Switzerland Pioneers Cleantech

What does that mean for events taking place in the eco-friendly nation?

By Rémi Dévé

An eco-friendly country where care for the environment has become part of everyday life, Switzerland has long been playing a leading role in environmentally sound technologies. The federal republic was among the first industrialized nations — with water power technologies being developed in various parts of the country — to help set up industrial hubs. Today, Switzerland’s cleantech cluster is very robust, boasting a strong record in a variety of fields from recycling and waste management to transport and landscape planning. And the nation has long been committed to sustainable policies governing the use of natural resources.

Cleantech, also referred to as clean technology, pertains to renewable energies, energy efficiency, energy storage and mobility, and it refers to technologies which aim to protect and maintain natural resources and the environment. Clean technologies particularly deal with the development of environmentally sound products, the decrease in material usage and waste, and the reduction of energy consumption.

Switzerland can really be considered a cleantech pioneer. Some examples speak for themselves: The Valais alone accounts for about 30 percent of Switzerland’s hydroelectric power production; Swiss universities and institutions are at the forefront of the research in and the battle against climate change, depletion of natural resources, and environmental pollution; and Zürich, Bern, and Geneva all rank among the world’s top-ten cities for quality of life — with environmental criteria a major factor.

The good news is that you can include this cleantech expertise into your meetings, should you choose Switzerland as the next host for your event. In addition to the knowledge economy opportunities, various environmentally friendly transport facilities make interesting site visits and event venues — from city trams to cable cars and funiculars in the mountains and solar-powered boats on Lake Geneva. A number of hydroelectric power facilities welcome organised groups, like the awe-inspiring Grimselwelt complex in the heart of the Alps. Guided visits of renewable power stations, drinking water purification plants, and waste processing and recycling facilities are also possible through Energie Zukunft Schweiz.

With one of the most advanced and innovative environmental legislation, Switzerland provides a permanent incentive for corporations to be innovative in the cleantech sector — many of the companies most renowned for environmentally sound technologies are based in Switzerland. There is even a Swiss Cleantech Masterplan, currently being implemented, that was set up by the federal government in 2010 and features a vision and a series of objectives designed to strengthen the innovation capacities of cleantech companies and research institutions in Switzerland.

This article was contributed by Boardroom. It has been excerpted and modified for Convene.

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