The Investment Portfolio of the Swiss National Bank and its Carbon Footprint

June 1, 2021Written by Social Science Research Network

This paper analyses the equity holdings of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and estimates its carbon footprint. It finds that the SNB’s portfolio generates between 13 and 20 million metric tons of CO2 per year. This could be reduced by 99.7% to 0.07 million metric tons with an investment reallocation of just 2%.

To arrive at this finding, author Alain Naef analysed the holdings of the SNB in the 100 most polluting companies in the world. He found the share of assets owned by the SNB are responsible for between 23% and 38% of the domestic CO2 emissions of Switzerland, representing as much as the greenhouse gas emissions of all Swiss households combined.

Naef calculates that if the SNB were to reallocate the $3.74bn currently invested in the 27 most polluting companies in its portfolio into Apple, the investment would generate 0.07 million metric tonnes of Scope 3 emissions instead of 20.25 million metric tonnes for the current portfolio, a reduction of 99.7%. A reallocation into any balanced portfolio excluding oil, gas or coal, would be roughly similar.

This page was last updated October 22, 2021

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