Bond Awards 2020

Initiative of the year - Green Bond - Green Bond Principles Handbook

Since the publication of the Green Bond Principles (GBPs) in 2014, market participants have sought further information on how to interpret this guidance.

In order to help, the GBPs' executive committee, with the support of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) as secretariat, published in June 2019 an updated compendium of questions and answers on the GBPs as a Guidance Handbook.

It is organised thematically with a table of contents covering five sections:

  •  Fundamentals,
  • Governance & Membership,
  • Core Components of the GBP and Sustainability Bonds Principles (SBP),
  • Market and Technical Issues, and
  • Other Market and Official Sector Initiatives.

According to one awards judge: "Impact measurement is an important component of green, social and sustainability bonds – the handbook helps to collect market participant developed best practice in one, easily-accessible place."

Denise Odaro, head of investor relations at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), delves into her own personal history in putting the handbook together: "In 2018 when I served an assignment at the secretariat of the GBP at ICMA, I worked on the first draft of the handbook, proposing the collation of existing and new questions and answers in one document with a structure to it akin to a guidebook. This way, potential issuers and interested market participants find the information sought in a more user friendly and accessible format."

Marilyn Ceci, head of green bonds at JP Morgan and a member of the GBPs executive committee, concludes: "It's important to remember that the Green Bond Principles are principles, they are not meant to address every nuance – hence the concept of the Q&A.

"The aggregation of all that Q&A into a single handbook is a fantastic event that will provide further guidance and help address some questions that stakeholders may have."