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The green bond market in Europe - statistics & facts

Green bonds, also called climate bonds, are an indication that investors are interested in sustainability. Environmental degradation and climate change pose serious physical and transitional risks to financial stability, such as business disruption, asset destruction, lower value of stranded assets, and increase in insurance costs. Whether to identify opportunities, mitigate risk, or align values, investors are recognizing the potential of sustainable finance by launching new and restructuring old finance products. In Europe, the most common type of issuer of green bonds were financial corporate issuers, accounting for more than one third of the total green bonds issued in Europe in 2021.

What are green bonds?

Bonds are debt securities, which means that an investor temporarily lends money to a bond issuer. In return, the investor receives interest income. What makes green bonds different from ordinary bonds is that proceeds from green bonds go to environmental projects. These might include investments in new or existing projects on clean energy, energy efficiency, sustainable waste management, sustainable land use, efficient buildings, clean transportation, sustainable water management, or climate change adaptation. Green bonds may, just like any bond, be classed in different bond types, such as senior unsecured, covered bonds, senior non-preferred, just to name a few. The most common green bond type by debut issuers in Europe in 2020 was senior unsecured.

Which is the leading country for green bonds?

The European country with the highest value of green bonds issued, as of first half 2021, was Germany, followed by France. Germany and France were not only the largest countries in Europe in green bond issuance, but also the second and third countries worldwide with the highest value of green bonds issued, after the United States. The same two countries – Germany and France - were the leading issuers of green bonds in Europe by value the previous year, in 2020, while the leading European country by volume of issued green bonds that year, however, was Sweden.

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