02/11/2019 - 09:15

Nordic issuers update their green bonds impact reporting guide

The Position Paper on Green Bonds Impact Reporting, originally launched in October 2017 by a group of ten Nordic public sector issuers, has been published in an updated version.

– We continue to work together, with the aim of harmonising and advancing impact reporting practices across the Nordic region. The updated version includes a number of improvements and clarifications over the previous version, as well as recommendations regarding the reporting of climate-related physical risk and the Sustainable Development Goals, says Björn Bergstrand, who leads the Nordic cooperation and is Head of Sustainability at Sweden’s Kommuninvest.

Developed with the primary aim of assisting Nordic public sector borrowers, the signatories hope that it will prove useful also for issuers from the private sector and from other countries as well as for the investor community.

– What characterises Nordic public sector issuers of green bonds is that we finance projects across a range of categories and sizes, and that we have a limited number of people available to work with environmental reporting. These guidelines make our reporting efforts easier, while at the same time hopefully making the different reports more harmonised and comparable to the reader, says Torunn Brånå, Head of Green Finance at Norway’s Kommunalbanken and chairperson of the cooperation’s technical/environmental working group.

The paper has been developed by a group comprising public sector green bond issuers from the four Nordic countries: Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. They include the local government funding agencies Kommunalbanken (Norway), Kommuninvest (Sweden) and MuniFin (Finland); the Swedish Export Credit Corporation (SEK); and seven Swedish municipal or regional issuers including City of Gothenburg, the municipalities of Lund, Norrköping, Västerås and Örebro, Region Skåne and Region Stockholm.

With initiatives such as the EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan making headlines recently, the Nordic issuers expect even stronger interest in green bonds impact reporting. The group aims to contribute to develop the methodology in this field.

– Through this harmonisation initiative, we ensure transparency and consistency in reporting from the Nordic public sector green bond market. Developing sound and harmonised methodology for climate finance reporting is of importance to all stakeholders in the market, says Antti Kontio, Head of Funding and Corporate Responsibility at MuniFin and the Finnish spokesperson for the cooperation.

About the Nordic Public Sector Issuers: Position Paper on Green Bonds Impact Reporting

The paper proposes an outline for reporting environmental benefits of green bond investments.  It provides guidance on general matters such as to distinguish between reduced and avoided emissions and to report impact in relation to disbursed green bond allocations.

The paper also provides suggestions for metrics and indicators relevant to eight different project categories. This effort builds upon reporting approaches suggested by the Green Bond Principles and multilateral development banks.

The paper has benefited from input from CICERO Center for International Climate Research, the Nordic Investment Bank, SEB, and Crédit Agricole CIB as well as several investors throughout the process.

Comment from Harald Francke Lund, Chief Executive Officer, CICERO Shades of Green:

– Through this update, the Nordic Position Paper continues to set the benchmark for high-quality reporting in the green bond market. In particular, we appreciate that issuers are encouraged to report on physical climate risks. We see a growing demand for this type of information from investors, as they increasingly observe the consequences of a changing climate.

Comment from Fransesca Suarez, ESG Analyst, Mirova:

– Transparency and harmonization of data is vital to create a robust and reliable green bond market and to further promote sustainable finance. This initiative by the Nordic issuers will help investors and issuers better understand how we’re moving towards a 1.5°–2° world.

Comment from Christopher Flensborg, Head of Climate & Sustainable Finance, SEB:

– It is initiatives like this which will allow finance to proactively contribute to building sustainable societies. This updated Position Paper provides further guidance on crucial aspects of impact reporting and thereby facilitates harmonization, efficiency and sustainable growth of the green financing market.

Comment from Tanquy Claquin, Head of Sustainable Banking, Crédit Agricole CIB:

– Transparency, reliability and consistency of data are critical to further expand the green bond market and sustainable finance in general. In this respect, this Nordic public sector issuers’ initiative is tremendously helpful. It will serve issuers, well outside of the group signatories, and contribute to better practices and exemplarity in the market in general.

Further information

MuniFin:
Antti Kontio, Head of Funding and Corporate Responsibility, + 358 9 6803 5634, antti.kontio(at)munifin.fi

Kommuninvest (Secretariat for Position Paper and main contact for questions & comments):
Björn Bergstrand, Head of Sustainability and Senior Investor Relations Manager, +46 708 86 94 76, bjorn.bergstrand(at)kommuninvest.se

Kommunalbanken:
Torunn Brånå, Head of Green Finance, +47 911 58 528, tob(at)kbn.org