Federal Council publishes report on Swiss National Bank and Switzerland's sustainability goals
Bern, 26.10.2022 - During its meeting on 26 October 2022, the Federal Council adopted the report "The Swiss National Bank and Switzerland's sustainability goals" in response to postulate 20.3012 from the National Council Economic Affairs and Taxation Committee (EATC-N). The report shows that, in fulfilling its mandate, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) takes account of various climate, environmental and sustainability aspects, to the extent that they affect price and financial stability or entail financial risks for the SNB.
Climate change poses major challenges to governments, central banks, and regulatory and supervisory authorities. However, it is the government and Parliament that are primarily responsible for setting specific sustainability goals, especially climate goals, and deciding which instruments to use in order to achieve them, such as a CO2 tax.
In fulfilling its mandate, the SNB takes account of various climate-related aspects
The SNB's legal duty, its mandate, is to ensure price stability while taking due account of economic developments. The consequences of climate change and climate policy do impact the SNB in the performance of this mandate and the associated tasks of contributing to financial stability and asset management. The SNB takes climate, environmental and other sustainability aspects into account, to the extent that they affect price and financial stability or entail financial risks for the SNB. Accordingly, the SNB addresses climate change and its consequences in its monetary policy analysis, in its duty with regard to financial stability and in its asset management.
Central banks that actively integrate climate goals into their activities, such as the European Central Bank (ECB) or the Bank of England, have mandates that require them to support general economic policy as a subordinate task in addition to their primary goal of ensuring price stability.
Clear division of tasks and responsibilities
Central bank independence is key to conducting a successful, stability-oriented monetary policy. The SNB has a high degree of independence and its mandate is confined to price stability. By fulfilling its mandate, the SNB helps the government and Parliament to pursue social and environmental goals such as Switzerland's sustainability goals.
The Federal Council views the clear division of tasks and responsibilities between the SNB, Federal Council and Parliament as proper and necessary from a regulatory policy standpoint. Expanding the SNB's mandate would inevitably lead to conflict with the goal of price stability and politicise monetary policy.
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