CICERO - Center for International Climate Research

CICERO Shades of Green

Published 30.04.2015

CICERO Second Opinions are graded dark green, medium green and light green to offer investors better insight in the environmental quality of green bonds.


The Green Bond Principles outline voluntary guidance for green bonds, but do not take a position on the quality of green solutions. This is where CICERO finds its pivotal role, to connect climate change science with the financial markets. 

In 2015, we introduced the Shades of Green methodology, which gives transparent information on how well a green bond aligns with a low-carbon climate resilient future.

We assess whether a given activity or technology supports a low-carbon and climate resilient society in the long-term. In some cases, activities or technologies that reduce emissions in the near-term result in a prolonged use of high-emitting infrastructure and an increase in net emissions in the long term. CICERO strives to avoid locking-in of emissions through careful infrastructure investments and moving towards low- or zero-emitting infrastructure.



Emerging best practice

The figure below shows the Shades of Green by project type. Renewable energy projects lend themselves more readily for a dark green shading, as these project generally allign well with a low-carbon future. For project types in the transportation, building and waste sectors, more medium green shadings were assigned due to further concern for environmental impacts.


Our Shades of Green aim at giving investors a better indication of how green the projects they want to invest in really are. Based on seven years of experience with evaluating green bonds we aim to bring more transparency in the market of second opinions.

- cicero director Kristin halvorsen


Read more on the Shades of Green-methodology: