The market for sustainable investments in Switzerland continued its strong growth in 2007 according to research by onValues. In spite of financial market turbulence, the total market volume increased by 67% in the period between end of 2006 and end of 2007 reaching a volume of CHF 30 billion (CHF 34 billion if also assets managed in Switzerland on behalf of foreign clients and subsidiaries are included). Assets managed in sustainable funds and other collective vehicles grew 92% in the same period, while the total Swiss fund market saw its volume decrease by 1%.
In a separate survey, the Swiss market for sustainable theme investments was assessed in detail for the first time. Assets under management for the three most important themes (climate change, renewable energy / energy efficiency and sustainable water) amounted to CHF 21.7 billion per end of 2007, of which CHF 9.7 billion included an analysis of the environmental, social and governance performance of holdings in addition to selecting companies on the basis of their theme exposure. The strong growth of investments in the still relatively young climate change theme is particularly notable.
«Sustainable investments in Switzerland 2007»
In the May 2008 edition of Environmental Finance magazine Ivo Knoepfel and Gordon Hagart explain why the rash of data showing the growth of socially responsible and sustainable investments should be treated with caution.
«Behind the numbers»
onValues has recently assessed investment opportunities in sustainable timberland on behalf of its clients. Some of our thoughts and conclusions are summarised in an article in the April 2008 edition of Global Pensions magazine. Ivo Knoepfel of onValues points out that investment managers and investors will have to look more closely at environmental and social issues related to timber production in the future, given that investments are increasingly taking place in emerging and developing countries. Environmental and social certification schemes support investment decisions, but their growing number and quality poses a challenge.
«Blossoming interest in timber»
The investment case for energy-efficient and sustainable real estate is the topic of a January 2008 article by Ivo Knoepfel and Gordon Hagart in the Global Pensions Magazine. The authors argue that higher energy prices and environmental constraints will be a powerful source of new opportunities and risks in real estate. They describe how the ability of new building technologies to achieve higher occupant comfort, healthier indoor environments and improved resource efficiency has direct positive impacts on the investment case for sustainable buildings, and how a small number of leading institutional investors are already using these trends to their financial advantage.
Global Pensions Magazine article