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The rapid growth of the green bond market has sparked interest from many audiences. This guide provides essential aspects of this financial instrument in a concise question and answer format. The guide is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese, and Spanish.


About World Bank Green Bonds

Climate change affects all of us. But it is expected to hit developing countries the hardest. Its potential effects on temperatures, precipitation patterns, sea levels, and frequency of weather-related disasters pose risks for agriculture, food, and water supplies. At stake are recent gains in the fight against poverty, hunger and disease, and the lives and livelihoods of people in developing countries.

Tackling this immense challenge must involve both mitigation—to avoid the unmanageable—and adaptation—to manage the unavoidable—all while maintaining a focus on its social dimensions.

Addressing climate change requires unprecedented global cooperation across borders. The World Bank Group is helping support developing countries and contributing to a global solution, while tailoring our approach to the differing needs of developing country partners. We are strengthening and building climate change partnerships with our member governments and a wide array of organizations.

In 2008, the World Bank launched the "Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change" to help stimulate and coordinate public and private sector activity to combat climate change. The World Bank Green Bonds is an example of the kind of innovation the World Bank is trying to encourage within this framework.

The World Bank Green Bond raises funds from fixed income investors to support World Bank lending for eligible projects that seek to mitigate climate change or help affected people adapt to it. The product was designed in partnership with Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) to respond to specific investor demand for a triple-A rated fixed income product that supports projects that address the climate challenge. Since 2008, the World Bank has now issued over USD 10.2 billion equivalent in Green Bonds through more than 135 transactions in 18 currencies.

World Bank Green Bonds are an opportunity to invest in climate solutions through a high quality credit fixed income product.
  • The triple-A credit quality of the Green Bonds is the same as for any other World Bank bonds.
  • Positive environmental returns by supporting World Bank projects addressing mitigation and adaptation solutions for climate change


Implementation Guidelines
- Five Key Elements of the World Bank Green Bond Process -

I. Project selection criteria: how the World Bank defines "green"
The World Bank’s Green Bond program supports the transition to low-carbon and climate resilient development and growth in client countries. >More
II. Selecting projects that are eligible for financing by World Bank Green Bond process
World Bank green projects, like all World Bank projects, are designed to reduce poverty and improve local economies. But green projects specifically focus on tackling climate change issues that directly impact developing countries. > More
III. Earmarking and allocating World Bank Green Bond proceeds
The graph below illustrates the Green Bond selection process including earmarking and allocating the World Bank’s Green Bond proceeds. > More
IV. Monitoring and reporting on impact of supported project
The World Bank supervises the implementation of all projects it supports –including the Green Bond Projects. Client countries implement the development projects in accordance with the project loan agreement. > More
V. Ensuring compliance
Projects: Projects eligible under the Green Bond program comply with World Bank safeguards, procurement policies and other procedures addressing project integrity. > More

DISCLAIMER: This summary has been prepared by the World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD) for information purposes only, and the World Bank makes no representation, warranty, or assurance of any kind, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information contained herein.  This summary includes references to and information relating to IBRD securities.  Any such information is provided only for general informational purposes and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any IBRD securities.  The securities mentioned herein may not be eligible for sale in certain jurisdictions or to certain persons.

World Bank Green Projects

World Bank Green Bonds support projects selected by World Bank environment and other sector specialists that meet specific criteria for development activities that help lower global carbon emissions. World Bank green projects, like all World Bank projects, are designed to reduce poverty and improve local economies. But they specifically focus on tackling climate change issues that directly impact developing countries.

World Bank Green Projects. The World Bank’s impact report summarizes the list of eligible projects for which Green Bond proceeds are used to support disbursement financing. It also summarizes select results indictors for each project that demonstrate their environmental and social impacts. The indicators are intended to illustrate the type and scale of expected results in a variety of sectors and country contexts.

One page summaries are also available for each project. The following section lists each project according to its major sector.

I. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
. > See sample of eligible projects
II. Transport
. > See sample of eligible projects
III. Water, Wastewater, and Solid Waste Management
. > See sample of eligible projects
IV. Agriculture, Land Use and Forestry
. > See sample of eligible projects
V. Resilient Infrastructure, Built Environment and Other
. > See sample of eligible projects

Working Towards a Harmonized Framework for Impact Reporting

Based on green bond market participants' interest in impact reporting and the positive influence that higher transparency and comparability in this area may have for the green bond market, the World Bank collaborated with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to discuss green bond impact reporting.

The conclusions have been summarized and are available to download here in order to share information and support discussions with other issuers and investors and provide a reference for other green bond issuers as they set up their own impact reporting. The first version of the harmonized version, published March 2015, is also available for download here.

The World Bank develops products that meet investors’ specific demand. Many investors are concerned with the effects of climate change, and, with their investments, they want to specifically make a difference by supporting climate change related projects. The urgency of this issue has led to the emergence of a climate asset class to which institutional and retail investors are increasing allocations.

For investors, World Bank Green Bonds are an opportunity to invest in climate solutions through a triple-A rated fixed income product. The credit quality of the Green Bonds is the same as for any other World Bank bonds. Repayment of the bond is not linked to the credit or performance of the projects, and investors do not assume the specific project risk. Investors benefit from the AAA/Aaa credit of the World Bank, as well as from the due diligence process of the World Bank for its activities.

World Bank Green bonds are just like regular World Bank bonds, except that the proceeds are dedicated specifically to support World Bank-funded projects addressing climate change solutions. To inquire about World Bank green bonds available for purchase you can contact any financial institution in your vicinity that operates in the international financial markets.

For a list of select investors, please click here.

Here are examples of what investors have said:

"IBRD’s effort in moving forward robust impact reporting on its green bond program is impressive. We view this as an important component of our green bond evaluation. Blackrock has been a strong supporter of World Bank Green Bonds in the past, and this pioneering work on reporting standards was a key factor behind our involvement in today's 10-year bond," said Ashley Schulten, Director, Portfolio Manager, Blackrock.

“These investments make sense for the environment and California taxpayers. The return for our pooled money account is outstanding, and we’re financing projects that help make a difference in the fight against global warming,” said Bill Lockyer, former Treasurer for the State of California.

"If established on firm footing, Mirova is convinced that the green and social bond market can become an essential tool for financing solutions to the challenges of sustainable development. IBRD's green bond is of particular interest considering its focus on climate change. We not only appreciate IBRD's green bond for its ability to fight climate change, but also because it features good practices that remain rare in the market. An adequate level of transparency is notably essential for maintaining the value-added of sustainability bonds for investors, which resides in the measure of impact that they offer. IBRD provides a regularly updated report, which allows investors to maintain visibility on the list of financed projects," said Marc Briand, Head of Fixed Income at Mirova.

"The last 7 years collaboration with investors is giving the World Bank a platform to offer investors a possibility to learn about climate challenges and support climate related solutions at the same time as it allows the World Bank to broaden their investor base among institutional investors. From SEB it’s a privilege to be joining this path and we appreciate the insight the World Bank has brought, not only in respect to understanding global challenges but primarily in how we through our partnership can assist in addressing these challenges,” said Christopher Flensborg, Head of ESG & Climate-Financial Solutions at SEB.

Green Bond Press Releases

04/07/2017 World Bank Green Bonds Reach $10 Billion in Funding Raised for Climate Finance



Climate and Green Bonds in World Bank news


Videos and Publications about World Bank Green Bonds




Overview of the World Bank (IBRD) Green Bond.
An overview about the World Bank Green Bond
and examples of the types of projects it helps support.
Euromoney Handbook 2010

Euromoney Environmental Finance Handbook 2010
"Green bonds: a model to mobilise private capital to fund
climate change mitigation and adaptation projects"

Canada's Business News Network (BNN) interviewed Heike Reichelt of the World Bank.
Heike provided the issuer's perspective of green bonds.

Pension Fund Service Local Government
"Getting to Know the Green Bond Market"



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