The Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services (CCIG) was founded by Ernest Pictet in 1865: this makes it the third oldest Chamber in Switzerland.
In 1865 the confrontation between rival political factions in Geneva reached such a degree of intensity that the Confederation sent in troops to calm things down. It was at that time, following the initiative of Ernest Pictet, that a group of farsighted and determined men considered it was time to safeguard and promote the trade and industry of Geneva. After a few preparatory meetings, the founding assembly of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce took place on 23rd June 1865. In his introductory address, Ernest Pictet stated that one of its main tasks would be “to enlighten the Cantonal and Federal governments with its information and to formulate requests and suggestions (…) it will also have to disseminate our principles of free enterprise throughout Switzerland.”
Although representative at the outset of the entire business and commercial community, the Chamber of Commerce was at first an association of individuals and not of companies. At the time of its creation, watchmaking and jewellery were obviously well represented, then came the building, foundry, tobacco and tanning trades. It was only from the end of the 19th century that other industries, notably chemicals and pharmaceuticals, came into the picture. Today, high precision boilermaking has replaced foundry, international transport has replaced tanning and information technology is well represented. However the CCIG Council still includes the eleven key sectors of our economy.
As the economy has changed, so has the name of the institution with the addition of the terms “industry” in 1961 and “services” in 2006.
Even though the principle of freedom of enterprise is now well established throughout the country, the fundamental mission and operating principles of the Chamber remain the same: independence from the State, defence of private enterprise on the basis of freedom of commerce and industry, free international trade, federalism and healthy public finances. All these values still find their place in the positions taken by the CCIG.
Today, the Chamber has 2500 members, from all sectors of enterprise, counting for over 133,000 jobs. In other words, it has become one of the most important business associations in the Canton.
The CCIG focuses its activity on the four mainstays of Geneva’s appeal to companies, the so-called framework conditions: town planning, energy, fiscal policy and transportation.