Sustainable Switzerland: New national sustainability initiative is a call to arms
«Together we are making Switzerland more sustainable!» – Working with well-known partners from business and science, the NZZ Group is launching the national sustainability initiative, Sustainable Switzerland. The aim of the dialogue platform is to promote sustainable development in Switzerland and make it visible to the public by networking the relevant actors and encouraging everyone concerned to take action.
The clock is ticking: «2022 is almost the halfway point for implementing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Important progress has been made worldwide in the meantime, bringing the global community closer to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the progress already made is not sufficient to achieve the targets by 2030.» This is what the Federal Council wrote in its introduction to the “Switzerland 2022 Country Report” which it published at the beginning of May and will present to the United Nations in New York in mid-July. In the Outlook section, the Federal Council stated: «Looking ahead to the eight remaining years, it is clear that the goals can only be achieved through determined action across the whole of society.»
If not now, when? This is also what the companies and institutions that are committed to «Sustainable Switzerland», the new national sustainability initiative, are saying to themselves, inviting business, academia, the political world and the general public to assume economic, social and ecological responsibility and make their contribution to sustainable development in Switzerland. In addition to NZZ as the instigator, the main partners are BCG, BKW, BMW, economiesuisse, EPFL, ETH Zurich, SAP, Swisscom and UBS plus Lidl Switzerland as the focus partner.
Felix Graf, CEO of the NZZ Group, is convinced of the initiative’s charisma as well as its leverage effect: «We want to reach as many people in Switzerland as possible. They should be aware of everything that is being done to achieve sustainability, what the economy is doing and the direction in which it is moving. And we want to encourage them to play an active part.» Because: «only by working together can we make Switzerland more sustainable»
Sustainable Switzerland not only supports and promotes Agenda 2030 and the UN’s SDGs, but also the 2050 Climate Agreement. The aim of the initiative is to make sustainable development visible in Switzerland and to offer added value for society as a whole by bringing together the relevant actors and motivating them to take action. «It is a fact that sustainability goals can only be achieved if all stakeholders involved work together,» stated Samuel Wille, theme manager of Sustainable Switzerland. Before joining NZZ this year, he was one of the initiators of Swisstainable, the programme for increased sustainability at Switzerland Tourism, and Head of Corporate Relations at WWF Switzerland.
In addition to constructive partnerships, key factors for achieving the sustainability goals that have been set are both education and awareness: on the one hand on the corporate side (B2B) and on the other hand on the consumers’ side (B2C). A supporting element of all the activities of the national sustainability initiative is the portal sustainableswitzerland.ch which has just been launched. «We create understanding for the challenges of our time by means of topic-specific content presented in line with NZZ quality standards. The editorial team looks specifically at approaches to solutions by various actors and the contribution they can make to sustainable development in Switzerland, thus inspiring people to become involved» is how Samuel Wille summarised the intention.
Another important element and annual highlight of Sustainable Switzerland is the Swiss Sustainability Forum (SSF). The first meeting of the forum, scheduled for 22 to 24 September 2022 in and around the Kursaal Bern, is divided into two main parts: the SSF Leaders’ Summit and the SSF Business Day on Thursday and Friday for progressive thinkers and decision makers, and the SSF Public Day on Saturday for the general public. The event is organised by NZZ Connect which is also the organiser of the annual Swiss Economic Forum (SEF).
«The Swiss Sustainability Forum aims to become Switzerland’s exchange and experience platform for business, academia, the political world and the general public on the topic of sustainability» explained Corine Blesi, Managing Director of NZZ Connect. «We want to increase the awareness of as many visitors as possible to different aspects of sustainable development along the three dimensions of the economy, the environment and society and, above all, to encourage them to think – because a future fit for our grandchildren concerns us all.»
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