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New ICMA Training Course: Introduction to Green Bonds


Date and Venue

Date: 5 & 6 March 2018
08.30 - 17.00

International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Limited
23 College Hill


The GBP are the voluntary guidelines that underpin this market globally. These guidelines recommend transparency and disclosure for issuers of green bonds, helping investors to make informed decisions about their environmental features. 
The GBP are supported by a community of over 250 institutions worldwide. These Members and Observers of the GBP assemble leading  marketparticipants and stakeholders. The breadth and quality of this community underlines the fact that the GBP are used globally as a reference for best practice, both in developed and developing markets.
Green bonds are a means of raising finance for projects with environmental benefits. In 2017 over 200 issuers, among them sovereigns, munis, corporates, development banks and other financial institutions, raised more than $150 billion through green bonds.  

Green bonds aligned with ICMA’s Green Bond Principles (GBP),  have become a model for sound, scalable and widely supported practice in sustainable finance. These voluntary guidelines underpin the market by making recommendations for transparency and disclosure to issuers, helping  investors to make informed decisions about the bonds' environmental features.

The GBP are supported by a global community of over 250 institutions and are used as a reference for best practice in developed and emerging markets. 

Green bond learning for practitioners

This new two-day course from ICMA gave a thorough and practically oriented introduction to the essentials of green bonds. It was developed and delivered by a combination of leading market practitioners and ICMA’s green bond experts, the material also benefits from input from members of the GBP Executive Committee, comprising the elected representatives of the most significant issuers, investors and underwriters in the green bond market. 

The course introduced underlying market drivers, the evolving regulatory framework and the main features of the green bond product and market based on the GBP. These were brought to life by case studies from a wide range of leading market participants and service providers, representing the main types of actor in this market. 
It included essential definitions of what constitutes a green bond issue and a detailed review of how the Green Bond Principles work. It explains practicalities from different perspectives, including those of the issuer, intermediary, investor, service provider and regulator. It spans the preparation and execution of issuance, the central role of external reviews, and the associated reporting, from use of proceeds reports to impact reporting. It introduces the role of intermediaries and explores strategies deployed by prominent investors in green bonds. Concepts are illustrated by examples from leading practitioners, and a wide range of case studies, notably on transactions and external reviews internationally, to help candidates prepare for practical implementation. The case studies offer relevant insights from across geographies and sectors. Importantly there are interactive workshops to cement key learning outcomes from the course participant’s perspective.While focusing on green bonds the course also looks at developments in the social and sustainable bond markets, which have started to flourish, building on the success of green bonds. ICMA & the GBP Executive Committee have led the way with the introduction of Social Bond Principles and Sustainability Bond Guidance  in 2017. 

After completing the programme, delegates should understand:
  • Recent trends and potential future developments and opportunities for green bonds 
  • Views from practitioners at ICMA and the GBP Executive Committee and other key players on why the market matters and how it works
  • Foundation skills for taking part in the green bond market - how and why to align with and apply the GBP, including:
  • Benefits of green bonds and developing the positioning in your organisation
  • Decision-makers: Identifying who is relevant
  • Strategy: Alignment with overall corporate / environmental strategy
  • Regulation: The GBP’s importance in regulatory trends 
  • Players: Mapping leading market players 
  • GBP-aligned issuance framework: 4 pillars of green bonds aligned with the GBP 
  • Defining green: Types of environmental project eligible for green bonds
  • Reporting: Recommendations and practice in reporting, including use of proceeds and impact reports, and templates offered by the GBP
  • External reviews and other services: The role and value-added of service providers, notably external reviews foreseen by the GBP and increasingly by regulators.
  • Buy-side considerations: Integrating green bonds in investment strategy and practice 
  • ICMA-GBP Membership & Services: Advantages of joining the GBP community - support and promote your future green bond activities
  • Crucially, you will acquire understanding of the perspectives and roles of the key players in the Green Bond market including –regulators, investors, underwriters, issuers, external reviewers including rating agencies, stock exchanges, data and index providers 

Who should attend?

The programme was intended for:
  • Firms who are looking to issue or invest in bonds linked to environmentally beneficial projects 
  • Market professionals involved in underwriting, research or professional services for green bonds; this includes capital markets lawyers, external reviewers including rating agencies, stock exchanges, data and index providers official sector representatives promoting, supervising or developing policies on sustainable finance and with a special interest in viable market solutions such as green bonds and their potential implications for other asset classes
  • Press, academics and other professionals with an interest in sustainable finance and the merits of green bond markets
It assumes basic knowledge of financial markets, specifically fixed-income.

Delegate Fees

ICMA Member & Green Bond Principles Members & Observers: £1,750 + 20% VAT
Non Member: £2,275 + 20% VAT

Delegate fees are payable, in advance of the course start date, by credit card (Visa, MasterCard) or on receipt of an invoice. 

For security reasons, delegates who have not registered in advance will not be admitted to this training course.  Delegates will be required to provide photo identification on arrival, to ensure entry.

The course is classroom based and runs over 2 full business days. It is taught by ICMA staff who work with the Green Bond Principles community.
1. Background to the market’s development, climate change and political pressure
2. Defining green bonds 
3. Market characteristics and evolution
5. Snapshot of social and sustainable bonds – Principles, Guidance & Markets
6. National and regional rules and guidance for green bonds
7. Main players in the green bond market
8. The four pillars of the Green Bond Principles and role of external reviews
- Use of proceeds
- Process for project evaluation and selection
- Management of proceeds
- Reporting 
- The important role of different types of external review
9. Further resources for implementation and analysis, including 
a. Preparing a transaction
b. Interactive case studies 
i. Transactions from different types of issuer and geography
ii. Documentation including reporting and external reviews 
c. Workshops to cement and apply green bond skills 
10. The ICMA-GBP community – benefits including network and services
11. Opportunities and challenges, future developments for green bonds
12. Update on ICMA and wider fixed income regulatory tren
The training course is classroom based and runs over 2 full business days. It is taught by ICMA staff who work with the Green Bond Principles community.

Day One

Monday 5 March 2018

08:30 Registration, Tea and Coffee
09:00 Opening Remarks
09:10 Introduction
Product Snapshot, Political and Market Drivers
10:00 Market Evolution
10:45 Break
11:00 Defining Green Bonds
12:00 Social & Sustainable Bonds
12:30 Lunch
13:20 Governance of Green Bonds
14:15 Market Firms
15:20 Break
15:35 Workshop
Green Bonds Essentials
16:30 Summary
16:50 Close of day 1 followed by networking drinks reception


Day Two

Tuesday 6 March 2018

08:30 Arrival coffee
09:00 Opening Remarks
09:10 Resources & Preparation
10:05 Presentation & Reporting
10:40 Break
10:55 Presentation & Reporting
Part 2
11:20 External Reviews
12:15 Lunch
13:15 Opportunities & Challenges for Green Bonds
14:05 Joining GBP Community
GBP & SBP Membership Benefits
14:30 ICMA & Regulatory Trends
15:00 ICMA Contacts
15:05 Break
15:20 Workshop
Green Bond Implementation
16:25 Final Discussion
16:45 Close of day 2