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Policy Innovation for Sustainable Finance

Posted by
Anita Belitz Krasniqi
Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 21:00

In 2013, the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System was set up by the United Nations Environment Programme [1] to advance policy options in order to deliver a step change in the financial system’s effectiveness in mobilizing capital towards a green and inclusive economy – in other words, sustainable development.

After two years of intense research and consultation, including many national processes [2] in countries at all levels of development, it was discovered that a “quiet revolution” is underway, with innovation and experimentation taking place in every part of the financial sector, from monetary policy to standards and transparency, through banking, insurance, pension funds, and stock exchanges, to name just a few.

The main findings of the Inquiry were presented at the Geneva Summit on Sustainable Finance by Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, and moderated by Mark Halle, Senior Advisor to the Inquiry team. A panel of distinguished experts from Switzerland including SFI Senior Chair Jean Charles Rochet discussed prospects for progress in Switzerland under the theme “Policy Innovation for Sustainable Finance”.

This session explored how, based on the lessons from the Inquiry and the many examples from other parts of the world, further momentum can be built behind the Swiss reform process and how different actors might become actively involved.

The panel is particularly interesting against the backdrop of the Federal Council’s recent statement that Switzerland’s strong expertise in the environment sector and its strong financial sector gives the country the potential for a long-term competitive advantage in the area of sustainable investments. 


[1] The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

[2] Switzerland also held a broad consultation as part of the Inquiry and, in May 2015, published a national report sketching out a roadmap for sustainable finance sector reform in Switzerland. See