22 Mar 2018

Fiji recognised for Green Bond

2:53 pm on 22 March 2018

Fiji's experience is being used to inspire other countries to consider issuing sovereign green bonds.

This week it received the Green Bond Pioneer Award for its Sovereign Green Bond at the Climate Bonds Initiative's conference in London.

Fiji was the first emerging market to issue the fundraising tool and has raised US$60 million for local environmental projects so far.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has come up with a set of guidelines after helping Fiji with the bond which was launched in November last year.

The IFC's Aaron Levine helped write the guide - Guidance for Sovereign Green Bond Issuers - based on the Fiji experience.

He said Fiji had done some ground-breaking work.

"It shows that Fiji as a small island nation can issue this kind of financial product. If they can, then any emerging economy can as well and we hope that that's what we'll see, Fiji inspiring other countries."

Mr Levine said the green bond market was growing at an incredible pace with over $150 billion in issuances last year after starting about ten years ago.

"It's really interesting. We've seen both conventional, big institutional investors like pension funds supporting it but what we're also seeing is that millennial are also starting to come through and they deeply care about environmental and social purpose in their investments so the pool of investors is expanding quite rapidly .

"For Fiji it was supported by pension funds, by the banks who rarely participate in bond issuances."

Some progress has been made on Koro Island with a new roof installed on this school building.

The Fiji Green bond would help with projects where rooves needed to be replaced following a cyclone. Photo: RNZI/Alex Perrottet

Mr Levine said the money raised by the Fiji bond is going to a range of projects including crop resilience, irrigation and resilient building after the experience of Cyclone Winston.

He said transparency was key to Fiji's success so far.

"When you issue a green bond it's fundamental to be transparent to investors about how you're going to spend that money and what the impact's going to be so Fiji followed really high standards that the IFC strongly supports as well.

He said Fiji had committed to annual reporting which is the industry standard.

"They're also planning on listing the bond on the London Stock Exchange which is another added layer of incredible transparency so those reports will be available on the internet but they'll also be released to the market though the London Stock Exchange."

Mr Levine said Fiji had spent around half of the bond proceeds so far.

Nasau village is still shattered.

Nasau village destroyed by category five Tropical Cyclone Winston, in future, villages damaged from a severe cyclone would benefit from a Fiji Green bond fund. Photo: RNZ / Alex Perrottet