Communications Minister Moritz Leuenberger has called for a "reform of values" to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin.
Ethics must play a role in every profession, Leuenberger said at the National Calvin ceremony in Geneva on Sunday, organised by Swiss Protestant churches.
States cannot function if people do not have values by which to orientate themselves, Leuenberger added in his speech.
"We have forgotten how to respect nature and have suppressed solidarity with the poorest," said Leuenberger, who also holds the Swiss government's environment portfolio.
"We must reform our way of living to take nature into account, we must reform the market economy, we must reduce poverty around the world and orient ourselves toward new values."
The Calvin Jubilee is being marked by a series of exhibitions, conferences and other events in Geneva.
Calvin was a French Protestant theologian and a central developer of Calvinism, or Reformed theology. He sought exile in Geneva from 1536 to his death in 1564.
His ministry there attracted other Protestant refugees and over time made Geneva a major force in the spread of Reformed theology.
swissinfo.ch with agencies
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