Initiative of the year - sustainability bond: UN Blue Bond initiative

Joop HesselsLooking to accelerate blue bond issuance in the financial markets, the UN Global Compact launched the blue bond initiative in order to improve ocean health.

Though rather than launching a whole new set of standards and principles for this distinct set of sustainability bonds, the initiative aims to build on the transparency of the green bond market as described in the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Green, Social and Sustainability Linked Bond Principles.

"The UN Blue Bond initiative is a unique and important development to encourage bond issuers to include investments in ocean-related solutions which support one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," said Joop Hessels, executive director, head of green social & sustainability bonds at ABN AMRO.

"The strong addition of the UN Blue Bond label is that issuers can certify against the UN Blue bond criteria which checks alignment of the issuer's business model and strategy with the UN Global Compact and Sustainable Ocean Principles. For investors, this is a great way to ensure that their investments support the SDG's and UN  Ocean Stewardship 2030."

ABN AMRO was part of the working group together with investors, sector specialists and a small group of banks active in the sector and green bond market. That working group also included DNB ASA PIMCO, Credit Suisse Group, The Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK), Citigroup, EuroNext, UN Global Compact, Inter-American Development Bank and Spring Group.

"The ocean is resourceful and we need to treat it with respect. There isn't enough bonds that allocate proceeds to preserve the biodiversity. I think the sustainable management of what the ocean has to offer is a good start," added one of the Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges.