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Good morning. I’m Kasmira, the chief editor of Geneva Solutions and I’m delighted to be bringing you the latest sustainable business and finance news each week.

To hear more about the story behind our launch and what we have planned for you in the coming months, join us on our website next Friday, 4 September at 5pm when I will be chatting live with our editorial director Serge Michel.

For today’s stories we take a look at how digital disruption is democratizing financing and the impact on sustainable development. Plus, we hear from Swiss banks grappling with shockwaves in commodity trade finance.

photo journaliste

Kasmira Jefford, Geneva

28.08.2020


A few introductory words


In October last year, Geneva played host to a week-long event, the Building Bridges summit, that brought together delegates from two very different communities camped on separate sides of the Rhône: those in finance and in international development. The aim behind this fanfare was to strike up new conversations, foster collaboration and of course, to further the Sustainable Development Goals.

The atmosphere inside the grand hall of the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices was cautiously hopeful. Promising statements and pledges were made. Former Swiss President Ueli Maurer, along with the director general of the UN office in Geneva, Tatiana Valovaya, and the chair of the event, Patrick Odier, lauded the city’s future role as a world hub for sustainable finance.
Emerging technology and digital initiatives also promised to accelerate this trend.

Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project was new on the scene and Digital Switzerland, a foundation spearheaded by another former Swiss president Doris Leuthard, had also just established itself with the purpose of leading the way on digital ethical standards.

Ten months and a global pandemic later - the world has changed drastically. But what’s clear is that aligning our financial system with sustainable development is more crucial than ever if we are going to protect the world’s most vulnerable - and our planet - from future crises.
So what role does Geneva and its international community have to play here and what solutions can they offer? When the dust has settled, what impact will they have made? Will Geneva become the sustainable finance hub it has been touted to be?

I look forward to answering some of those questions through our new platform and sharing those stories with you. Get in touch! Let us know what you would like reported on in more depth - I look forward to hearing from you.


Today’s reason for hope


How sustainability also wins in Covid-19 fintech boom. From the booming challenger bank market to fast-spreading mobile payment technologies, crypto-assets, crowdfunding platforms, and online marketplaces: digital disruption in finance could have a similarly “transformative impact” in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Sustainable Business and Finance News


Photo article

Commodity trading is going through turbulent times. Keystone / Marcos Moreno

Swiss banks are turning their backs on commodity trading. Several major banks have announced in quick succession the closure or reduction of their commodity trade finance departments following a series of bankruptcies and frauds in Asia and the Middle East. These "restructurings" are shaking up the Geneva financial centre where there are fears of withdrawal and of a "domino effect" on an activity which represents 10% of the local GDP.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

Better climate data can help the municipal market. Climate risks pose a potential threat to the creditworthiness of many debt issuers – particularly in the $3.8 trillion US municipal bond market. Scenario analysis based on standardized climate models can help to clarify the impact of global warming on credit risks and investors’ confidence.

Project Syndicate (EN)

Ongoing matters


Image of the day


Photo article

Keystone / AP Photo / Vincent Thian

A worker inspects disposable gloves at the Top Glove factory in Shah Alam on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. Top Glove, a Malaysian-based company, is one of the world's largest rubber glove manufacturer.


Next on the agenda


1 September (4:00 pm) | Online: Biodiversity, what are the pathways for priority sectors? During this webinar, the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) will reveal findings from a report on Investor Action on Biodiversity, and the World Economic Forum will provide insight into research on The Future of Nature and Business. It is the second in a series of webinars on biodiversity organized jointly with the UNEP FI in the run-up to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties (COP15) in 2021.

UNPRI (EN)

2-3 September | Montreux: Swiss Economic Forum (SEF) Leading players from business, academia, media and politics will explore what lasting marks the pandemic will leave on the Swiss economy, politics and society and methods for overcoming the crisis. The eclectic mix of speakers includes Federal Council vice-president Guy Parmelin, British adventurer Bear Grylls, and American diplomat Susan Rice.

Swiss Economic Forum (EN)

7-18 September | Online: D-DebtCon 2020. Sovereign debt sustainability, debt vulnerabilities, fiscal federalism, and resilience against pandemic and climate shocks: these are among the topics being discussed at this year’s Distributed Interdisciplinary Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference (D-DebtCon 2020), organized in collaboration with the Graduate Institute Geneva and the Institute of Economic Law.

The Graduate Institute (EN)

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Have a good day!

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