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Opinion

Will the UK move on green gilts?

The sheer weight of investor demand for sovereign issuance means that the UK government could be warming up to the idea of a green gilt.

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This year has seen record sovereign green bond issuance. According to Dealogic, there have been 13 sovereign green, sustainable or social deals this year, with many of those first-time issuers.

Germany issued its inaugural €6.5 billion 10-year green bond in early September, for example, and is planning to launch another five-year deal in November, bringing its total issuance to €10.5 billion.

Luxembourg also became the first European government to issue a €1.5 billion sustainability bond that aligns with the EU taxonomy.

Sweden, Hungary, Ecuador, Egypt and Guatemala have also issued inaugural green bonds this year, taking the number of sovereigns to have issued both sustainability and green bonds to 19.

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Robert Stheeman, Debt Management Office

One name still conspicuously missing from the line-up, however, is the UK.

Robert Stheeman, head of the UK’s Debt Management Office, has been a staunch sceptic on green gilts for some time, and again dashed hopes of a deal at the beginning of this year, saying it could be a waste of taxpayer money were it to cost more than a standard Gilt.

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