Greening the European Green Bond market

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The green bond market has expanded remarkably over the last few years. In 2020, around €236 billion of green bonds were issued globally (+57% compared to 2018), with Germany, France and the Netherlands accounting for a third of them. Green bond fund assets under management are also growing rapidly, though they only represent between 0.1% and 0.2% of total bond fund assets under management.

Several European initiatives, such as the Sustainable Finance Action Plan, the Green Deal, and the Green Bond Principle have already laid the foundations for sustainable finance. The establishment of an EU Green Bond Standard (GBS) – with the Commission’s legislative proposal expected in Q2 2021 – aims to provide a common EU framework for the European green bond market. Setting the minimum standards and safeguards for the entire ecosystem (e.g. issuers, investors, banks, and exchanges) requires careful calibration with regards to: the definition of “green”; reporting; transparency; pre- and post-issuance verification; rating/opinion providers.

  • What opportunities is the Covid-19 pandemic creating or has already created for the development of the market for green bonds?
  • Do investors’ demand for green bonds meet the supply? Is there an impact on the price differential between green and regular bonds?
  • How to verify and certify that green bonds remain green throughout their life (i.e. pre- and post-issuance)?
  • Is ‘green data’ reliable and trustworthy? How can the quality be improved? Is there a need for a European data provider?
  • How will the GBS affect the volume of green bonds or other sustainability-labeled products (e.g. transition bonds, climate bonds, KPI-linked bonds)?
  • How does the EU GBS relate to other green bond standards (e.g. ICMA’s Green Bond Principles, Climate Bonds Initiative’s Climate Bonds Standard)? 



  • Axel Fougner, Policy Officer, Asset Management, DG FISMA, European Commission
  • Cristina Lacaci, Head of Green and Sustainable Bonds, EMEA, Morgan Stanley
  • Justine Leigh-Bell, Deputy CEO & Director of Market Development, Climate Bonds Initiative
  • Geert Arlman, Commercial Head of ESG EMEA & Regional Head of Sales, UK, IRE & NL, S&P

 Moderated by Karel Lannoo, CEO of CEPS and General Manager, ECMI