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Green Bonds: From evolution to revolution

Heike Reichelt's picture
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© ThickStock.com/Getty Images
© ThickStock.com/Getty Images

The first green bond issued by the World Bank 10 years ago created the blueprint for today’s US$500+ billion labeled bond market. This blog post looks at how green bonds changed investor and issuer behavior and how the same model can be applied to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.


The capital markets have evolved over the last 10 years from a market where investors knew - and cared - little about what their investments were supporting, to one where purpose matters more than ever. There’s a revolution in the bond markets that was sparked by green bonds.

The green bond market has grown from a market dominated by issuers like the World Bank, an international organization owned by 189 countries with the sole purpose of eradicating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, to one that includes a broad range of issuers - from private companies and banks, to utilities and governments. The simple concept behind green bonds has expanded to other labeled bonds, including social bonds and blue bonds. 

Packing a library of knowledge in a carry-on: Attending the Public Debt Management Workshop in Vienna

Mario Augusto Caetano Joao's picture
© World Bank


I travel light. Usually a carry-on is all I need for business related travel. Attending the Government Debt Management Strategy Design and Implementation Workshops, organized by World Bank Treasury, was no different affair. The month was July, the location was JVI Facilities in Vienna, I thought I didn’t need more luggage!

I attended the workshop wearing two different hats: as a former senior economic advisor to the Angolan government and a macro economist, I was eager to find out what I could add to my information portfolio in terms of debt management know-how; as a World Bank Group Advisor to Executive Director, I was curious about how the Bank builds capacity through training for member countries.

Can debt managers save the world?

M. Coskun Cangoz's picture
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© Thinkstock
© Thinkstock

It was ten years ago, right before the global crisis when Lehman Brothers had not collapsed, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had not been placed into conservatorship. For debt managers, the markets were less volatile and the future was less uncertain. In Turkey we were dealing with the implementation of the post-crisis reform agenda.
 
One day, I got an invitation from my son’s eighth-grade teacher to speak at the school’s “careers day” which aims educate children on different types of jobs.  I accepted the invitation but I was a little worried because, as a debt manager I have a “different type of job” that was not necessarily an “exciting” one.

Disaster Risk: Using Capital Markets to Protect Against the Cost of Catastrophes

Michael Bennett's picture
Hurricane Sandy / NOAA
Hurricane Sandy / NOAA


In addition to their often devastating human toll, natural disasters can have an extremely adverse economic impact on countries. Disasters can be particularly calamitous for developing countries because of the low level of insurance penetration in those countries. Only about 1% of natural disaster-related losses between 1980 and 2004 in developing countries were insured, compared to approximately 30% in developed countries. This means the financial burden of natural disasters in developing countries falls primarily on governments, which are often forced to reallocate budget resources to finance disaster response and recovery. At the same time, their revenues are typically falling because of decreased economic activity following a disaster. The result is less money for government priorities like education or health, thereby magnifying the negative developmental impact of a disaster.

To address this problem, the World Bank Treasury has been helping our clients protect their public finances in the event of a natural disaster. The most recent innovation is our new Capital-at-Risk Notes program, which allows our clients to access the capital markets through the World Bank to hedge their natural disaster risk. Under the program, the World Bank issues a bond supported by the strength of our own balance sheet, and hedges it through a swap or similar contract with our client. The program allows us to transfer risks from our clients to the capital markets, where interest in catastrophe bonds is growing.