Switzerland to become a leading location for sustainable financial services

Bern, 26.06.2020 - During its meeting on 24 June 2020, the Federal Council adopted a report and guidelines on sustainability in the financial sector. The aim is to make Switzerland a leading location for sustainable financial services. In order to achieve this, the Federal Council wants to shape the framework conditions in such a way that the competitiveness of Switzerland's financial centre is improved and, at the same time, the financial sector can make an effective contribution to sustainability.

The Federal Council sees sustainable finance as a great opportunity for the Swiss financial centre. In view also of the global challenges, further efforts must be made to safeguard and further expand the interests and competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre internationally. From both a national and international perspective, this includes its ability to function within the framework of sustainable growth and Switzerland's environmental and sustainability goals: financial markets that want to remain successful in the future must be stable and trustworthy. This implies that they operate under the best possible market conditions.

The state plays a subsidiary role in the event of market failures or imperfections. The framework conditions for the Swiss financial centre in the area of sustainability and sustainable growth have been identified and will be further developed by the end of 2020. They are:

  • Information for market participants: Environmental and climate information for financial products and companies, including financial institutions, should be made available to all market participants in a systematic and comparable way.
  • Quality of information: The chosen reporting standard is to be measured against the traceable and effective achievement of sustainability goals in accordance with the 2030 Agenda reference framework.
  • Quality of service: Informed advice, a high level of training and further education in the sector as well as products that are efficiently and effectively geared to achieving sustainability goals are key factors on the supply side.
  • Innovation: In general, including in the three areas mentioned above, the use of digital business and analysis models plays a central role.
  • Risk pricing: Financial risks from environmental and climate developments must be identified. This also includes the long-term perspective and developments during the transition and adaptation phase.
  • Exportability: International developments, especially in the EU, must be closely monitored in order to identify at an early stage which steps are necessary to maintain competitiveness. Switzerland remains committed to the exportability of high-quality financial services, which makes the sustainability of Swiss financial services transparent in the international context.

In addition:

  • International commitment: Switzerland is firmly committed to sustainable financial markets through international initiatives and key international financial market bodies such as the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the G20.
  • Intensive dialogue with all stakeholders: The authorities maintain a close dialogue with the financial sector and other interested parties such as civil society and academics, and expect industry to make efforts and voluntary commitments to sustainability in order to ensure quality.

The Federal Council's report on sustainability in the financial sector was prepared by a cross-departmental working group headed by the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF), in close cooperation with the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and other authorities such as the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The report provides the first overview of international developments and Switzerland's position. It examines thirteen measures for sustainability in the financial sector in detail, some of which are also being discussed in the EU, and focuses on environmental aspects. The measures primarily concern transparency, investment activities, training and further education, and risks.

The Federal Council has published corresponding guidelines based on the report presented.

Address for enquiries

Mario Tuor, Head of SIF Communications,
Tel. 041 481 34 96, mario.tuor@sif.admin.ch


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance

Federal Office for the Environment FOEN