SMEs and climate protection: a drop in the ocean? Quite the opposite. Successful change of this import has to start small. And concentrating on small and medium-sized enterprises allows the funds to be used more efficiently. Since its establishment, the foundation has granted CHF 18 million to more than 1,400 SMEs in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. This money is primarily used to improve buildings, machinery, heating and cooling systems, and to develop more climate-friendly products. Companies that agree voluntary energy-saving targets with the federal government can also apply for funding.
Sustainability and SMEs are two of PwC Switzerland’s core themes. Given that medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the Swiss economy, the health of the country depends on the health of these businesses.