Green bond fund of the year: RobecoSAM Global Green Bonds

The RobecoSAM Global Green Bonds fund secured the green bond fund of the year award after impressing market participants with its transparent and in-depth screening and investment process.

Launched in April 2020, the €42 million ($46 million) fund was praised by awards judges for its five-step screening process which goes beyond analysing the use-of-proceeds and impact reporting to closely scrutinise the lifecycle of the bond and how it aligns with the overall strategy of the issuer.

Michiel de Bruin – who manages the fund with Peter Kwaak – told Environmental Finance that 2021 was an "amazing year" for sustainable bonds, with issuance taking a "gigantic leap forward" in geographic and sector diversification.

"We are seeing green bonds being issued across corporates, financial institutions as well as sovereigns which has helped the green bond market to become an investable asset class in itself. The market over 10 years has grown from small niche to a large and liquid market."

He said that the number of new issuers joining the green bond market has been around 400 per year since 2019, double the level in 2017.

In 2022, de Bruin expects financial institution green bond issuance to increase amid pressure to enhance their sustainable financing. He also anticipates that the US dollar green bond market will grow in 2022 and beyond – in 2021, US dollar-denominated green bonds made up just a fifth of the total market compared to 50% in the overall bond market.

Nonetheless, de Bruin said it would be "interesting" to see how the market handles the inclusion of gas and nuclear power in the EU Taxonomy – especially as Europe looks to reduce dependency on Russian gas following its invasion of Ukraine.