Federal Council fleshes out proposals for sustainable Swiss financial centre
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
AMAS welcomes Federal Council’s approach and further involvement of financial industry
Disclosure obligations are crucial to maintaining and enhancing the international competitiveness of Switzerland’s overall economy. Disclosure obligations should be prioritized in order to speed up the transition to a sustainable overall economy, and transparency is the key to successful implementation of sustainability criteria within companies. Standardized, measurable reporting is vital in this respect, but transparency also requires companies and research providers to make reliable, high-quality data available.
The AMAS/SSF Key Messages and Recommendations dated 16 June contain more detailed recommendations for implementing a sustainable investment policy throughout the entire investment process. In particular, they address the topics of transparency and reporting in relation to governance, investment policy, investment strategy, and risk management. This includes information at the product and company levels and the publication of a sustainability policy. A joint AMAS/SSF working group is currently looking into the topic of “truthful information”. Switzerland’s international engagement in this area is another important success factor as regards the reputation and competitiveness.