Switzerland — Accelerating Net-Zero Investment Flows

Achieving a step-change in financing rates for Switzerland's transformation challenges

Place: Switzerland
System Type: TBD
Challenge: Transforming a key real-economy system in Switzerland
Partners: ETH Zurich, Migros Pioneer Fund


355 billion euros – that’s how much Switzerland will have to invest to transition to a net-zero economy by 2050, according to a recent study published by the Swiss Bankers Association and the Boston Consulting Group. What seems like an unfathomably large number starts to feel more manageable when considering that the required annual investment equates to just about 2% of the country’s GDP. It is thus no surprise that the study strikes an optimistic tone, conveying confidence that the lion’s share of the investment need can be shouldered by the domestic banking system and that Switzerland is well placed to lead the world in financing net-zero transitions.

And yet, the key question for Switzerland isn’t so much whether it can finance this transition. The country boasts the second-highest GDP per capita of OECD member states and can tap into a thriving banking sector. Rather, the key question is how, exactly, finance can be unlocked in order for this transition to actually take place. Because despite Switzerland’s economic wealth and its advantageous geography, the country is currently not on track to deliver on its commitments under the Paris Agreement. In fact, its progress is lagging in key areas such as mobility (where it only ranks 7th in Europe for electric vehicle uptake), the built environment (where retrofit rates need to triple), and agriculture (where important policy reforms have been shelved).

So why does one of the most progressive, wealthy, equitable, and environmentally conscious countries struggle so much to make progress toward a low-carbon and climate-resilient future? And what role could a more systemic approach to deploying investment capital play in helping Switzerland accelerate its net-zero transition?

These are the questions that lie at the heart of our prototyping work in Switzerland. There are no obvious answers to these questions. But what seems clear is that Switzerland’s financing challenge isn’t about affordability but rather about design—specifically, the design of strategic investment programmes that combine innovations in value capture, funding architecture, instrument design, and multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve a step-change in accelerating investment flows.

Enabled by the Migros Pioneer Fund, our effort brings together leaders from finance, government, and academia to investigate the country’s transformation challenges through a systems lens. Our goal is to design, structure, and capitalize one or more strategic investment programme(s) open to institutional and private investors committed to transforming the most important systems the people of Switzerland depend on.

If you would like to learn more, reach out to Magdalena J. Schneider and Thomas Adank.

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Challenge Owners

Do you represent an ambitious city council, regional or national government, multilateral institution, foundation, or another organization with a mandate to transform a human or natural system?

Contact us to learn more about systemic investing and funding architecture in service of your climate action plan.

Investors

Are you an asset owner, an investment advisor, an asset manager, or a financial intermediary looking to explore the next frontier of sustainable finance?

Reach out to learn more about systemic investing and to discover investment opportunities.

Innovators

Are you working on a novel idea, concept, space, method, strategy, tool, structure, philosophy, or metric relevant for building the field of systemic investing?

Get in touch to find out how to engage in our prototyping work and how to contribute to our community of practice.

Funders

Are you interested in supporting the design and mainstreaming of a new investment logic that challenges existing financial paradigms, structures, and practices?

We’d love to hear from you.

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Dominic Hofstetter, Space Building Lead
dh@transformation.capital

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About

What We Do

The TransCap Initiative is a collaborative space for developing, demonstrating, and scaling systemic investing in the places that matter most for human prosperity—such as cities, landscapes, and coastal zones—as well as in value chains and other real-economy systems.

We apply systems thinking, human-centred design, and the principles of mission-driven innovation to explore how financial capital can catalyse the transformation of systems in service of a low-carbon, climate-resilient, just, and inclusive future.

Our mission involves developing a knowledge and innovation base, testing novel concepts and approaches, and building a community of practice. In doing so, we recognise the complex adaptive nature of human and natural systems and the fundamental uncertainty that governs their evolution, and we thus emphasise the need for collaboration, experimentation, and learning.

The places and value chains we intend to transform act as centres of gravity for our work. In each of these systems, we will work with challenge owners, communities, innovators, investors, and other stakeholders to design, structure, and finance strategic investment portfolios nested within a broader systems intervention approach.

Who We Are

The TransCap Initiative convenes a diverse community of partners from the private, public, civic, academic, and philanthropic spheres. Many of our community members are world-leading thinkers and doers in the fields of systems innovation, sustainable finance, public policy, social innovation, and sustainability research. It is a dynamic community, open to anyone committed to our cause and values.

The TransCap Initiative was initiated in 2019 by EIT Climate-KIC with support from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).

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Contact Us

Dominic Hofstetter, Space Building Lead
dh@transformation.capital