Green, Social and Sustainability (also called Sustainable or GSS) bonds are a means of raising finance for projects with environmental and/or social benefits. This is a fast-growing market sector, with nearly USD600 bn of green, social, sustainability, and sustainability-linked bonds issued across these four formats in 2020 representing a year-over-year increase of around 80 percent and from over 1200 issuers globally.

The Green Bond Principles (GBP), Social Bond Principles (SBP), Sustainability Bond Guidelines (SBG), and the Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (“the Principles”) are voluntary process guidelines which make recommendations for transparency and disclosure to issuers, helping investors to make informed decisions about the bonds' environmental and social features. They are supported by a global community of nearly 400 institutions and have become the internationally accepted framework for issuing in this market. Recently, the community also released the Climate Transition Finance Handbook, which is an issuer-level disclosure framework that helps issuers connect their instruments (e.g. green or sustainability-linked bonds) with credible transition strategies.

This course provides a thorough and practical introduction to the essentials of green, social and sustainability bonds (GSS), featuring practical examples which illustrate the steps required for making a sustainable bond issue.

It introduces the underlying market drivers, evolving regulatory framework and the main features of GSS bonds based on the Principles, including essential definitions of what constitutes a GSS bond issue and a detailed review of how the Principles work.

While focusing on green, social and sustainability bonds, this course also briefly looks at other relevant developments such as various taxonomies including the EU Taxonomy and official labels such as the EU Green Bond Standard.

Available online in two formats*:
*Public classroom based courses will return when it is safe to do so. If you are interested in running the course in-house, please contact us.

Course Outcomes

By completing this course you will be able to:
  • Identify recent trends and potential future developments and opportunities for green, social and sustainability bonds
  • Discuss why the market matters and how it works
  • Understand foundation skills for taking part in the GSS bond market - how and why to align with and apply the Principles, including:
  • Benefits of GSS bonds and developing the positioning in your organisation
  • Decision-makers: Identifying who is relevant
  • Strategy: Alignment with overall corporate / environmental strategy
  • Regulation: The Principles’ importance in regulatory trends
  • Players: Mapping leading market players
  • Identify principles aligned issuance framework: 4 pillars of GSS bonds
  • Define green and social: Types of projects eligible for GSS bonds
  • Recognise reporting frameworks: Recommendations and practice in reporting, including allocation and impact reports, and templates offered by the GBP SBP
  • Understand external reviews and other services: The role and value-added of service providers, notably external reviews foreseen by the GBP SBP and increasingly by regulators
  • Identify perspectives and roles of the key players in the GSS bond market including –regulators, investors, underwriters, issuers, external reviewers including rating agencies, stock exchanges, data and index providers.

Who should attend?
  • Firms who are looking to issue or invest in green, social and sustainability bonds
  • Market professionals involved in underwriting, research or professional services for sustainable 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
  • Press, academics and other professionals with an interest in sustainable finance and the merits of sustainable bond markets

Course coordinator - Online self-study

Raymond Seager

Course trainers - Livestreamed

Raymond Seager
Simone Utermarck
ICMA Zurich

T: +41 44 363 4222
Dreikönigstrasse 8
8002 Zurich
ICMA London

T: +44 20 7213 0310
110 Cannon Street
London EC4N 6EU
ICMA Paris

T: +33 1 70 17 64 72
62 rue la Boétie
75008 Paris
ICMA Brussels

T: +32 2 801 13 88
Avenue des Arts 56
1000 Brussels
ICMA Hong Kong

T: +852 2531 6592
Unit 3603, Tower 2
Lippo Centre
89 Queensway, Admiralty
Hong Kong
Copyright © 2021 International Capital Market Association.