Illustration : Leslie Umezaki
The SNB’s misguided view of climate risks misleads the entire Swiss financial centre
Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Three days before the SNB's Annual General Meeting, the association Artisans de la transition in cooperation with the Swiss Climate Alliance published an analysis of the SNB's climate risk management policy. The findings are clear: the SNB has not adequately assessed the colossal and potentially irreversible systemic risk that climate change poses to the Swiss financial system and the economy as a whole.
Drawing on the progress made by European central banks in acknowledging the enormous economic and financial impacts of global warming that have already begun, this report makes recommendations for the SNB to drop its wait-and-see attitude, to break with the passive management of its portfolio and to adopt, as soon as possible and in coordination with politicians, a vision and a strategy to flatten the climate risks curve as soon as possible.
The Swiss National Bank’s Investments
in the Fossil Fuel Industry
Inflicts Heavy Losses to Switzerland
With a portfolio of 865 billion dollars, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is amongst the biggest public investors in the world. A new report published today shows that the known portion of the SNB's equity portfolio (95.6 billion dollars, representing 60% of the bank's equity investments) was the source of 48.5 million tons of CO2 in 2017. That’s more than the total emissions attributable to Switzerland in 2016 (48.3 million tons), the last available data.
The report, issued by Artisans de la transition is based on research done by three specialists: ISS-Ethix, 2°Investing initiative and Profundo. It shows that the SNB could tip the scales in favour of the energy transition at no cost. Better still, with a significant benefice. ISS-Ethix has calculated that if the SNB had divested 7.6 billion dollars that are invested into the most carbon-intensive companies and had used this money instead to finance more climate-friendly companies, it would have halved the emissions resulting from its equity portfolio and improved its financial performance by 20 billion dollars over the last three years (between January 1st, 2015 and December 31st, 2017).
More importantly: if the SNB were to adopt a climate policy to invest its money, it would support federal policies to address climate change and poverty instead of undermining them. And this would be ground breaking for the Swiss financial centre, which, like the SNB, so far supports a path leading to a rise of temperature of 4°C to 6°C. Moreover, Switzerland is amongst the countries most at risk from climate change: its average temperature increased by 1,8°C between 1864 and 2016, while the global mean is 0.85°C. The SNB is thus making the situation much worse for the country.
Photographie extraite d’une série illustrant le dossier 48 de LaRevueDurable,
« Écologie et morale, refonder le monde sur une vision plus juste de la nature humaine »
©Eléonore Henry De Frahan/collectifargos.com