Alliance of non-governmental organizations calls on Swiss central bank to "go green"

Activists call on SNB to

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is listed on the stock exchange and holds an annual general meeting of its shareholders, a large proportion of whom are cantons and banks.

Last year, the Swiss Climate Alliance, which brings together more than a hundred non-governmental organizations including Greenpeace, Campax and the Swiss branch of WWF, was already pressing its supporters to buy shares to hold the central bank accountable for the environmental impact of its investments.

In a statement, the Swiss Climate Alliance said that for the upcoming annual general meeting in Bern on April 26, "77 shareholders" have submitted proposals they hope to vote on.

In particular, they are demanding that the SNB "make clear the extent to which its monetary and investment policies contribute to compliance with the 1.5 degree limit" and identify "climate-related financial risks," the statement said.

They also call on the SNB to expand its management team to include "people with proven expertise on climate issues."

The SNB relies on an extensive portfolio of investments, including stocks and bonds, to conduct its monetary policy.

On its website, the SNB says these investments are passively managed, meaning they replicate stock market benchmark indices in multiple markets and currencies, with the central bank not selecting any specific securities.

But environmental organizations have criticized the bank for using these investments to support companies that contribute to the climate crisis.

The Swiss Climate Alliance particularly criticizes "large sums" invested "in fossil fuel multinationals," according to a press release.

Last year, climate activists positioned themselves outside the entrance to the building where the SNB's annual general meeting of shareholders was held in Bern. Dressed in red jumpsuits, they placed a large pipe symbolizing an oil pipeline to hold the central bank accountable for its investments in hydrocarbons.


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