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Sustainable Finance

Sustainability in the financial sector is becoming increasingly important. ZHAW experts teach, research and advise in the field of sustainable finance.

Sustainable Financing

Sustainable Corporate Financing

The term “sustainable financing” covers all aspects of corporate financing that contribute to sustainable development in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and facilitate sustainable corporate development (economic sustainability). This includes, for instance, financing issues in the context of development economics as well as innovative forms of financing in developed countries. We also deal with sustainable financing policies for companies.

Your Partners for Sustainable Financing

Beat Affolter heads the Center for Corporate Performance & Sustainable Financing at the Institute for Financial Management. In his research activities, he is primarily concerned with sustainable corporate financing. Current projects include improving the financing of fair-trade producers and quantifying sustainable financing policies.

Andreas Schweizer is a senior lecturer and project manager for corporate banking and sustainable financing projects. In his research activities, he deals with the collaboration and the respective needs of capital providers and capital recipients. He is also interested in the early detection and prevention of corporate crisis situations.

Current projects on the topic

Current publications on the topic

  1. Affolter, Beat; Seiler, Alexander, 2020. Ein Stresstest für Schweizer Immobiliengesellschaften. Finanz und Wirtschaft. 2020(50), S. 9. Available at: Link zum Beitrag
  2. Affolter, Beat; Mostowfi, Mehdi , 2019. Auswirkungen der Niedrigzinsphase auf die Unternehmensfinanzierung in der Schweiz. Expert Focus. 2019(8), S. 576-583. Available at: https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-18146
  3. Schweizer, Andreas; Loch, Anne Marie; Graf, Ramona, 2019. Finanzierung in der MEM-Industrie: gut mit Verbesserungspotenzial. Die Volkswirtschaft. 2019(11), S.39-41. Available at: https://dievolkswirtschaft.ch/de/2019/10/schweizer-loch-graf-11-2019/

Sustainability Controlling

Companies’ various stakeholder groups are becoming increasingly interested in and knowledgeable about sustainability. This, along with global regulatory developments and imposed sustainability targets, is making it more and more important to align one’s controlling with sustainability and impact metrics. In this context, companies have many questions concerning, for example, the quantification and comparability of such qualitative factors, or how best to strategically integrate them into existing controlling processes. The communication of these additional, non-financial key figures also leads to exciting questions such as how this information is absorbed by investors in direct financing and on the capital market.

Your Partners in Sustainability Controlling

Julia Meyer’s research work focuses on the question of how the impact and sustainability of companies and products can be quantified to their best advantage. Current projects include the detailed analysis of the information content of sustainability ratings of different providers and the question whether sustainable companies show resilience in a global crisis.

Niccole Jordan heads the Digital Transformation research group. Her research areas include digital transformation in finance and sustainability in controlling. Currently, she is exploring the use of green controlling elements in SMEs.

Current publications on the topic

  1. Mahmoud, Ola; Meyer, Julia, 2020. The anatomy of sustainability. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3597700
  2. Meyer, Julia; Schüpbach, Luca Maria; Utz, Sebastian, 2020. Capital-market effects of ESG scores : evidence from a quasi-natural experiment. SSRN. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3683100
  3. Meyer Julia, Krauss Annette (2020): "The Social Performance of Microfinance Investment Vehicles", Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/20430795.2020.1715094

Sustainability Reporting

Responsible behavior has become an explicit requirement of entrepreneurial activity in many respects: The pursuit of economic goals requires a balanced consideration of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) criteria. Sustainability reports are, therefore, becoming an indispensable part of modern business reporting and reliable corporate communication. In addition, they are generally gaining in importance because such disclosure goes hand in hand with a sustainability rating - something that companies, even SMEs, are increasingly expected to have.

Your Partners for Sustainability Reporting

Gabriela Nagel-Jungo heads the Institute for Financial Management. She has extensive experience in accounting (including sustainability reporting), both due to her academic background (see Publications), her engagements as a senior lecturer, and her involvement as a practitioner (e.g., in introducing sustainability reporting according to the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)).

Andreas Buchs is a senior lecturer at the Institute for Financial Management. He has considerable experience in financial accounting, financial reporting, and auditing. Currently, he is working on a project in the field of sustainability reporting.

Current publications on the topic

  1. Nagel-Jungo, Gabriela; Buchs, Andreas; Nägeli, Alexander, 2020. Berichterstattung zu nachhaltigem Wirtschaften : Rahmenbedingungen und Umsetzung bei kotierten Unternehmen. Expert Focus. 2020(10), S.722-729.
  2. Affolter, Beat; Bärtschi, Harald; Brändli, Beat; Buchs, Andreas, 2020. Quo Vadis, Schweizer Nachhaltigkeitsberichterstattung? : auf dem Weg zu einem Swiss Code of Sustainability Reporting. Expert Focus. 2020(9), S.630-635.
  3. Nagel-Jungo, Gabriela; Alves, Silke, 2018. Megatrends der Unternehmensberichterstattung. Zeitschrift für internationale Rechnungslegung. 2018(10), S. 449-455. Available at: https://beck-online.beck.de/Dokument?vpath=bibdata%2Fzeits%2Firz%2F2018%2Fcont%2Firz.2018.449.1.htm&pos=0

  4. Nagel-Jungo, Gabriela; Affolter, Beat, 2016. Nachhaltigkeitsberichterstattung bei Banken. Zeitschrift für internationale Rechnungslegung. 2016(11), S.475-480.

  5. Nagel-Jungo, Gabriela; Affolter, Beat, 2016. Nachhaltigkeitsberichterstattung im Rahmen integrierter Berichterstattung. Zeitschrift für internationale Rechnungslegung. 2016(10), S.427-433.

Sustainable Investing

Innovation & Alternative Data

In the face of climate change and global pollution, there is an urgent need for ESG-compliant investments and policies. Unfortunately, most ESG data are based on company self-reporting and provide little transparency and even less guidance to stakeholders, investors, and policymakers. By exploring novel data sets such as patent data, satellite maps, or web-based data, sustainability can be assessed in an objective, timely, and verifiable manner to identify ESG risks and opportunities.

Your Partners for Innovation & Alternative Data

Dr. Jan Alexander-Posth – Greentech, green investing, patent data, innovation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning

Alex is a scholar with a quantitative and scientific education as well as a practitioner with over 15 years of professional experience. He is involved in a variety of projects at the intersection of digitalization, sustainability, and green investing. His research focus is funded by a DIZH "Digitalization of Greenness" fellowship.

Dr. Tomasz Orpiszewski – Spatial finance, remote sensing, asset-level data, SME data retrieval from websites and social media

Tomasz has seven years of professional experience in asset management as a fixed income strategist, economist, quant analyst, and fund manager. In the field of sustainable investments, he focuses on aspects of spatial finance, biodiversity, incident data, data retrieval, and technology for impact investing.

Current projects on the topic

Current publications on the topic

  1. Hadjikyriakou, Phanos; Orpiszewski, Tomasz; Posth, Jan-Alexander, 2020. Climate indices for listed equity : comparing different methods to minimise climate risk exposure. In: FINANCING THE LOW-CARBON ECONOMY : Instruments, Barriers and Recommendations. Zürich: Swiss Sustainable Finance. S.20-23. Available at: https://www.sustainablefinance.ch/upload/cms/user/2020_11_19_Financing_the_Low_Carbon_Economy_EN_full_report_final.pdf
  2. Posth, Jan-Alexander; Hadji Misheva, Branka; Kotlarz, Piotr Kamil; Osterrieder, Jörg; Schwendner, Peter, 2021. The Applicability of Self-Play Algorithms to Trading and Forecasting Financial Markets. Front. Artif. Intell.. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3389/frai.2021.668465

Investment Product & Investment Strategies

Do you want to consider ecological growth, social values, and responsible corporate governance in your investment decisions, all while not losing sight of return and risk aspects? If so, there are a variety of investment solutions available to you that cover different aspects of sustainability. For example, you can use engagement and voting to influence companies. You can also use ESG data to guide investments in particularly sustainable companies. With the right knowledge and training, you will find it easy to choose the right products for you and your customers.

Your Partners for Investment Products & Investment Strategy

Dominik Boos is a senior lecturer at the Center for Asset Management. He has been designing and implementing investment and risk processes for over 20 years. In doing so, he combines qualitative assessments with quantitative analyses. He first became involved in sustainable investing as an investment strategist at the Swiss National Bank. Today, he is the head of the CAS in Sustainable Investing program and a module coordinator for the MSc in Sustainable Investments program.

Michaela Tanner has 14 years of professional experience in asset management, where she worked in equity portfolio management and as a product manager of real estate funds. At the Institute of Wealth and Asset Management, Michaela deals with topics such as customer focus and determining customer preferences at the intersection of a bank and its customers. In the field of sustainable investments, this includes identifying and communicating ESG preferences.

Current projects on the topic

Current projects on the topic

  1. Meyer, Julia, 2019. Outreach and performance of microfinance institutions: the importance of portfolio yield. Applied Economics. 51(27), pp.2945-2962. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2018.1564016

Motives & Regulation

Many investors invest sustainably because they want to do the right thing, or because they want their values to be reflected in their investments. Others are concerned about the financial risks posed by climate change and the associated reorganization of the economy, or they specifically search for opportunities arising as a result. Finding the right product is not always easy, however. Many products do not really deliver what they promise, are difficult to understand, or are hardly more than “greenwashing”. Private labels can create transparency and define quality standards. The EU is leading the way in terms of legal requirements. Its taxonomy enables investments to be oriented reliably towards more sustainable technologies and companies.

Your Partner for Motives & Regulation

Dominik Boos is a senior lecturer at the Center for Asset Management. He has been designing and implementing investment and risk processes for over 20 years. In doing so, he combines qualitative assessments with quantitative analyses. He first became involved in sustainable investing as an investment strategist at the Swiss National Bank. Today, he is the head of the CAS in Sustainable Investing program and a module coordinator for the MSc in Sustainable Investments program.

Peter Schwendner heads the Institute of Wealth & Asset Management. He has many years of professional experience in the financial industry, especially in quantitative asset management and the investment business. He sees a substantial need in the financial industry for high-quality, transparent products and solutions. In the area of sustainability, this requires the use of objective data sources and digitized processes. His research interest is the application of data-driven methods for the analysis of markets and investment products.

Current projects on the topic

Current publications on the topic

  1. Anhorn, Regina, 2020. Verantwortungsbewusstes Investieren: Pensionskassen als Vorreiter in der Schweiz. Winterthur: ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften. Available at: https://doi.org/10.21256/zhaw-20913
  2. Meyer Julia, Krauss Annette, Bachmann Kremena (2020): "Drivers of Investor Motivations for Impact Investments: The Case of Microfinance", SSRN, No. 3395275. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3395275
  3. Meyer Julia, Krauss Annette (2020): "The Social Performance of Microfinance Investment Vehicles", Journal of Sustainable Finance and Investment. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/20430795.2020.1715094