July 2021

Special edition
7th Annual General Meeting of the Principles (10 June 2021)

This edition covers:

As always, we welcome your feedback. Contact the Secretariat for the Principles greenbonds@icmagroup.org.


Overview of the 2021 AGM of the Principles

Opening remarks and presentations

The 7th Annual General Meeting of the Green & Social Bond Principles was held virtually on 10 June 2021. It was followed by the Conference of the Principles, sponsored by Nasdaq.

The AGM opened with welcoming remarks by the Secretariat (Nicholas Pfaff and Valérie Guillaumin), a presentation on the growth of sustainable bond markets in recent years, the global adoption of the Principles, statistics on Members and Observers, as well as the Executive Committee election results. It then continued with an overview from Denise Odaro, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Green & Social Bond Principles, of the changes to the Green Bond Principles (GBP), Social Bond Principles (SBP), and Sustainability Bond Guidelines (SBG). Working group coordinators also later presented a summary of their groups’ key achievements and outlook for future focus areas. A brief outline of the main discussion topics of the Advisory Council was also presented. The AGM closed with a Q&A session. 

Executive committee elections for 2021-2022
The call for candidacy for the Executive Committee election resulted in in 28 candidates (5 issuers, 4 investors, 19 underwriters). The process which took place between 10 May and June, was completed with a 69% participation.
Pursuant to the governance framework, 12 seats, equivalent to one-half of the total number of the Executive Committee (“ExCom”) members, were renewed at the time of the 2021 AGM (i.e. 4 seats per category: issuer/investor/underwriter). With Fannie Mae (on the issuer side) and Nordea (on the underwriter side) joining the ExCom for the first time, the current composition is:
2021 GBP & SBP Executive Committee

FANNIE MAE (new member)
NORDEA BANK (new member)

*re-elected members for a term expiring at the end of the General Meeting to be held in 2023.

Post-AGM note on the composition of the Steering Committee

Following the decision of Zurich Insurance (represented by Johanna Köb) to step-down from the Steering Committee, BlackRock has been elected by the ExCom as the new Steering Committee Member for the investor category. The Steering Committee now consists of IFC (Denise Odaro) as the Chair of the Principles, with Crédit Agricole CIB (Tanguy Claquin) and BlackRock (Ashley Schulten) as the Vice-Chairs for the term of 2021-2022.

Post-AGM note on the composition of the Advisory Council (AC)

Following the elections of Fannie Mae and Nordea to the Executive Committee, the two organisations stepped down from their mandates as AC members, pursuant to the Terms of Reference of the AC. The Executive Committee has appointed ICO and Scotia Bank to serve the remaining term of their mandates.

2021 editions of the Green Bond Principles (GBP), Social Bond Principles (SBP) and Sustainability Bond Guidelines (SBG)

The GBP were updated for the first time since 2018, mainly to heighten transparency and reflect market evolution. The SBP and the SBG were similarly revised. In this respect, the GBP 2021 edition features:

  • Two key recommendations on the Bond Framework and External Reviews designed to increase transparency alongside the four core components (Use of Proceeds, Process for Project Evaluation and Selection, Management of Proceeds, and Reporting);
  • A recommendation of heightened transparency for issuer-level sustainability strategies and commitments;
  • Encouragement to supply information, if relevant, on the degree of alignment of projects with official or market-based taxonomies;
  • Promotion of transparency on issuer processes to identify and manage perceived and known social and/or environmental risks; and,
  • Links and references to the complementary guidance of the Climate Transition Finance Handbook (CTFH), the Harmonised Framework for Impact Reporting and the Guidelines for External Reviews, which are supplemented by the Guidance Handbook.

Other AGM publications

The following documents were also issued by the Executive Committee, based on the recommendations of the Working Groups (WGs):

The Guidance Handbook update

The Guidance Handbook has been reorganised and updated primarily to reflect the release of the SLBP and the Climate Transition Finance Handbook, and to incorporate the dedicated Q&A documents related to these.

Advisory Council 2021 Report

AGM participants were informed that Advisory Council (AC) meetings in the term of 2020-2021 focused on (i) AC members’ input to best practice and market instruments such as SLBs and CTF and (ii) updates on regional regulatory and market initiatives (e.g., taxonomies) supported by written materials (in the form of a survey) collected from the AC members ahead of each meeting. 

The application process for the AC term 2021-2022 is scheduled to open in September 2021. 

Update from the Secretariat

Working Groups in 2021-2022
During its first meeting, the Executive Committee of the Principles decided to set up the following Working Groups (WGs) for the year to come.
Members and Observers who would like to participate in any of our working groups are invited to contact to the Secretariat of the Principles at sustainabilitybonds@icmagroup.org. Please indicate the name and contact details of the principal representative and up to 2 alternate representatives of the organisation.
In order to keep the WGs relevant and manageable in terms of size, the involvement of participants is subject to adequate contributions of expertise and the operational capacity of the WG.

The Terms of Reference of each WG will be decided by the WG members at the kick-off meetings, based on proposals from the WG coordinators.

  • Impact Reporting Working Group, coordinated by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Fannie Mae, KfW and Nordic Investment Bank (NIB).
  • Social Bonds Working Group, coordinated by Actiam, BNP Paribas and World Bank.
  • Climate Transition Finance Working Group, coordinated by Fannie Mae, HSBC, JP Morgan and Natixis.
  • Sustainability-Linked Bonds Working Group, coordinated by JP Morgan, Natixis and PIMCO.
  • Sustainable/ESG Indices Working Group, coordinated by Nordic Investment Bank (NIB).
  • Advisory and dialogue with other markets Working Group (Coordinators will be confirmed at a later stage). This new WG will seek to provide advice and promote dialogue around the development of sustainable financial instruments beyond the bond markets.

Green Project Eligibility Working Group

The Green Project Eligibility Working Group published in March 2021 the document Usability of taxonomies and nomenclatures for the Green, Social and Sustainable Bond markets which provides guidance on various nomenclatures and taxonomies used to assess green eligibility:

  • why different market participants need well-structured sustainability information;
  • what are nomenclatures and taxonomies; and
  • usability considerations of nomenclatures and taxonomies.

In addition, following the publication in June 2020 of the document Sustainability Standards and Labels, the Green Project Eligibility Working Group posted online the standard setting bodies completed forms to support the gathering of green bond market relevant information on third party sustainability standards in a consistent and streamlined way (see the 'Sustainability Standards and Labels' tab of the Resource Centre).

The Secretariat welcomes the following organisations which have joined the membership of the Principles since the last Newsletter published in February 2021:

Allen & Overy LLP Observer
American Bureau of Shipping Observer
American Forestry Foundation Observer
BPCE SA Issuer
Center for Sustainable Finance – Vlerick Business School Observer
Czarnikow Group Limited Observer
Development Bank of Southern Africa Limited Issuer
Emerging Markets Investors Alliance Observer
Eurex Repo GmbH Observer
Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Observer
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Observer
Itau Unibanco S.A. Underwriter
JP Morgan Asset Management Investor
Klinkby Enge Observer
Matheson Observer
MN Services N.V. Investor
MSCI ESG Research Observer
National Rating Agency Observer
Ogier Global (Hong Kong) Limited Observer
PKF Attest Capital Markets AV, S.A. (PKF DCM) Underwriter
Pinsent Masons LLP Observer
Riksgäldskontoret (the Swedish National Debt Office) Issuer
Scope SE & CO KGaA Observer
Singapore Exchange Limited Observer
The Governance Group AS Observer
United Nations Global Compact Observer
VEB.RF Observer

Official sector-related developments

OSCG Meeting

  • On 28 May 2021, the Executive Committee of the Principles held its 5th meeting with official sector representatives under the umbrella of the Official Sector Contact Group. The meeting provided participants with updates on the work of the Executive Committee (presented by the Steering Committee), latest developments in Asia Pacific (presented by senior officials from PBOC and Japan’s FSA), update on the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (presented by experts from the European Commission) as well as the latest report on bridging the data gaps from the NGFS (presented by an ECB representative).  


  • Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD): On 21 April 2021, the European Commission (EC) published its proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) which revises the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and aims to address perceived shortcomings identified through a public consultation in 2020.
  • EU Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act: On 4 June 2021, EC formally adopted the Climate Delegated Act relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives. 
  • EuGB Regulation: On 6 July 2021, the EC its proposal for a Regulation on European green bonds, which will be negotiated in the European Parliament and among Members of the Council of the European Union as part of the co-legislative process. ICMA’s analysis note of the Regulation can be found here.
  • New Sustainable Finance Strategy: On 6 July 2021, EC published its renewed sustainable finance strategy “Strategy for financing the transition to a sustainable economy”. ICMA’s analysis and commentary on the new strategy can be found here.
  • Taxonomy Article 8 Disclosures: On 6 July 2021, EC published its proposal for Delegated Regulation related to taxonomy-alignment disclosures related to entities subject to the NFRD. The main text and related-Annexes can be found here.
  • EU PSF Consultations: On 12 July 2021, the EU Platform on Sustainable Finance opened two consultations seeking feedback on the report for a potential social taxonomy and the proposal for an extended taxonomy to support economic transition. The consultations will close on 27 August 2021. 


  • China’s new Green Bond Catalogue: In April 2021, PBOC, NDRC and CSRC jointly issued the Green Bond Endorsed Project Catalogue (2021 Edition) (in Chinese), which replaces the two prevailing sets of guidelines, creating a unified national definition of “green” for green bonds in China.
  • Japan’s Basic Guidelines on Climate Transition Finance: In May 2021, METI, FSA, and MOE published the Basic Guidelines on Climate Transition Finance to which ICMA also provided its input and which explicitly confirms its alignment with the Climate Transition Finance Handbook. In July 2021, Japan’s FSA also published a consultation on its Social Bond Guidelines with a deadline of 10th of August, available only in Japanese for now.


  • FCA’s Consultations: On 22 June 2021, FCA opened two consultations (CP21/17 on climate related disclosures by asset managers, life insurers and FCA-regulated pension providers and the CP21/18 on enhancing climate-related disclosures by standard listed companies) which close on 10 September 2021.

US/North America

  • ICMA’s response to the US SEC’s Climate Change Disclosures: On 15 June 2021, ICMA has submitted its response to the US SEC consultation on climate-related disclosures, in which ICMA supported SIFMA’s letter and emphasised important points relating to a global coordinated approach, principles based materiality, safe-harbour protection and a handful of other issues.
ICMA Publication: Overview and Recommendations for Sustainable Finance Taxonomies

On 18 May 2021, ICMA published the paper Overview and Recommendations for Sustainable Finance Taxonomies (co-authored by Nicholas Pfaff, Özgür Altun and Yanqing Jia). There have been numerous market and official sector initiatives to develop “taxonomies” (ie classification systems) in an effort to provide clear guidance on which activities, assets and/or projects qualify for sustainable finance, and more widely in some cases as sustainable for regulatory or prudential purposes. Progress on the development of the EU Taxonomy in particular has accelerated the discussion about taxonomies all over the world.

ICMA’s publication compares the main features and methodologies of official taxonomies from the EU, China and other national authorities as well as influential market-based systems including the Green Bond Principles’ project categories. For future developments relating to both market and official sector initiatives in this area, it also recommends that taxonomies should be:

  1. Targeted in their purpose and objectives.
  2. Additional in relation to existing international frameworks.
  3. Usable by the market for all intended purposes.
  4. Open and compatible with complementary  approaches and initiatives.
  5. Transition-enabled incorporating trajectories and pathways.
Sustainability events, podcasts and education


Save the date for these virtual events in the autumn!

16 September - SFDR and implications for Asia-Pacific investors and issuers
12 November - Annual JSDA/ICMA sustainable finance event

Sustainable bond markets in Latin America
We will be looking at the overall development and progress of the green, social and sustainability bond markets in Latin America in the autumn followed by country specific webinars on Brazil, Mexico and Andean countries, featuring contributions from issuers and investors in these markets with international experts. The first event in the series, giving an overview of sustainable bond markets in the region, will take place on 20 September.

Followed by:
Brazil - 6 October
Mexico - 10 November
Chile - 7 December
Andean countries - 7 December

Contact: events@icmagroup.org

Missed an ICMA event? Watch the recording

ICMA podcast      

Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles Annual Conference 2021
Following the Green Bond Principles (GBP) and Social Bond Principles (SBP) Annual General Meeting, members of its Executive Committee and working groups presented to the wider market an update on the 2021 edition of the GBP as well as other key documents published concurrently.

ICMA podcast  

ICMA & Ashurst Joint Event: Net Zero in Asia-Pacific - a closer look
Continuing the conversation that began with Net Zero and the Asia-Pacific Capital Markets, with a more in-depth, technical discussion of net zero strategies in the capital markets and key questions for sustainability professionals in the industry.

ICMA podcast  

ICMA and METI joint virtual event: Transition Finance in Japan – now and going forward
In May 2021, Japan’s ‘Basic Guidelines on Climate Transition Finance’, was published by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Financial Services Agency (FSA) and Ministry of the Environment (MOE). This discussion was jointly hosted by ICMA and METI.
The event recording is also available in Japanese

ICMA podcast  

Social Bonds Roundtable
Through a dialogue between issuers, investors and major stakeholders, this round table presented the main developments in this market, its challenges for issuers, the expectations of investors and the main drivers to promote the growth of issuance of social bonds.

ICMA podcast  

Sustainability-Linked Bonds: update on new guidance and market practice
The Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles were published by the Green & Social Bond Principles Executive Committee in June 2020. Market experts discuss new Q&As for sustainability-linked bonds, which are designed to promote understanding of this important new financial instrument and its place in an issuer’s overall sustainability strategy.

ICMA podcast      

Sustainable finance in Latin America with BBVA
Simone Utermarck, Director, Sustainable Finance at ICMA talks to Angel Tejada, Global Head of Green and Sustainable Bonds at BBVA about developments in the sustainable finance market in Latin America.

ICMA podcast  

Pricing climate risk
Mushtaq Kapasi, Head of ICMA Asia Pacific, speaks to Dr Entela Benz, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Finance at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Business School and co-founder and CEO of Intensel, and Dr Saurabh Singh, co-founder and CTO of Intensel about the different and sometimes unexpected aspects of climate risk. 

ICMA podcast  

Berlin Hyp’s experience as issuer of the world’s first sustainability-linked bond by a bank 
Bodo Winkler-Viti, Berlin Hyp’s Head of Funding & Investor Relations speaks to Simone Utermarck at ICMA about Berlin Hyp’s pioneering role in the green bond market to becoming also the first bank in the world to issue a sustainability-linked bond (SLB). 

ICMA podcast  

Enel’s sustainability strategy and the role of sustainability-linked bonds
Nicole Della Vedova, Head of Corporate Finance and Giovanni Niero, Sustainable Finance Project Leader at Enel speak to ICMA's Simone Utermarck about Enel’s journey from a green bond issuer to pioneer of sustainability-linked bonds (SLBs).



Register now!
Introduction to Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) Bonds - Livestreamed
Live sessions: July 22 and 23, 10.00-13.30 CEST
Developed by a combination of leading market practitioners and ICMA’s sustainability experts, this livestreamed course provides a thorough and practical introduction to the essentials of green, social and sustainability bonds (GSS), featuring case studies which illustrate the steps required for making a sustainable bond issue.

The Introduction to GSS bonds is also available online as a self-study option, consisting of 12 narrated video modules complete with concept-checking quizzes, allowing you to complete the course in your own time. Access is provided for six months from date of entry and new intakes are on monthly basis.
Register now to start studying in August.

Sustainable Bonds Helpdesk

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