The award was approved by the Advisory Council and was presented by Chancellor Dr Claude Martinat during the 2019 graduation ceremony. Previous honorary doctorates have been awarded to figures such as Dr Bertrand Piccard, Adolf Ogi, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Micheline Calmy-Rey, and Paul Paulman (the former CEO of Unilever).
Reto Ringger founded SAM Sustainable Asset Management in 1995. SAM was the first asset manager in the world to focus exclusively on sustainable investments. In 1999 SAM launched the Dow Jones Sustainability Index in cooperation with Dow Jones, and it consequently created the first global benchmark for sustainable investments. In 2000 SAM launched the first sustainable water fund, and it then set up the world's first cleantech private equity platform in 2001.
Following the sale of SAM to the Dutch Robeco Group, in 2011 Reto Ringger founded Globalance Bank, which in 2019 was named the best Swiss bank in the private banking sector by the leading economic magazine, Bilanz.
Reto Ringger, founder and CEO of Globalance Bank: "This honour is also a recognition of our commitment to innovative and forward-looking financial markets. We started out 25 years ago, but we're still only at the beginning of a realignment of the financial markets. However, radical change is coming, and more and more investors are looking for investments which are meaningful as well as being profitable".