UBS: Best Green Bank Switzerland 2014

Picture a world in which large power plants spewing noxious fumes into the atmosphere have been made redundant and replaced by solar panels, wind turbines, and other small-scale and environmentally sound ways of providing plentiful non-polluting energy. That is how Swiss financial services company UBS sees the none-too distant future taking shape.

In a brief sent to investors in August 2014, the world’s largest private bank states unequivocally that centralised power generators are on their way out. According to UBS analysts, these facilities are just “too big and inflexible” which will shortly make them “irrelevant.” As if on cue, German utility company E•ON in December revealed plans to split its business into two successor companies – one generating power from fossil fuels and the other from renewables. This will enable E•ON to divest its interests in carbon-based energy generation and concentrate its resources on sustainable technology.

The uncanny prescience displayed by UBS researchers underscores the bank’s dedication to not just clean energy, but environmentally sound business endeavours in general. UBS considers the shift away from fossil fuel but one of a series of major developments that will open up a world of opportunity to those willing to recognise the signs and step in on the ground floor.

Being green entails much more than just ditching incandescent light bulbs or only buying free-range eggs; it requires seeing the truly big picture, spotting trends, and identifying early-on viable new technologies. Though the Judging Panel has no doubt that UBS will have replaced the light bulbs, the judges attach far greater importance to the fact that the Swiss bank employs its vast resources – not least its research brawn – to help empower green technology, thus facilitating the shift away from resource depletion towards full sustainability. The panel has therefore no reservation in handing UBS the Best Green Bank Switzerland 2014 Award.