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Capital Markets

Green bond impact reporting: investor needs and principles

Issuer awareness of what investors want is key to the development of impact reporting.

How investors made an impact

Manuel Lewin, head of sustainable investments at Zurich Insurance, a key player in the green bond market, says the barrier to better reporting is often issuer nervousness.

“The biggest challenge [to developing a global impact reporting framework for green bonds] is issuers’ reluctance to provide impact reporting that is not 100% refined,” he says.

“Existing impact reporting covers a wide range in terms of comprehensiveness and quality. We are satisfied with most existing impact reporting as a starting point. In the absence of standards and the complexity inherent in impact reporting, we are looking for issuer willing to start somewhere and improve over time. We must be careful not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

While he praises the harmonized framework in place, Lewin says there is more to be done.

“Ideally, there would be a small set of key performance indicators for the main project categories that issuers could agree on, as well as a standard for transparency around calculation methods and assumptions. This could be complemented by more bespoke indicators and/or case studies reflecting issuer-specific priorities,” he says. 

Euromoney asked several issuers: In your discussions with investors, what are the key issues and concerns they raise about impact reporting of green bonds?

Heike Reichelt, head of investor relations, World Bank Investors want a better understanding of what the social and environmental impacts are – that’s the purpose of their investment.

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