Federal Council fleshes out proposals for sustainable Swiss financial centre

Bern, 11.12.2020 - During its meeting on 11 December 2020, the Federal Council adopted concrete measures to make the Swiss financial centre sustainable. They are designed to improve transparency, strengthen risk analysis and expand Switzerland's international commitment. The aim is to continue to consolidate Switzerland's position as a leading location for sustainable financial services.

The Federal Council considers that there are significant opportunities for a sustainable Swiss financial centre. In 2019, it instructed the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF), in close cooperation with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), to delve further into the need for action in the areas of transparency and risk assessment by the end of 2020, and to propose legislative amendments where necessary. The framework conditions should be designed to ensure that the competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre is continuously improved and that the financial centre can make an effective contribution to sustainability.

Based on the findings of this work, the Federal Council has adopted the following measures:

  • The authorities are to prepare the binding implementation of the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) by Swiss companies in all sectors of the economy. These should indicate how they deal with climate risks in the areas of governance, strategy and risk management, as well as show the indicators and targets they use. The Federal Council is further advising companies to apply the TCFD recommendations already now.
  • SIF, in close cooperation with the FOEN, for instance, has until autumn 2021 to propose to the Federal Council any necessary amendments to financial market legislation to prevent so-called greenwashing, i.e. feigned sustainable business activity in terms of environmental impact. International developments, especially in the EU, have to be taken into account to ensure that Swiss financial products remain exportable.
  • The Federal Council recommends that financial market players publish methods and strategies for taking account of climate and environmental risks when managing their clients' assets, in accordance with the existing legal duties of loyalty and diligence. SIF will inform the Federal Council by the end of 2022 whether and how this recommendation is followed.
  • Switzerland will step up its involvement in international environmental conferences and initiatives, focusing on the disclosure of environmental information and the internalisation of environmental costs. Moreover, it will look into the organisation of a future UN climate conference.

These measures were discussed with industry associations and stakeholders. They are in line with the report and guidelines on sustainability in the financial sector adopted by the Federal Council in June 2020.

Address for enquiries

Mario Tuor, Head of Communications, State Secretariat for International Finance SIF
Tel. +41 58 481 34 96, mario.tuor@sif.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance

Federal Office for the Environment FOEN