The Swiss financial center is a lever to combat the climate crisis

The next World Climate Conference began at the end of November 2023. It is a stress test for the Paris Climate Agreement. The players in the Swiss financial center are challenged; with their investments, they share responsibility for global emissions.

The participants at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 28) must define clear framework conditions to stop the expansion of fossil fuel production such as coal, oil and gas and at the same time accelerate the transition to renewable energies. This demand is also directed in particular at the players in the Swiss financial center, the world's largest center for cross-border asset management. With their investments, financial players are jointly responsible for global emissions that are around 14 to 18 times higher than domestic emissions. «But Swiss financial institutions are still a long way from incorporating the climate issue appropriately into their business models», criticizes Peter Haberstich, expert on sustainable finance at Greenpeace Switzerland.

Companies must gradually reduce their emissions

The climate conference will be marked by the presence of numerous international financial institutions. The Sustainable Finance Forum took place in Dubai on December 6. Against this backdrop, it is important to recall the responsibility of the Swiss financial center in the fight against global warming. «The various players in the financial sector have one of the most effective levers in their hands to reduce the emissions of the global economy. Investors, asset managers and insurance companies must exert their influence as owners and oblige the companies in which they invest to gradually reduce their emissions - at a pace that is in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement», demands Haberstich.

Activities of the Swiss financial center should be regulated

Investors must also ensure that companies operating in the oil, coal and gas sectors stop expanding the production of fossil fuels, Haberstich added. Just as the International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends. «If this is not possible, investors must withdraw. The players in the financial center must become climate activists. They must use their influence to support and accelerate the rise of renewable energies and efficiency all over the world, especially in the countries of the South», insists Haberstich. And he adds: «The financial sector is reacting far too slowly to the climate crisis. It is relying primarily on voluntary measures - and has failed. It is therefore crucial to regulate the activities of the Swiss financial center accordingly.»

The UN Climate Change Conference 2023, COP 28 for short, is the 28th UN Climate Change Conference. It will take place from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai/United Arab Emirates.