The Biggest University Center for Sustainable Finance has been Launched

The Center of Competence for Sustainable Finance (CCSF) at the University of Zurich saw daylight in January 2020 and now starts its first semester full steam ahead. The CCSF is one of the biggest university centers dedicated to research in sustainable finance and facilitates collaborations across eight departments, various faculties, and more than 30 researchers.

The CCSF brings together researchers working on, for example, business psychology, geography, informatics, and finance and focuses on the following core activities: ​

  • Creation of scientific knowledge
  • Strengthening of scientific interdisciplinarity
  • Development of education opportunities

“The challenging times we are confronted with need ambitious approaches, and the current coronavirus crisis highlights the interconnections between economy and nature. Research has shown that the creation of pandemics is inherently linked to biodiversity losses and deforestation. The spread of pandemics in turn goes hand-in-hand with the globalization of the economy. An interdisciplinary approach is therefore required to address this and future issues,” says Chair of the Center of Competence, professor Marc Chesney.

Professor Marc Chesney heads the Center of Competence at the University of Zurich.

With this very first CCSF newsletter, we welcome you to join us on our journey toward better sustainability research. Below are selected highlights from our work, and we warmly encourage you to pass this post to colleagues, peers, and networks.

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The Sustainable Finance Research Seminar Brings Global Experts Together to Share, Discuss and Develop Better Sustainability Research

The Sustainable Finance Research Seminar is a place where thought-provoking working papers on the topic of sustainable finance are presented and discussed. The seminar contains a mix of theoretical and empirical papers by both senior and junior scholars. Key themes include the impact of sustainable finance on the real economy, the implications of climate risks, and investor preferences for sustainability. See you at the seminar!

Register to the seminar

Sustainability is Price Stability — Covid-19 Crisis Pushes the ECB to Re-evaluate Inflation Policy

The European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo by Charlotte Venema on Unsplash.

The primary objective of the European Central Bank (ECB) is maintaining price stability, which means ensuring that inflation stays below, but close to 2 percent. Yet, recent developments and economic volatility have brought the secondary objectives of the ECB to the forefront. These objectives include supporting the general economic policies of the European Union, such as employment, sustainable growth, and environmental protection. How the ECB could push for sustainable economic growth, is a question a recent report co-authored by Professor Kern Alexander seeks to answer.

Access the report

Climate Change and Corporations — Personal Liability Risks for Directors?

The catastrophic impacts of climate change are increasingly visible — and so is the debate on the legal responsibility of corporations in limiting emissions. The fresh paper co-authored by Rolf Weber and Andreas Hoesli looks at the role of the board of directors in limiting the global rise in temperature. A burning question to say the least.

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Integrity Games Support Value-based Action

Ethical codes are a must-have in many contemporary enterprises. Yet, how can an agreement be brought to life is a question many enterprises struggle to answer. Carmen Tanner and researchers from the Zeppelin University have launched Integrity Games, a game that promotes moral sensitivity in the business and financial context, to provide a solution.

Read more about the tool

End of Life Decommissioning and Recycling of Solar Panels in the United States

Hundreds of thousands of tons of solar panel waste are estimated to be produced yearly in the United States from the year 2035 onward. This is all material that could be recycled. A recent paper by Marc Chesney and Carlos Vargas estimates the amount of scrap material to be produced from solar panels decommissioning and determines the optimal date and location to establish recycling centers.

To the paper

The EU Sustainability Taxonomy — A Financial Impact Assessment

The European Commission set up a Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (TEG) to support the implementation of the Commission’s Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth. The TEG was mandated to develop recommendations for technical screening criteria regarding economic activities that make a substantive contribution to climate change mitigation or adaptation, or the so-called Taxonomy. The report co-authored by Stefano Battiston and Alan Roncoroni carries out a financial impact assessment of the Taxonomy. Further, it provides an overview of estimates of additional investment needed to achieve the targets of the low-carbon transition.

To the report

Sustainable Investing — A Panacea or an Empty Promise?

There is much talk about impact. But how to walk the talk is a question UZH researchers answer. (Image by Gerardo Marrufo on Unspalsh)

Sustainable and impact investing is on the rise, but how can investors actually make a change? The “Can Sustainable Investing Save the World? Reviewing the Mechanisms of Investor Impact” paper by Julian Kölbel, Florian Heeb, Falko Paetzold, and Timo Busch dives into the various impact approaches investors have at their disposal. The paper is currently in the top 1% of the most downloaded working papers on SSRN.

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Center of Competence for Sustainable Finance @UZH

The Center of Competence for Sustainable Finance is interdisciplinary university center dedicated to research in substantial finance.