Swiss Re Conference Highlights Business Opportunity and Obligation on Environment

October 12, 2001

The opening session of Swiss Re’s Conference on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions heard remarks from Maurice Strong, Sr. advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, that stressed the importance of environmental and sustainable development.

“The future belongs to those who know how to manage the present,” Strong stated. “Those entities who are not investing in the environment and sustainability will not be able to catch up later.”

Peter Forstmoser, Chairman of Swiss Re’s Board of Directors, told those attending the conference at the company’s Ruschlikon Centre for Global Dialogue that the financial services industry has both an opportunity and an obligation to contribute, whether through its own investments or its business expertise.

Marianne Wenning, deputy head of the Climate Change Unit of the European Commission, warned that extreme weather events such as storms, floods, droughts and “desertification” would occur more frequently in the coming years.

Frank Loy, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs, told delegates that it was entirely possible for the U.S. to adopt a serious domestic program of greenhouse gas reduction and carbon sequestration. He proposed three possible measures: Subsidies for technological incentives; voluntary actions, and some form of mandatory reduction program, such as a cap and trade system.

The conference is scheduled to conclude today.

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