Is Geneva the Silicon Valley of sustainable finance?



Geneva wants to be the Silicon Valley of sustainable finance. The message, and the case for why should be, were on display at the Geneva Forum for Sustainable Investment.

Swiss sustainable finance assets have grown 38% to $273.8 billion over the past year, according to new research from Swiss Sustainable Finance and German counterpart Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen. The spike reflects strong institutional asset growth and, yes, higher survey participation.

Geneva has long standing authority in sustainable finance, perhaps drawing on its Calvinist tradition, its rank as a global private banking powerhouse, and its United Nations presence. Regional leaders are hoping to make Geneva the global hotbed for impact money, joining other cities like London, Frankfurt or Paris in a new race to the top.

A sample of this new thinking: Microfinance is back. Investments in inclusive financial services can be a win-win for the global north and global south. Investments in microfinance, according to Why Microfinance Matters, a report presented at the forum from Geneva-headquartered Symbiotics, can match investors escaping low yield and saturated credit markets with the opportunities of internet powered, financial services hungry, growing populations and economies.

“Geneva has the potential to be the Silicon Valley of sustainable finance,” Ivan Agabekov, Chief Financial Officer of INOKS Capital, told the forum.

Added Fabio Sofia, president of Sustainable Finance Geneva, “Sustainable finance must become a clear pillar of the Swiss financial center.”

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