In London 5 March, CICERO Shades of Green received a Green Bond Pioneer Award for being the largest external reviewer globally in 2018. This is the second time CICERO has been recognized for its Second Opinions by the Climate Bonds Initiative.
“We are honored to receive this award for being the largest Second Opinion provider in the green bond market last year. With practical approaches we aim at bringing more transparency into the growing green bond market,” said CICERO Shades of Green CEO Harald Francke Lund.
Established new company to adapt to growth
CICERO Center for International Climate Research in Norway has for the past ten years been providing independent research-based evaluation of green bonds. The research institute has completed more than 100 Second Opinions, reviewing bonds with a total volume of $170 billion.
To adapt to growth in the market, CICERO in December 2018 restructured by establishing a new subsidiary, CICERO Shades of Green AS. The new company maintains close ties with CICERO, whose staff provide quality control and methodological development.
“2018 was a great year for us. We also provided our first rating of a sustainability bond framework for the Agriculture Development Bank of China (ADBC) together with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). We believe that only if you review green and social criteria together can sustainable bonds avoid unintended negative consequences,” said Christa Clapp, Partner and Co-Founder of CICERO Shades of Green.
Transparency on exposure to climate risk
The company uses the Shades of Green methodology, a climate-science rating method that focuses on avoiding a lock-in of greenhouse gas emissions over the assets’ lifetime and promoting transparency regarding resilience planning and strategy. Green bond frameworks are rated from dark to light green.
“The strength of the shades of green methodology is that it allows investments in different ranges of green. With this, our approach has the potential to contribute to expanding the green bond market and encourage a race to the top,” said Francke Lund.
The shading methodology considers both climate impact and climate risk, and aims to provide transparency to investors when comparing green bond frameworks’ exposure to climate risk. A dark green project is less exposed to climate risk than a lighter green investment.
“In 2018, we also continued to improve our Second Opinion methodology by adding to our shading a governance score,” Francke Lund added.
In 2018, CICERO Shades of Green reviewed 37 green or sustainability bond frameworks, out of which close to 50% were in the real estate sector, followed by banking, municipal government and the energy industry.
Contributing to building investor confidence
“Evaluations, assessment and transparency are of vital importance to investment assurance as the global green bond issuance expands towards the critical climate milestone of $1trillion in annual green finance. CICERO Shades of Green is playing a positive role in both emerging and developed economies in building investor confidence and robust market practices to support accelerated growth. We congratulate them,” said Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative.
Last time CICERO received the Green Bond Pioneer Award for being the largest external provider was in 2016.
“We also want to congratulate our fellow award winners, in particular the Industrial Bank Co. Ltd in China, the Republic of Indonesia and Fannie Mae. CICERO provided the Second Opinion for their green bond frameworks,” said Francke Lund.
For more information on CICERO Shades of Green, visit the website: cicero.green