The Federal Republic of Germany took the green bond market to a new level on 2 September with the launch of its first green Bund. Ahead of Germany’s first green bond auction on 4 November, Deutsche Finanzagentur co-CEO Dr Tammo Diemer discussed with Sustainabonds’ Neil Day its twin bond concept, how the pandemic has affected its activity, and the arrival of the EU in the sustainable bond market.
Green and social bond markets have withstood and even grown on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rooted in their businesses and CSR strategies, an increasingly diverse range of corporates are approaching the market — at times branching out into new instruments. In this Sustainabonds roundtable sponsored by ABN AMRO, corporate finance and responsible investment professionals share their insights and opinions around the latest developments.
In response to the pandemic, Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has doubled its Social Inclusion Bond outstandings and added the health segment to its framework, while fast-tracking Covid-19-related support. Arturo Seco Presencio, deputy CFO, head of funding, treasury and ALM, CEB, discussed its rapid reaction and social bond trends with Sustainabonds’ Neil Day.
North Rhine-Westphalia is the only German state to have issued sustainable bonds and is planning a seventh later this year. Axel Bendiek, head of treasury and investor relations, and Kirsten Häger, head of sustainable finance, at the ministry of finance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), told Sustainabonds’ Neil Day how transformation towards a more sustainable economy underpins its strategy.
The European Stability Mechanism is ready to issue social bonds for the first time should any euro area member state apply for Pandemic Crisis Support under a €540bn EU safety net. ESM head of funding and investor relations Siegfried Ruhl spoke to Sustainabonds’ Neil Day about how the instrument befits its latest role and builds on its broader ESG efforts.
As a conduit for Covid-19 economic mitigation measures, KfW is at the heart of Germany’s fight against the impact of the coronavirus. New treasurer Tim Armbruster and head of IR Jürgen Köstner spoke to Sustainabonds’ Neil Day about the practical and market challenges it faces in its latest role, and its overall sustainability ambitions.
The broader sustainability strategies of green and social bond issuers and the impact of their issuance across a range of metrics are increasingly being focused on. Meanwhile, new varieties of sustainable bonds could yield benefits, but complicate the picture. Sustainabonds gathered leading public sector issuers and ESG-focused investors for a roundtable, hosted by SFIL, to discuss key developments.
November saw the inauguration of the SFIL green bond framework, with a covered bond from Caffil, as well as one of the sustainable projects it is helping finance. The group’s Philippe Mills and Sami Gotrane explain how green and social bond issuance reflect its public policy goals.
Overall ESG strategies are as important to investors as the specifics of green bonds, as they seek to avoid green-washing and encourage brown issuers to make the transition to sustainability.
Asset growth, EU sustainable finance initiatives and pricing benefits could all help green bond supply rise to meet the growing demands of investors, according to speakers at an LBBW conference on 1 March, where a broadening of issuance, particularly into social bonds, was called for.