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Sustainable Finance Advisory

  • Thematic bonds such as green, blue and social bonds (i) raise money for investments that delivers sustainable economic and social outcomes and (ii) offer investors the opportunity to earn competitive financial returns and diversify their portfolios while supporting positive societal impact. These bonds are bought by a growing number of investors who have begun to embed Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards into their investment decisions. The World Bank (Bank) has played a leading role in founding and developing these markets.

    What are green and blue bonds?

    Green and blue bonds raise financing for development with clear environmental benefits on land and at sea, e.g. power generation from renewables, infrastructure that increases energy efficiency, and sustainable fishing economies.

    What are social bonds?

    Social bonds finance projects that benefit under-served populations with limited access to essential services such as basic infrastructure or finance. 

    What are the challenges?

    There has been slower growth in green bond markets in emerging countries than developed ones, largely due to less developed capital markets and lack of market awareness and knowledge of the green bond issuance process.

    Treasury Advisory Services

    The World Bank Financial Advisory and Banking team facilitates the development of green, blue and social bond markets in emerging markets through pre- and post-issuance technical assistance for issuers.   

    Why Treasury?

    The Treasury is uniquely positioned to provide customized technical assistance/advisory services for the issuance of such bonds and the development of sustainable bond markets. The Bank issued the world’s first green bond in 2008, defining a specific process that provides investors with full assurance that these projects will address climate change. Since 2008, the World Bank issued approximately USD 16 billion equivalent in Green Bonds through over 185 bonds in 23 currencies (as of 5/2021). Both sovereigns and private companies have since joined this market as issuers.  

    In 2018, Treasury helped found the Blue Bond market. Working closely with Seychelles, it helped structure and de-risk the transaction so the government could issue the fixed-income market’s first debt instrument supporting ocean-based sustainability projects.

     All World Bank bonds are sustainable development bonds that support the financing of a combination of green and social, i.e. “sustainable development”, projects, programs, and activities in IBRD member countries. The World Bank issues approximately USD 55-65 billion each year to fund its sustainable development activities in agriculture, education, energy, finance/trade/industry, governance, health and social services, transportation, water/sanitation and themes: gender, environment.



  • The World Bank Financial Products and Client Solutions team facilitates the development of green, blue and social bond markets in emerging markets through pre- and post-issuance technical assistance for issuers.

    Pre-issuance technical assistance:

    • Sharing international best practices and requirements for issuing green bonds 
    • Developing an action plan/roadmap for the issuance 
    • Developing a Green Bond Framework
    • Helping to identify eligible green categories/projects based on national priorities and Paris Agreement commitments
    • Facilitating the delivery of second opinions/verifications/certification of the Green Bond Framework by an independent third party reviewer
    • Advising on reporting commitment and communication strategy
    • Developing use of proceeds and impact report

    Post-issuance technical assistance:

    • Clarifying the processes and helping issuers  understand how to use the standardized impact reporting template in a manner that meets global standards.
    • Explaining information required, including baselines and indicators to measure the impact of selected green projects.
    • Recommending work process flows and timeline for reporting in line with the Green Bond Framework.
    • Preparing terms of reference for the Auditor to provide the annual assurance report in accordance with the Green Bond Framework.
    • Delivering digital templates for use by technical staff for monitoring and reporting.
    • Reviewing and providing feedback on draft prepared by the issuers.

    Capacity building for institutional investors on setting up Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies

    • Delivering workshops on ESG and Responsible Investment (RI) trends, approaches and strategies 
    • Undertaking desk review of investor’s individual investment objectives, policies and strategies 
    • Developing general guidelines for ESG/RI policies and approaches, including
      • Criteria for developing an ESG/RI Policy and implications for investment processes
      • Organizational setup, governance and operational processes
      • Choosing ESG approaches to support investment objectives and mission alignment
      • Stewardship, responsible ownership and engagement
      • Reporting and disclosure
    • Developing individual ESG/RI integration approaches
    • Delivering a workshop on implementation of ESG/RI Integration Strategies and Approaches

    Examples of our work: 

    • With technical assistance from World Bank Treasury, a Malaysian issuer issued the world’s first green sukuk/Islamic Bond
    • Malaysian rating agencies (RAM Ratings and Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad) and Malaysian Green Technology Corporation established methodologies for green bond/sukuk assessment/rating with knowledge transfer and capacity building facilitated by World Bank Treasury. 
    • Ministry of Finance of Indonesia issued the first sovereign green sukuk in the world in February 2018.
    • With technical assistance from World Bank Treasury, Fiji and Nigeria issued sovereign green bonds.
    • With technical assistance from World Bank Treasury, the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum developed the ASEAN Green Bond Standards and Sustainable Bond Guidelines.
    • With guidance from World Bank Treasury, Indonesian Financial Services Authority developed Green Bond Regulations.
    • With technical assistance from World Bank Treasury, PT SMI, a state-owned enterprise, issued the first corporate green bond in Indonesia
    • With technical assistance from World Bank Treasury, the Indonesian ministry of finance and PT SMI (Indonesian state-owned enterprise) developed their first post-issuance green Sukuk and green bond impact reports. 
    • The World Bank Treasury structured a new Blue Bond market instrument to help the government of Seychelles mobilize private sector capital into sustainable fishing, marine spatial planning, aquaculture and biodiversity. TRE structured the bond, combining an IBRD guarantee and a commitment from Global Environment Facility (GEF) to bring the transaction to market at favorable terms.

    Contact: Farah Hussain, Senior Financial Officer, World Bank Treasury at

  • On-Line Resources

    Engaging with Investors on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Issues

    Developing a National Green Taxonomy : A World Bank Guide

    The World Bank Green Bond Process Implementation Guidelines

    Green Bond Proceeds Management & Reporting is a World Bank Guide for Green Bond Issuers. The guide sets the standards for issuers and investors to understand and report on the social impact value of investment. Aiming to clarify the processes issuers can follow and to ensure transparency and consistency, the guide promotes similarity in reporting and allow investors to compare the impact of their investments across issuers.

    ASEAN Green Bond Standards (ASEAN GBS)

    World Bank IBRD Green Bonds

    IBRD Green Bond Impact Report (2019)

    World Bank on Climate Change

    Handouts, Case Studies, Blogs, Feature stories

    Blog - Investor demand for emerging market thematic bonds to finance a sustainable recovery

    Feature Story - Helping Sovereign Debt Managers Meet Investor Expectations for ESG Information

    Blog - Promoting better engagement on ESG between investors and sovereign debt managers

    Handout - World Bank Treasury Technical Asisstance for Green Bond Market Development 

    Infographic - Malaysia Green Sukuk 

    Blog: Malaysia launches the world’s first green Islamic bond 

    Video: Green Sukuk - Financing the future

    Case Study: First Domestic Green Bond in Indonesia

    Case Study: Helping Malaysia Develop the Green Sukuk Market

    Case Study: Seychelles - Introducing the World’s First Sovereign Blue Bond

    Video: Innovative Financing for Healthier Oceans - The Seychelles case

    Video: Sovereign green bond – the Fiji case 

    Webinars and Events

    Roundtable: Investor Perspectives on Emerging Market Sovereign Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) Bonds

    Webinar on Sovereign Green Bonds

    Webinar on Pros & Cons of Sovereign Green Bonds

    Webinar on Green Bond Proceeds Management and Reporting

    Other Resources

    Greater transparency on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues: New focus for sovereign debt issuers 
    Blog | Sep 9, 2019

    Sovereign social bonds to protect lives and livelihoods
    Article | May, 2020 Environmental Finance

  • For more information on World Bank thematic bod advisory services, please contact Farah Hussain, Senior Financial Officer, World Bank Treasury at