Environmental aspects in financial market policy: Federal Council is informed of progress made

Bern, 03.03.2017 - Sustainability is important also for the financial markets. During its meeting on 3 March 2017, the Federal Council was informed about the relevant national and international developments in the area of environmental sustainability in financial market policy and the Confederation's commitment. Information and opinions on this topic are regularly exchanged between the competent authorities and the sector, the last time was at the end of February 2017.

Due to the increased demand for sustainability also in financial business, the financial sector is facing a challenge. Environmental issues such as climate change and water scarcity, for example, not only carry possible risks for financial stability, but also open up potential for innovation. This in turn creates opportunities for Switzerland's financial centre. In February 2016, the Federal Council established principles for a consistent Swiss policy in this area. These principles have also been integrated in the Federal Council's report on the strategic thrusts of the financial market policy of October 2016.

In 2016, the competent federal authorities were not only actively involved in the corresponding international bodies, e.g. the G20 Green Finance Study Group (GFSG), but also deepened the dialogue with the sector. The parties discussed in existing forums how transparency could be increased in business operations and how potential risks and opportunities for the financial centre could be identified.

In cooperation with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the State Secretariat for international Finance Matters (SIF) organised on 28 February 2017 a further round of talks with representatives of the finance industry on the inclusion of environmental criteria in financial business. One of the joint objectives is to harmonise sustainable investment methodologies developed by the sector and to work towards best practice in implementing them in the day-to-day business.

Furthermore, the FOEN has prepared a publication together with experts from the financial sector, academia, non-governmental organisations and other federal offices which recommends measures for a sustainable Swiss financial system. Finally, with the support of SIF, the FOEN has started to pave the way for measuring the climate compatibility of investments and financing.

The competent authorities will continue the dialogue with the financial industry and industry associations and selectively further intensify it. On the climate side, they will elaborate fundamentals. These will be based on the goal of the Paris Agreement to make financial flows consistent with a low carbon pathway. At the international level, SIF, in cooperation with the FOEN, will continue to engage actively with international financial bodies and in particular will provide support for the work of the G20 in the area of sustainability.

Address for enquiries

Anne Césard, SIF Communications
Tel. +41 58 462 62 91, anne.cesard@sif.admin.ch

Eliane Schmid, FOEN Media Section
Tel. +41 58 462 90 00, eliane.schmid@bafu.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance

Federal Office for the Environment FOEN