THE LEX COLUMN: Green bonds and the inconvenient truth
Head of the UK’s debt management office is right in saying environmental bonds are unlikely to be cost effective
Classic grumpy Brit. You have a perfectly decent global market, generating up to $400bn of issuance in 2020 and all of it nicely aligned with cuddly capitalism. Then along comes Robert Stheeman with a large bucket of cold water. Green gilts, reckons the head of the UK’s debt management office, are unlikely to be cost effective.
The inconvenient truth is that he is quite right. Sovereigns and corporates issued an aggregate $255bn of green bonds last year, whose proceeds are supposed to help save the planet. Most trade within the yield curve for their maturity. But they remain illiquid compared with conventional bonds.