New Alliance for Sustainability in Finance: California and Switzerland Team Up

While sustainable policies at many levels have started to be applied worldwide, the role of banking and finance in sustainability has only recently come to the forefront. Now, the University of Zurich, USC Schwarzenegger Institute, and R20 are directly addressing this critical, often determining aspect of building a sustainable world.

Ardnold und Christian Schwarzenegger setzen sich gemeinsam für ein nachhaltiges Finanzwesen ein. (UZH)
Arnold and Christian Schwarzenegger are forging a new alliance for sustainability in finance. (UZH)

Private wealth management and investment strategies are crucial in supporting and promoting sustainable projects. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Climate Change agreement will cost at least $90-100 trillion over the next 15 years, leaving an estimated $2.5 trillion funding gap. These ambitious but imperative goals can only be achieved through a joint effort by academia, political leaders, the non-profit sector, technology holders and the financial markets. The Green Economy and Finance Initiative, an alliance between the University of Zurich, R20, and the USC Schwarzennegger Institute, aims to answer that need and lead the world in implementing green finance practices.

“It is fantastic that the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and R20 are forging a new alliance with the University of Zurich today," said former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  “The three organizations will work together to help accelerate the transition to sustainable clean energy and make the world safer and healthier for all its citizens. By combining academic research with green financing initiatives and sub-national leadership I am confident that we can meet the ambitious goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.”

The alliance meaningfully links California’s green initiatives with those of Switzerland, where many banks already have their own sustainability initiatives and products and the population is generally committed to sustainability issues, making Switzerland a viable test market. Switzerland’s largest university, the University of Zurich (UZH), brings a prestigious reputation in economics, banking and law to the alliance along with a broad network in the finance space. Using transparent, peer-reviewed methodologies, UZH will contribute powerful metrics and analysis to assess both the climate risk and the climate impact of financial portfolios. Furthermore, UZH aims to aid in mainstreaming sustainable finance in society by establishing a Master of Advanced Studies in Sustainable Finance to train the future professionals in the field, among a host of other initiatives.

“It is time to join forces now,” said Christian Schwarzenegger, Vice President Faculty Affairs and Scientific Information at the University of Zurich. “The alliance between USC Schwarzenegger Institute, R20, and the University of Zurich boosts green economy, impact investment and sustainable finance worldwide by combining political leadership, practical support, evidence-based standards and training. California and Switzerland can set a new goal for advanced economies.”