Embracing the Potential: A deep dive into Sustainability-Linked Loans (SLLs) and Bonds (SLBs)

6-7 November 2023

Course Overview

Despite being relatively new to the market, sustainability-linked bonds (SLBs) already make up 7 percent of labelled bond issuance. Both SLB and sustainability-linked loans (SLLs) can help corporates, underwriting banks, and investors to align their efforts with net zero and other relevant sustainability goals. Nonetheless, the complexities of this new financial product, including their performance targets, documentation, and greenwashing risk, requires those wanting to tap into this market to effectively manage its particularities and heightened risks.

This course, delivered in partnership with WeESG, equips participants to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and sustainability performance targets necessary to design and/or invest in robust SSLs and SLBs. Participants will also gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic landscape of sustainability-linked products, key documentation aspects and implications of declassification. This course will leave participants with the skills needed to understand market expectations, identify principles guiding target setting and reporting, and anticipate potential future development likely to occur in this space.

Learning outcomes

Explore key characteristics of the structuring and documentation of SLLs and SLBs, including best practices.

Identify, benchmark and report on key performance indicators (KPIs) and performance targets used in SLLs and SLB's, as well as design a robust verification process.

Assess how sustainability-linked loans and bonds can be used by corporates and financial institutions in the 'net-zero' and sustainability transition, and the associated risks with greenwashing.

Course Outline

DAY ONE: 6 November (half day) 13.30 GMT – 17.00 GMT / 08.30 EST – 12.00 EST

Characteristics and Market of SLLs and SLBs

  • What are the standards and principles guiding these instruments?
  • What is the latest on SLL and SLB markets and pricing?
  • Exercise: How does being a 'sustainability-linked' instrument impact the pricing of a bond?

Selecting and Evaluating SLLs and SLBs

  • How to select KPIs that are relevant and strategic at a sector and company level?
  • How to define robust sustainability performance targets (SPTs)?
  • What is the latest on standardization of KPIs and SPTs?
  • Exercise: How to advise on KPI and SPT selection?

DAY TWO: 7 November (half-day) 13.30 GMT – 17.00 GMT / 08.30 EST – 12.00 EST

Reporting and Verification

  • What are the market expectations on reporting?
  • What are the different verifications that exist and how do they compare?
  • What are the rising concerns around greenwashing and declassification, and how to avoid them?
  • Discussion: How is the definition of greenwashing changing, and what are the implications to SLLs and SLBs?

Structuring and Issuing Process

  • How does the issuing of sustainability-linked bonds differ from that of green, social and sustainability bonds?
  • How are banks and clients engaging to set SLLs?
  • Who are the players defining the market going forward?
  • Discussion: How to effectively engage internal stakeholders on SLB/SLL?

Trainer: Stephanie Sfakianos

Stephanie is an experienced financial services professional with a comprehensive background in fixed income and money markets. With over thirty years of experience, she has a proven track record in developing new business lines, particularly in liability management and sustainable capital markets. Stephanie has worked with renowned organizations such as the Green Finance Institute, Impact Investing Institute, and the Grantham Research Institute, contributing to the development of a "Green+ Gilt" framework for the UK government. She has also worked with Finance in Motion, assisting in the launch of their first bond fund, and delivered highly regarded global green bond training on behalf of ICMA and IFC. Stephanie is a recognized expert in sustainable finance, having served as the chair of the British Standards Institution's committee of experts. She holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, with a focus on green bonds in emerging markets, particularly South Asia.