Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences
Overview and position on the Climate Protection Act

Dossiers - Glacier initiative

Overview and position on the Climate Protection Act

scienceindustries welcomes the indirect counterproposal to the Glacier Initiative. The challenges of climate change are global. This is why internationally coordinated approaches are needed that enable technologies and innovations on the one hand and offer scope for business solutions on the other.


The popular initiative "For a healthy climate (Glacier Initiative)", submitted by the Swiss Association for Climate Protection on 27 November 2019, calls for Switzerland to be completely carbon neutral by 2050 and to no longer emit more greenhouse gases than what can be permanently stored in safe greenhouse gas reservoirs. From this point onwards, fossil fuels and combustibles should also no longer be allowed to be sold in Switzerland. As the initiative is too far-reaching in its implementation, scienceindustries welcomes the indirect counterproposal by Parliament.

The Federal Act on Climate Protection Goals, Innovation and Strengthening Energy Security (KIG) pursues the same objective as the initiative: net zero by 2050. Thus the indirect counterproposal makes an important contribution to the fight against climate change while being more efficient and balanced than the original initiative.

No disproportionate ban on fossil fuels
Unlike the initiative, Parliament refrains from introducing a fundamental ban on fossil fuels. scienceindustries welcomes this. From our point of view, we need flexible and innovative solutions rather than bans on technology. Industry itself should be able to define and implement the most effective and efficient measures to reduce the greenhouse gases emitted by its processes.

Flexibility to achieve net zero
The indirect counterproposal also gives Switzerland the necessary flexibility to embed solutions in an international context. It makes provision for offsetting abroad and negative emissions and recognises that residual emissions are unavoidable for industry. Reductions abroad create the flexibility that is needed until new technologies become available. Negative emissions abroad can then offset the remaining emissions up to 2050. Another positive aspect is that no linear reduction path has been planned for industry. This takes account of the importance of technological progress and innovation.

Switzerland already on track
Switzerland's performance is above average when it comes to climate protection. According to the assessment of international energy policy of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Switzerland has the lowest emission intensity and the second-lowest energy intensity of the 30 member states of the IEA (International Energy Agency). Thanks to the target agreement system, the companies in the Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences industries have already saved around 80,000 tonnes of CO2 and energy costs of around CHF 40 million.

Proactive commitment to effective climate protection
The members of scienceindustries support the net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 proclaimed by the Federal government as a fundamental target and are in favour of proactive and effective climate protection. They are already making a significant contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by optimising processes for their own plants and supply chains. At the same time, many of our members offer concrete solutions in the fight against climate change, as our position paper "Proactive and Effective Climate Protection" shows.

It is also the declared aim of our industries to continuously improve and achieve excellence in the protection of the environment and health as well as safety. As part of the "Responsible Care" programme, members of scienceindustries can voluntarily undertake to ensure the safe handling of their products along the entire value chain – from production to transport and processing the end product. Our industries thus contribute to finding solutions for societal challenges as well as to the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability.

Secure, sustainable and affordable electricity supply
To ensure that Switzerland’s electricity supply remains secure in the future, politicians need to think more comprehensively about the energy future and enable a technologically broad-based, affordable and innovative supply. Firstly, it is a question of defining a critical threshold for electricity imports in winter – if this threshold is exceeded permanently, the capacity for electricity production must be expanded as a matter of priority, at an early stage and without red tape. Secondly, security of supply should be prioritised, followed by climate protection, nature conservation and heritage conservation interests. Technology neutrality in electricity production is the third cornerstone. Finally, provision should be made for the cost-neutral financing of capacity expansion for end customers, and good framework conditions with incentives for greater electricity efficiency in the economy should be introduced.


Rejection of the Glacier Initiative: The Glacier Initiative raises the net-zero target for 2050 to the constitutional level and specifically provides for an absolute ban on fuels and combustibles. scienceindustries rejects the Glacier Initiative in its original form.


Direct counterproposal: The parliamentary debate on the Glacier Initiative has been concluded. The Federal Council countered the initiators’ proposal with a direct counterproposal, which was supported by scienceindustries. However, Parliament rejected the direct counterproposal in favour of an indirect counterproposal.


Indirect counterproposal: The indirect counterproposal was discussed and adopted by Parliament as the "Federal Act on Climate Protection Goals, Innovation and Strengthening Energy Security (KIG)".  The Swiss people will vote on the bill on 18 June 2023.


Conditional withdrawal and referendum: The Initiative Committee has announced the (conditional) withdrawal of the initiative. At the same time, a referendum was called against the indirect counterproposal.


Newsletter subscription

scienceindustries News


Foreign trade statistics chemistry pharma life science

Further analyzes

Export Chemicals Pharma Life Sciences Switzerland by region

Further analyzes