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Swiss entities aim to be green pioneers

Published on October 19, 2021

Some government departments and 13 other Swiss entities have signed a pact to increase energy efficiency, expand renewable energies and make their investments “climate compatible”.

The initiative contributes to implementing Switzerland’s Energy Strategy 2050 and achieving a net zero climate target by 2050, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) said on Tuesday. Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga and Defence Minister Viola Amherd joined the other participants at Thun military training ground to sign a memorandum of understanding that commits them to ambitious climate goals.

This is the second phase of the “Exemplary Energy and Climate Initiative”, whose first phase ran from 2013 to 2020. The ten original participants include the civil federal administration, the defence ministry, Swiss Post, Swiss Railways, Swisscom and Geneva Airport.

For the second phase (2021 to 2030), they have been joined by five new participants: PostFinance, PostBus, Zurich Airport, defence firm RUAG and the Swiss broadcaster SRG, of which swissinfo.ch is part. The combined energy consumption of all participants accounts for more than 2.5% of Switzerland’s total energy consumption, according to the SFOE.

“The participants have set ambitious individual targets for energy efficiency, green electricity production, the share of heating from renewables by 2026 and the share of cooling and fuels from renewables by 2030,” says the press release, adding that they all aim to obtain 100% of their electricity from renewables by 2026 at the latest.

The SFOE describes results from the first phase of the initiative as “extremely positive”. “From 2013 to 2020, the ten participants increased their energy efficiency by 31.1% compared with the 2006 baseline,” it says.

A new feature of the second phase is “climate-compatible financing”, says the SFOE, “because today’s investment decisions will in part determine future levels of greenhouse gas emissions”. 

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