Fishbowl Conversation

Philanthropies as Innovators in Finance: Examples and Lessons Learned

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 From 11:30 to 12:30 (CET) Centre International de Conférences Genève - Room F
Climate & Energy Innovative Finance Nature

This 60min fishbowl session aims to showcase the innovative finance vehicles created by non-profit organizations and supported by philanthropies, explore the challenges they faced in their development, and identify the lessons learned that can inspire others to pursue similar approaches.


Maya Ziswiler

Chief Executive Officer - UBS Optimus Foundation

Maya Ziswiler is the Chief Executive Officer of the UBS Optimus Foundation, which leverages philanthropic capital to build an impact economy, through high impact programs in education, health, child protection and the environment, with a strong focus on innovative social finance solutions. Beyond grantmaking, the foundation leverages innovative social finance solutions to mobilize and incentivize new and better capital to reach the UN’s SDGs. She spearheaded the Foundation's work on the first Development Impact Bond and impact linked loans, before expanding to a range of different outcomes-based instruments. Ms. Ziswiler joined the Foundation from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria where she was responsible for managing public-private partnerships such as (RED) or the MAC AIDS Fund to provide treatment, care and support for HIV/AIDS and malaria programs in Africa and the Caribbean. Previously, she worked for UNICEF in Peru, building partnerships to support early childhood development programs there. She also brought valuable project management experience from Procter & Gamble in the Middle East and non-profit consulting experience from China. Ms. Ziswiler holds a Bachelor in International Development Management from McGill University in Canada, and an MBA in International Organizations from the University of Geneva.

Barbara Buchner

Global Managing Director - Climate Policy Initiative

Barbara Buchner is Global Managing Director of Climate Policy Initiative advising leaders on climate, energy, and land use investments around the world. She also directs the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance which solicits, shapes, and tests cutting edge climate finance instruments that resolve financing barriers hindering alternative energy, adaptation, and land use projects. In addition, Dr. Buchner built and directs the San Giorgio Group, which brings together climate finance leaders to engage on critical issues that require collective effort to accelerate the transition to more sustainable, lower-emission economies. She is a Professor in Practice for Sustainable Finance at the University of London SOAS Centre for Sustainable Finance, a Program Director of the Climate Change and Energy Program at the Australian National University, is on the Advisory Board of the Barilla Foundation and the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative, and a member of several influential groups and committees. Previously Dr. Buchner served as a Senior Energy and Environment Analyst at the International Energy Agency (IEA) and as a Senior Researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) where she was involved in a number of activities related to FEEM’s Climate Change Policy and Modelling Unit in the field of environmental economics. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Graz and was a Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Maximilian Martin

Global Head of Philanthropy - Lombard Odier Group

Dr. Maximilian Martin is the Founder of Impact Economy & passionate about creating value through industry transformation and new ventures. He is the Executive Vice President & Global Head of Philanthropy at Lombard Odier, and led the transaction ICRC “Program for Humanitarian Impact Investment” on the side of the co-sponsor. Prior roles include building the global philanthropic & impact investing services as Global Head & Managing Director for UBS, Senior Consultant with McKinsey & Company, instructor at Harvard’s Economics Department, and Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School.

Kamal Dadi

Senior innovation officer, head of incubator - Agence française de développement

Private equity industry, board governance and emerging markets. Change management and innovation.