The Legal 500 Green Guide: EMEA 2023

GREEN GUIDE EMEA 2023: Switzerland

Bär & Karrer

Swiss business law firm Bär & Karrer advises clients on various ESG-related issues with a focus on green and sustainable finance.

Recently, Luca Jagmetti led the team in advising Kooky, a Swiss start-up focusing on replacing single-use with reusable products. The company developed an innovative intelligent reusable cup system with its own digital return infrastructure. In another recent highlight, led by Mariel Hoch, the team advised H2 Energy Europe and Phillips 66 on a 50-50 joint venture to set up and operate a network of hydrogen refuelling retail sites in Germany, Austria, and Denmark. The new company plans to develop approximately 250 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2026.

The team regularly contributes to thought leadership: ESG expert Vera Naegeli and key contact Marie-Cristine Kaptan recently co-wrote an article discussing new Swiss ESG due diligence and disclosure requirements. Kaptan also recently discussed liability for climate change risks at the 2022 Conference on Sustainability in Commercial and Financial Law.

Internally, the firm’s sustainability initiatives include avoiding business trips, promoting paperless work, financially motivating employees to use public transport, and providing electric charging stations. The firm is also committed to a sustainable recycling system, which includes recycling PET, batteries, and daily coffee grounds, part of which is converted into biogas and sent to households to generate heat and electricity, and part of which is sent to farmers in the region as organic fertiliser.

In summer 2019 the firm finished its project of creating a sustainable eco-system on a 2500m2 rooftop area in its Zurich office. The habitat is home to seven bee colonies, chickens, and spur-thighed tortoises.

Id est avocats sàrl

Swiss law firm id est avocats Sàrl stands out for its longstanding work advising cleantech companies. In 2022, the firm received a B-Corp certification as well as a ranking by Ecovadis in the platinum category. It is also recognised as a carbon neutral company by the myclimate foundation.

Ongoing work includes advising a Swiss company which offers an efficient process targeted at reducing emissions from all fuels, minimising both air and sea pollution from the maritime industry. Other clients include a foundation aiming to empower science and incentivise solutions to the climate crisis; a platform which solves geospatial problems in order to support a transition to a decarbonised economy; a company that leverages natural fibre to make a number of industries greener; and a company which extends the lifetime of products by recycling composites.

The firm’s founding parter and key contact Michel Jaccard has been appointed faculty lecturer in the Sustainable Management and Technology programme managed by the Entreprise for Society Center (E4S) of the University of Lausanne, IMD and EPFL. Jaccard is also an active member of the Impact Term Sheet, an initiative by the Dutch Foundation Legal Innovation for Sustainable Investments.

Kellerhals Carrard

Full-service firm Kellerhals Carrard in Switzerland recently launched a dedicated interdisciplinary sustainability and ESG desk to support clients with their ESG legal matters. The practice is co-led by Isabelle Romy, who focuses on environmental matters, corporate expert Henry Peter, and senior partner and recognised expert in corporate governance Jean-Luc Chenaux.

The firm supports numerous private and listed companies with their sustainability strategies and in integrating sustainability-related considerations into their operations. It also acts for several start-ups active in the cleantech industry on a range of legal and tax matters; clients in this space include Nispera, which provides renewable energy data solutions; Mpower, which works with solar power in emerging markets; and Carbon Removal Partners, specialists in carbon removal investments; among many others. The firm has also been advising the City of Lausanne on complex legal issues in connection with investigations to evaluate the origin, extent, level and risks of urban pollution.

Notably, the firm actively participates in legislative processes connected to a green transition, such as providing the Swiss cantons with an opinion on the Federal Council’s proposal to accelerate procedures for the expansion of renewable energies.

In a pro bono matter, the firm has partnered and is providing legal counsel to Sustainable Switzerland, a topic-specific dialog platform operated by Swiss newspaper NZZ which aims to support sustainable development in the country.

Further demonstrating its knowledge surrounding ESG and sustainability, the team regularly contributes to thought leadership via publications, seminars and conferences on topics ranging from ESG litigation to ESG financial instruments and sustainability in real estate and construction.

Another key contact is Bern-based expert in constitutional and administrative law, Christoph Jäger, who has been lecturing in environmental law at ETH Zurich since 2010, among other teaching assignments.


Swiss dispute resolution firm, LALIVE has developed deep expertise in the energy sector and frequently represents leading renewable companies in high-value arbitrations. Recent clients also include NGOs, foundations and other environmentally focused companies.

Jean Paul Vulliéty in Geneva is representing a global wind turbine manufacturing company and long-term client in an ICC arbitration regarding the operation and maintenance of a wind farm in East Africa. In another significant matter, Veijo Heiskanen is advising in the ICSID $700m arbitration brought under the Energy Charter Treaty between an Austrian engineering company and the Federal Republic of Germany over changes to renewable energy regulation relating to offshore wind farm developments in the North Sea.  Other key contacts include Bernd Ehle, who is experienced as both counsel and arbitrator in renewable energy disputes.

The firm’s commitment to sustainable development is demonstrable as it is one of two Swiss firms to have signed onto the UN Global Compact, aligning itself with the universal principles of human rights and environmental protection. Through contributions to ‘myclimate’ the firm also offsets 100% of its calculated carbon emissions and sponsors numerous climate protection projects.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

Switzerland based Niederer Kraft Frey AG advises clients on a range of sustainable finance matters, including green loans and bonds. The firm is also active in the ESG space more broadly, assisting clients with ESG risk management and the formulation of ESG policies.

The team recently advised Partners Group on its CHF 600m investment in Climeworks. Founded in 2009, Climeworks provides carbon dioxide removal services to business and individuals, having so far built fifteen Direct Air Capture (DAC) plants, including one of the world’s largest DAC and storage plants, which operates in Iceland.

In another recent matter, the firm acted for BMW i Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in purpose-driven entrepreneurs across hardware, software, and sustainability, in connection with its investment in Bcomp, a company offering solutions for a cleaner future by leveraging the use of natural fibres across a range of industries, such as automotive and motorsports.

Other recent highlights include advising BRUSA HyPower, a leading Swiss supplier of battery and fuel cells for electric mobility focusing on heavy-duty vehicles, on a major investment transaction, and acting as Swiss counsel to L Catterton on its investment in Planted Foods, a company which uses the combination of protein structuring and fermentation to produce meat from alternative protein such as peas, oats and sunflowers.

The team regularly demonstrates its ESG expertise by publishing newsletters on the topic, such as a recent piece on Switzerland’s new ESG reporting regime written by key contacts Deirdre Ní Annracháin, Juerg Bloch, and Adrian Koller.

Internally, the firm avoids single use plastic, recycles waste, purchases electricity from renewable sources, and has a LEED certified building.

Wenger Vieli Ltd

Multi-service Swiss law firm Wenger Vieli stands out for advising start-ups as well as larger ventures and individual clients focusing on sustainability and the green sector.

In an ongoing highlight, key contact Marc Walter is advising Stiftung Umwelt Arena Schweiz, a competence center for environmental and energy issues, environmental education, and sustainable mobility in Switzerland, on several legal matters. The firm also serves as legal counsel to Codos, a cryptocurrency platform which motivates people to shift their commuting patterns away from regular combustion engine cars towards environmentally friendly ways of commuting.

Walter, Martin Peyer and others also advised Swiss bank Basellandschaftliche Kantonalbank and its subsidiary radicant, an innovative green and fully digital bank with a specific focus on sustainable financial solutions, on a range of legal matters. In another highlight, the firm recently acted as Swiss counsel to FuGen, a Swiss independent power producer, in connection with its investment of more than €320m in onshore wind, solar, battery storage and green hydrogen projects across the Nordic countries and the UK.

Christian Wenger recently succeeded in bringing NOAH, a globally renowned conference on sustainable tech start-ups, to Switzerland.

The firm’s sustainability and ESG project committee, led by Walter and Claudia Keller, initiates and oversees the firm’s internal sustainability projects.