10 Reasons to be Psyched about Zurich’s Cleantech Movement

zurich 10 Reasons to be Psyched about Zurichs Cleantech Movement

Zurich is one of the most important cities of Switzerland. Zurich has helped to make Switzerland one of the leaders on cleantech investment and energy efficiency around the globe. Due to the waste management programs, sustainable transportation projects, renewable energy advances, and green buildings, Switzerland placed number two on the 2010 Environmental Performance Index.

1) Switzerland has set itself apart as a global hub of cleantech finance and Zurich is the capital of that hub. Zurichfinancial companies play key leadership roles in multiplesustainable/cleantech financial sectors. Whether investing in publiccompanies or private venture Zurich have a wide range of investmentfirms that are international leaders in cleantech including Sustainable Asset Management, Mountain Cleantech, Emerald Ventures, UBS, Credit Suisse, ZKB, Susi Partners and Vontobel.

2) Swiss Re. Swiss Re in Zurich is committed to sustainable energy consumption. They havecurrently been engaged in climate change studies and sponsoring various research projects. Because the climate plays a role in the reinsurance business, Swiss Re has come up with risk management solutions forclimate related risks. Due to this study, Swiss Re has taken measures to decrease its company’s own carbon footprint. Swiss Re became the first company for financial services to commit to greenhouse gas neutrality. Their goal was to reduce carbon emissions by 30% for every employee.Swiss Re created the COYou2 program to provide their employees withsubsidies to change their CO2 consumption patterns. They are alsocommitted to using renewable energy sources.

3) Zurich based Gaia Global SA provides innovativesustainability solutions addressing both private and publicorganizations. It has strong expertise in the areas of climate change,sustainable energy, risk management, environment and innovation. Gaiaidentifies and integrates clean technology solutions into businessmodels. Gaia has been successful to build bridges to emerging anddeveloping country markets for adapted technology and servicedevelopment for Swiss companies. A strength is GaiaÂ’s active role inpublic-private partnerships among other with multilateral banks inLatcam and Africa. Gaia Global is part of Gaia Group www.gaia.fi which operates globally through its offices in Finland, Switzerland and China.

4) Zurich is home to Swiss Cleantech. Swiss Cleantech is a Cleantech Business Association. It was founded in autumn 2009 by the Foundation for Global Sustainability (FFGS, www.ffgs.org). A number of companies which think and act in a sustainable mannercontacted FFGS and voiced their need for effective political support. As a result, swisscleantech now represents its members’ politicalinterests. The term Cleantech encompasses all industries. It fostersEco-Innovation and addresses all companies which apply the principles of sustainable development (products, services, processes). SwissCleantech is also one of the founders of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association.

5) Swiss Village Abu Dhabi. Set up throughcollaboration between Abu Dhabi and the Swiss Embassy, the SwissSustainability Initiative was set up in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, theglobal ecocity project. Swiss Village is set up with a number of research laboratories, offices,manufacturing facilities, business hub, and a number of othernecessities. Swiss Village participates in the overall Masdar Initiative to create sustainable energy sources. Swiss Village uses a number oftechnologies at its disposal to assist in achieving the research anddevelopment of renewable energy technologies that can be created andexported throughout the world.

6) Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. To increase cleantech awareness for the future, the Institute of Energy Technology focuses on sustainable energy systems that are reliable, secure,socially compatible, economically viable, and environmentally friendly. There are numerous energy policy and activities that resume at ETHZurich. They investigate the numerous dimensions of the energychallenge, such as transportation, electricity, heating, energy storage, world economic demands, and security of supply, global warming andcome up with a coherent strategy development plan. (You could alsoinclude Eawag, www.eawag.ch, and Empa, www.empa.ch, which are connected to the ETH; the research area in Zurich is verystrong!) I also guess that you should mention the eawag and empa,eventually also the Climate KIC program(http://www.climate-kic.org/networks/nodes/)

7) The Swiss Energy Program. In 2001, the SwissEnergy Program was launched to create a “platform for an intelligentenergy policy.” The program is aimed at supporting energy efficiency as well as the use of renewable energy. The Swiss Energy program realizes that this means there needs to be cooperation between the federalgovernment, municipalities, trade and industry partners, consumer andenvironmental organizations, as well as private and public agencies.Through its work, it has been able to reduce overall CO2 emissions by2.8 million tonnes, and lower fossil fuel consumption by 7.9%. The Swiss Energy Program has also assisted in lowering total energy consumption by 4.7% andincreased the amount of renewable energy that is used throughout thecountry. (2000 WATT-Gesellschaft(http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/portal/en/index/portraet_der_stadt_zuerich/2000-watt_society.html)

8 ) CO2 Act. Created by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, the CO2 Act came into effect in 2000 and forms one of the foundations for the climate policy of Switzerland. The overallmission of the CO2 Act is to reduce the total amount of CO2 emissions that are the result offossil fuel usage by 10% of what the 1990 level was. This would reducethe percentage of heating fuels to 15 and motor fuels to eight. This act is done mainly through measures taken voluntarily by privateindividuals and companies. However, legislation has been enacted by the federal government to introduce a CO2 fee is voluntary measures do not succeed in lowering CO2 emissions. The only companies that would beexempt are those that are taking a large venture to reduce their CO2emissions and meet a decided target.

9) Hydropower Legislation. Due in large part to its large amount of annual rainfall and topography, Switzerland has proven ideal conditions for hydropower. There are currently 543 hydropowerstations and currently makes up a large part of the market. The Federal government in Zurich has taken many measures to promote the use ofhydropower in the future. The Federal Hydropower Act provides all the provisions that govern hydropower utilization. Through legislation, the government is hoping to increase the usage ofhydropower to become one of the main forms of sustainable, renewableenergy that can be utilized throughout the country. More than 50% of the electricity production is made with hydropower.

10) ABB. ABB is one of the leading global powers that provide technologies in power and automation that allows industry and utility customers the abilityto maximize their overall performance while decreasing the total impact to the environment. They produce products and solutions for electrical power, power system, discrete automation and motion, low voltage, and process automation. ABB assists in creating technologies that will make companies more competitive while keeping the environment safe. Theybalance social, economic, and environmental objectives and integratethese objectives indo the daily decisions of businesses.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raisecapital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financialdecisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantechpublications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his“Top 10? series. He can be reached at shawn@watershedcapital.com

Top 10 Highlights of Zurich’s Cleantech Movement originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the firstadvisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative andrenewable energies.