“The future lies in the interplay of technologies”

Christian Zeyer is convinced: the game changer won’t be any one major innovation in cleantech, but rather the sophisticated interplay of clean technologies.

You’ve helped shape swisscleantech since its founding in 2009. How has the business association developed over time?

The period when swisscleantech was founded coincided with the Copenhagen climate summit and the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It was a turbulent time. So many things were in upheaval. Things are more settled now, which means we can concentrate on a single vision: laying the foundations for Switzerland to implement the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

How is swisscleantech working to achieve this?

We’re working at the national level to create the best possible conditions for companies to increase their use of cleantech. When people think of cleantech, they tend to think of the most obvious examples, such as solar panels. Our understanding of the term is much more comprehensive: cleantech isn’t just about developing sustainable, clean technology, it’s also about putting it to use. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a baker or a banker – everyone can do their bit.

Christian Zeyer obtained his doctorate from ETH Zurich with a focus on photovoltaics. Today, as the director of swisscleantech, he is supporting environmentally responsible Swiss companies and is giving them a political voice.

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Christian Zeyer, swisscleantech

Christian Zeyer, swisscleantech © Thomas Hotel

Which technological innovations – perhaps even from Zurich – do you expect the most from?

I’m convinced that the future doesn’t lie in any one innovation, but in improving the interplay between existing technologies and complementing them with new ones. Having more – and better – data is essential, and sensors will play an important part in this. If we connect the data we acquire in a sophisticated manner, we can perform the same service with fewer resources.

Speaking of connectivity, what do you think of platforms like Impact Hub Zurich that support start-ups in various fields?

The exciting thing about the Hub concept is that many of the young businesses working there are thinking beyond the tech aspects. Impact Hub is a member of swisscleantech, we share their conviction that while technology itself is important, it's just as important to properly embed technology. Whenever it is, we find that less suddenly becomes more.

You put all your own energy into working on energy efficiency and the energy revolution. Where do you go in Zurich to take a break and recharge your batteries?

Our offices are very centrally located and yet you can go to the Limmat, the Schanzengraben or the Sihl in five minutes. There are trees, plants, a little greenery – all of which is important for recharging your batteries. That is what makes it so wonderful about Zurich – it’s the perfect blend of global city and village.