Greening the Private Banking Industry
I recently attended a green investment conference in Zurich. Julius Bar, one of Switzerland’s many private banks, hosted the event to launch a new range of green investment products. The event offered a fascinating window onto the current mind state of a conservative private banking sector wondering what to make of sustainability.
The CEO opened the conference with a screening of our film, Plausible Futures, which he said “said it all.” Given that we produced it in 2007, it was gratifying to see it still has value.
The hosts, Julius Bar, clearly at the beginning of a learning curve. Not only are they fairly new to green investment, or what call planet investment, they are also inexperienced in looking beyond a short time frame (their head of equity analysis proudly stated that he and his team had the luxury of looking beyond 3 months!). Several of their guest speakers were insightful, most of whom had just come down the mountain from Davos. James Cameron was full of post-Forum zeal, talking about international cooperation and Kyoto’s next iteration. Niall Ferguson was spoke about asianisation, inflation and the fact that the US government may well default on their voluminous debt (and to plug his forthcoming book about the rise and fall of Western economic dominance).
Key drivers discussed throughout: climate change, urbanisation, food, water and energy (as might be expected). Investment opportunities that were highlighted included energy efficiency, green retrofit, rare earths (rare minerals and metal), forestry and green bonds.