CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

CICERO expands work with green bonds

News - News from CICERO

Published 12.02.2016

After several years of exclusive cooperation with Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken and recently with HSBC, CICERO will now also provide second opinions to other issuers and underwriters of green bonds. As the market for green bonds is expanding rapidly, the need for independent, research-based assessments of green bond frameworks is growing too.

CICERO Second Opinions help issuers and investors to identify which investments are really contributing to a low-carbon shift. The interest for green bonds is growing, especially after the Paris Agreement. Therefore, we are happy to expand the range of organisations we can work with.

Kristin halvorsen, director

What is a Second Opinion?

Green bonds are debt instruments to channel investments towards green assets and activities that counter climate change. Second opinions evaluate the greenness of the bond by providing an independent assessment of the bond’s and issuer’s environmental objectives.

With nearly sixty second opinions of experience, CICERO has played a central role in developing the green bond market. Since the launch of the first green bond in 2008 by the World Bank, CICERO has worked with SEB – one of the world’s biggest underwriter of green bonds, to ensure that green bonds really contribute to building a low-carbon and climate-resilient society.

Opening up to more partners

As the market for green bonds is expanding rapidly, CICERO and SEB have mutually agreed to start working with other partners also. From 1 February, CICERO will provide second opinions to all issuers of green bonds except commercial banks. From 1 April, CICERO will also provide second opinions to commercial banks with headquarters in the Nordic countries. By the end of this year, CICERO can work with any client. At the same time, SEB’s clients may also seek a second opinion from someone else than CICERO.

Shades of green

CICERO is grading its independent reviews of green bond frameworks dark green, medium green or light green. These Shades of Green give investors a clear signal, to which extent a project is contributing to building a low-carbon and climate resilient society by 2050. The grading builds on a broad qualitative assessment of each project and reflects both the climate and environmental ambitions of the bond and the robustness of the governance structure.

CICERO Second Opinions strive to avoid locking-in of emissions in long-term investments and support a shift towards low- or zero-emitting infrastructure.

Global expertise

To serve its global client base, CICERO has established a network of independent, non-profit climate research institutions across the globe. Using the CICERO Second Opinion as a model, members of the Expert Network on Second Opinions contribute with their technical and regional climate expertise on a confidential basis. 

For more information on CICERO second opinions, e-mail to