As part of its efforts towards sustainability, Switzerland has made sustainable finance one of its core strategic objectives and has been at the forefront of its development for the past decades.

As explained by Patrick Odier, President of Building Bridges and Swiss Sustainable Finance, responsible investing in Switzerland has been evolving since the mid-1990s.

“The concept was not discovered and implemented recently; the country has a long history in developing innovative sustainable finance solutions that few others can offer,” he notes.

The knowledge gained throughout the years has also enabled Switzerland to be one of the first countries to adopt a methodological approach towards sustainability – the Swiss Climate Scores. Through this approach, financial institutions are not forced to take any action, but are instead encouraged to identify steps through critical thinking and scientific examination, and voluntarily implement the necessary measures to achieve sustainable investments.

“This approach has been made possible by the high level of trust and the fluidity of dialogue we have between the authorities and the sector. Banks and Asset Managers have been asked not only to propose practical measures, but also concrete strategies to self-regulate in this respect, both at the product and point of sales levels,” Patrick Odier says.

He also points out the internationality of the Swiss financial sector which not only brings in more ideas, but also makes it more attractive for innovative sustainable investment opportunities.

“Middle Eastern investors in particular find Switzerland very appealing also due to the similarities between Sharia principles and the Swiss philosophy towards sustainable finance,” Odier concludes.

Interview published in the Invest in Switzerland issue of the Arabian Business Magazine in May 2023