Emerging market green bond issuance will more than double by 2023 to exceed $100-billion, according to two of the biggest players in the sector.
The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. and European asset manager Amundi, who together created the world’s largest green bond fund targeting emerging markets, predict sales will rise rapidly from the $40 billion seen in 2020. Issuers will be spurred on by the prospect of cheaper borrowing costs for such debt, they said in a report.
“The outlook for emerging market green bond issuance remains robust,” said Yerlan Syzdykov, Amundi’s global head of emerging markets. “The fiscal policy efforts in emerging economies will bring forward recoveries, providing an opportunity to boost green investment in areas including renewable energy, green urban infrastructure and climate-smart agriculture.”
While some countries such as Indonesia and Egypt have sold green bonds, Europe has led the way so far in a market now worth over $1-trillion. What’s more, the EM market segment is dominated by China, with sales lagging in regions heavily exposed to climate risk such as sub-Saharan Africa.
That’s led to concerns the green bond sector is leaving behind those most in need for climate transition financing, with rules designed for developed-market issuers excluding the needs of emerging-market nations.
To scale up EM issuance, the quality of information for investors should be improved, while borrowers need greater awareness and the ability to credibly label assets as green, said Jean Pierre Lacombe, director of market research at the IFC.
To avoid the risk of greenwashing, investors should actively engage with issuers, Amundi’s Syzdykov said, noting it recently divested from the State Bank of India’s green bonds over its controversial funding for a mining project.
Policy makers will also need to make change in regulatory frameworks to bolster sustainable finance. So far there is a mishmash of rules across the world on what constitutes green projects, as individual countries create their own.
There’s been a rush of funds into the sector. The $1.5-billion Amundi Planet Emerging Green One fund, a partnership with the IFC, was a top performer last quarter, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.