Further efforts to prevent greenwashing in the financial sector

Customers should be able to rely on the fact that green promises also mean green content. (photo SIF)



The Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF) will draw up a proposal for implementing the Swiss government’s position on the prevention of greenwashing. The finance industry welcomes the government’s approach.

In December 2022, the Federal Council published its position with regard to the prevention of greenwashing in the financial sector. At the same time, it instructed the FDF, together with representatives of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), the banking industry and non-governmental organisations, to assess how these requirements could be implemented most efficiently. In the financial sector, "greenwashing" refers to the practice of misleading clients about the sustainable characteristics of financial products and services.

After evaluating the input from the members of the working group, the FDF has decided to implement the Federal Council's position by proposing principles-based state regulation at ordinance level. Such regulation could be supplemented by industry self-regulation. The FDF will submit a consultation draft to the Federal Council by end-August 2024 at the latest. If, however, the financial industry presents a self-regulation solution that implements the Federal Council's position effectively, the FDF will dispense with further regulatory efforts.


Finance industry welcomes the government’s approach on greenwashing

The involved associations share the Confederation's objective of making the Swiss financial market a leader in the area of sustainability. The integrity of financial products and services is of paramount importance for the Swiss financial center. That is why AMAS (Asset Management Association), the SBA (Swiss Bankers Association) and the SIA (Swiss Insurance Association) reject any form of greenwashing.

Based on this motivation, AMAS, the SBA and the SIA have already taken measures in 2022 to prevent greenwashing and ensure the credibility of the Swiss financial center. In June 2022, SBA published two self-regulations in the area of sustainable finance with minimum requirements for the consideration of sustainability criteria in investment advice as well as asset management and mortgage advice. AMAS published the "Self-regulation on transparency and disclosure for sustainability-related collective assets" in September 2022. These self-regulations have been in force since 1 January 2023 and 30 September 2023 respectively. SIA is currently drafting a self-regulation for unit-linked life insurance products that builds on the self-regulations of the SBA and AMAS, which is expected to be adopted in the first quarter of 2024.


More information:

Federal government: Further efforts to prevent greenwashing (admin.ch)

Finance industry: AMAS, SBA und SIA welcome the Federal Council’s approach on greenwashing - SwissBanking