How Can Green Bonds Benefit Your Investment Portfolio?
Interest in green bonds has exploded in the last few years as an investment that’s attractive because they offer the potential to directly impact your community in positive ways. But, if you add these into your investment portfolio, will they deliver on their promise?
Since the first green bond was introduced by the World Bank in 2008, the market for these debt securities has been growing fast. They were introduced in response to increased demand for ‘impact-based investing.’ This term is used for investments with demonstrated social and environmental benefits (ESG), another trending term for this industry.
Generally, a green bond is considered equivalent to a normal bond issued by a large organization or government body. However, the funds generated are committed to climate change and environmental projects.
In Canada, green bonds are being used to fund everything from the Eglinton Subway Extension in Toronto, to the Eastern Kings Wind Farm in Prince Edward Island. There are also overseas projects which companies in Canada are funding.
Investing in subway infrastructure may seem worlds apart from supporting a wind farm. However, both projects qualify in the green bond industry. Criteria for this segment of the international financial market is still being defined. You need to carefully research a green bond to ensure your purchase will bring you the social returns you desire.
The non-profit Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), with dozens of international offices, is the recognized leader in green bond financial information. CBI has created distinctions between certified greens, labelled greens that meet CBI criteria, and labelled greens that do not meet CBI criteria.
In its 2018 State of the Market report, Climate Bonds Initiative estimated the green bond market at $1.45 trillion USD. Market growth has exploded in the last 4 years alone; but what about performance as an investment vehicle?
Like the rest of the bond market, green bonds offer conservative investment performance. Some are considered competitive, but again, careful research is important. Studies from CBI indicate green bonds can be priced below, on, or above their own yield curve.
The Paris Climate Agreement offers ample motivation for investors to support solutions to climate change with their investments. Green bonds can be your response, while also offering financial rewards. Ask your Financial Advisor for help researching this growing market.