The Swiss central bank could be asked to pull its $800 billion balance sheet out of investments in fossil fuel firms in a step by one of many world’s biggest reserve banks to tackle climate change.
Swiss legislators are preparing a campaign that may make targeting climate change one of many policy aims of the Swiss National Bank, alongside the traditional monetary targets of ensuring price stability and fostering economic development.
The drive will start this month with motion in parliament’s lower house, said two legislators behind the campaign. The push is coming from the center-left Social Democrats (SP) and the Greens, which achieved record results in October’s elections.
The SNB built up an $800 billion balance sheet during efforts to rein in the safe-haven Swiss franc, giving it an unusually big funding portfolio for a mid-sized nation’s reserve bank, around a fifth the size of the balance sheets of the European ECB or the U.S. Federal Reserves.
The SNB refused to comment on the politicians’ recommendations. It drops shares in companies that cause severe environmental damage but has resisted utilizing its investment clout to advertise green causes due to the risk of conflicts of curiosity or politicizing monetary policy.
The new chief of the Central Bank of Europe has termed tackling climate change as “mission-critical,” though its slender order to fight inflation limits what it can do. Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell has stated fighting climate change was not the U.S. central bank’s job.
The Swiss campaign should pass both houses of parliament. Passing the upper house, which has a center-right majority, can even be tough, the campaigners mentioned.