Sustainability News

Discover the forefront of sustainability initiatives and breakthroughs in our Sustainability News section. Keep up to date with the latest efforts, studies, and technologies driving sustainable development and environmental stewardship across Switzerland and the globe.

EU-Commission Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence


On 23 February 2022 the EU Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. The directive is instrumental in driving companies to mitigate adverse impacts on human rights, such as child labor and exploitation of workers, and environmental degradation, including pollution and biodiversity loss. The initiative underscores the pivotal role of corporations in fostering a sustainable economy and society, compelling them to scrutinize and address the negative implications of their operations, subsidiaries, and value chains.

Key benefits delineated for various stakeholders include improved protection of human rights and the environment, heightened consumer trust and transparency, and enhanced access to justice for victims. For companies, the proposal promises a harmonized legal framework across the European Union (EU), facilitating legal certainty and a level playing field, while also improving risk management and access to finance. The mentioned rules aim to benefit developing countries by bolstering human rights protections, raising sustainability awareness, and fostering sustainable investments.

The obligations set forth for companies and their directors are extensive. Companies are required to conduct due diligence to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for negative human rights and environmental impacts within their operations. Moreover, large companies must devise a plan to align their business strategies with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, consistent with the Paris Agreement. Directors are mandated to implement and oversee these due diligence processes and incorporate them into corporate strategies, taking into consideration the long-term human rights, climate change, and environmental consequences of their decisions.

The directive will apply to two main groups: Group 1 encompasses large EU limited liability companies with over 500 employees and a turnover exceeding €150 million, and Group 2 includes companies with more than 250 employees and over €40 million in turnover operating in high-impact sectors such as textiles, agriculture, and mineral extraction. The implementation will stagger, with Group 2 companies being subject to the rules two years after Group 1. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are not directly targeted by the proposed rules but will receive support to manage indirect effects.

Enforcement mechanisms include administrative supervision by designated member state authorities and a European Network of Supervisory Authorities to ensure a coordinated approach. Moreover, civil liability provisions will ensure compensation for victims arising from non-compliance with the directive’s obligations.

Wind energy experts receive the Nobel Prize of engineering



Danish innovator Henrik Stiesdal and British engineering maestro Andrew Garrad have revolutionized the realm of wind energy, dedicating half a century to its advancement. Their groundbreaking work has now been crowned with the esteemed Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, often hailed as the ‘Nobel Prize of engineering’.

Celebrated as the vanguards of wind power, Stiesdal and Garrad’s pioneering efforts have positioned wind energy as an indispensable player in today’s global energy landscape. A recent report highlights a milestone achievement: in 2023, Europe sourced more energy from wind than fossil fuels for the first time in history. Garrad’s sophisticated computer models have optimized turbine and farm designs, while Stiesdal’s visionary leadership established the world’s first offshore wind farm.

Lord Browne of Madingley, chair of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, lauded their persistent advocacy and transformative impact, acknowledging the skeptics who once doubted the potential of wind energy. Thanks to these two trailblazers, wind power has embarked on an extraordinary journey, now capturing over 18% of Europe’s electricity generation, and nearly a third in the UK.

As we look to the future, the industry is poised for further breakthroughs. Innovations in floating turbines are set to explore deeper waters, and the focus shifts from size to efficiency, aiming to make wind power an even more cost-effective solution for our planet’s energy needs.

Understand the SDGs


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030. 

  1. No poverty (End poverty in all its forms everywhere)
  2. Zero hunger (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture)
  3. Good health and well-being (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages)
  4. Quality Education (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all)
  5. Gender equality (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls)
  6. Clean water and sanitation (Ensure access to water and sanitation for all)
  7. Affordable and clean energy (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy)
  8. Decent work and economic growth (Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all)
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation)
  10. Reduced inequalities (Reduce inequality within and among countries)
  11. Sustainable cities and economies (Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable)
  12. Responsible consumption and production (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns)
  13. Climate action (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts)
  14. Life below water (Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources)
  15. Life on land (Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss)
  16. Peace, justice and strong institutions (Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies)
  17. Partnership for the goals (Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development)
The Federal Council of Switzerland has endorsed a report advocating for carbon-neutral aviation by 2050, highlighting sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) as a crucial strategy for diminishing fossil CO2 emissions. This initiative, responding to a postulate from the House of Representatives’ Environment Committee, also acknowledges the importance of efficiency improvements in aircraft fleets and operations. However, the potential of hydrogen-fuelled and electric aircraft to significantly reduce emissions is deemed limited until 2050. To support the aviation industry’s transition to carbon neutrality, the federal government plans to implement new subsidies, complementing existing and future mechanisms outlined in the CO2 Act post-2024 for a 70% reduction in carbon emissions from Swiss air traffic. Nonetheless, achieving the net-zero target by 2050 will also necessitate carbon sequestration and storage technologies.
Australian engineers have developed a method to enhance concrete strength by nearly 30% using biochar made from spent coffee grounds. This innovative approach, involving a low-energy pyrolysis process, not only strengthens concrete but also offers environmental benefits by reducing the need for natural sand in construction. The technique, still in early stages, could significantly decrease organic waste in landfills while preserving natural resources. This advancement in recycling coffee waste into construction materials marks a significant step towards sustainable construction practices.
Agrivoltaics, the integration of solar panels with agriculture, offers a dual benefit of clean energy production and agricultural use, but its impact on crop yields has been uncertain. A comprehensive review of 54 global agrivoltaic operations by researchers from Bern University of Applied Sciences and Agroscope reveals varied results. While some crops like potatoes and sweet peppers thrive under solar panels, others like garlic and basil see yield reductions. The study, published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, highlights the complex interplay of factors influencing agrivoltaic efficiency, including light exposure, heat stress, and crop type adaptability. Promising results for maize in South Korea and Japan suggest potential for staple crops under optimized conditions, though more research is needed for berries and fruits. Innovative solutions like Insolight’s clear solar panels, which adjust sunlight for plant needs, show promise for enhancing agrivoltaic system productivity.