The parliament of Luxembourg unanimously approved the world’s first green covered bond law yesterday (Tuesday), “a first point of reference” for the developing market.
KBC is preparing to issue an inaugural green bond, in senior unsecured format, with the Belgian group today announcing a roadshow to introduce a new framework under which it can issue both secured and unsecured bonds, building on momentum generated by Belgium’s first green government bond in February.
2018 is proving a banner year for green bonds in Hong Kong, with the launch of certification and subsidy initiatives, and a planned green bond programme by the government. Ahead of co-hosting with ICMA the 2018 G&SBP AGM and conference, Enoch Fung, Head of the Market Development Division of the HKMA, spoke to Sustainabonds about Hong Kong’s green bond hopes.
A coalition of 26 banks from around the world are developing Principles for Responsible Banking, which will seek to align the banking sector with the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are expected to be launched for public consultation in November.
The European Commission unveiled its first legislative proposals aimed at gearing the EU financial system to tackle climate change yesterday (Thursday), including steps to establish a “groundbreaking” green taxonomy that could form the basis for an EU green bond label.
Banks assessing climate risks and opportunities in line with TCFD recommendations must look long term, make use of comprehensive scenario analyses, and adapt data collection, according to findings of a UN-convened pilot, which revealed positive impacts such as improved customer engagement.
Landshypotek Bank issued the first green covered bond from Sweden on Wednesday, a SEK5.25bn (EUR510m) five year issue that is the largest Swedish krona green bond to date and which achieved pricing at a sizeable “greenium”, exceeding the issuer’s expectations.
The European energy efficient mortgages initiative – comprising EeMAP and EeDaPP – aims to bring together lenders, builders, utilities and others to create a standardised product to benefit 500 million EU citizens and the planet. Luca Bertalot, secretary general of the EMF-ECBC, which is leading the project, spoke to Sustainabonds ahead of the launch of a pilot phase in June.
An SRI portfolio manager warned issuers who are slow to take up green bonds that their credentials may be questioned, at CBI18 last Tuesday, although investors said they acknowledge there is no such thing as the perfect green bond, and one said he would commit to buy non-green issuance from other parts of green bond issuers’ capital structure.
A member of the sustainable finance HLEG has warned that a European Commission proposal to include green commitments in bond prospectuses and make them legally binding risks raising costs and deterring issuance unless other requirements are eased or incentives provided.