During BSL’s annual Business-for-Society Forum held on 20 September 2014, high-level thought leaders introduced the initiative to create a multi-stakeholder coalition for Switzerland: “Switzerland as a Global Sustainability Hub”.
The Forum took place at the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne with more than 500 stakeholders from more than 40 countries. It provided academia, business, NGO and government representatives an opportunity to voice their hopes and aspirations for the repositioning of Switzerland as a sustainability hotbed for the world. Moderated by Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, panelists Dr. Katrin Muff, Dean of Business School Lausanne, Nick Beglinger, President of swisscleantech, Jean Laville, Deputy CEO of Swiss Sustainable Finance, and Bruno Oberle, Director of the Federal Office of the Environment (FOEN) shared their vision for Switzerland as a “Global Sustainability Hub”.
The forum followed a strategic meeting held earlier the same day in Lausanne where a dozen thought leaders from all disciplines and sectors gathered to discuss perspectives on a new vision for Switzerland and a coalition supporting the idea of a Swiss Sustainability Hub. The premise of the hub, which would function as an inter-institutional space, is that the world and Switzerland need a step-change.
What has been achieved to date is important and impressive but by far not sufficient to get us on track for a world where “all people can live well and within the limits of the planet” (WBCSD). Switzerland, in dire need of a new identity given its current banking crisis, having deep ecological roots, social values and international reputation, may well have a unique opportunity to re-orient its innovation power around the notion of sustainability – to balance economic, environmental and social needs in such a way that Switzerland would one day be celebrated for contributing to a better world.