Sustainable debt market set to top $1tn this year

Sustainability-linked debt issuance reached $680bn in the first six months, more than double the amount in the first half of 2020

The Red Sea Development Company raised $3.76bn in green funding in April. Image courtesy of TRSDC.
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The market for sustainable finance is set to top $1 trillion this year, a 30 per cent increase on 2020, according to a new paper from the Institute of International Finance.

Sustainable debt issuance globally rose to $680 billion in the first six months – more than twice the figure for the same period last year and close to 2020's full-year total of $700bn.

The $1tn of issuance of green financing in 2021 will bring the total size of the market to more than $3tn, most of which consists of green loans.

"The size of the green bond market has now surpassed $1tn, with average daily secondary market trading reaching $2.7bn this year – up from $1.6bn in 2020," the IIF report said.

"Despite this rapid expansion, the green bond market is still relatively small – less than 1 per cent of the global bond market – and not sufficiently diversified."

The bulk of the green bonds in circulation so far have been issued by financial companies, utilities and sovereign governments, but the investor base is broadening, the IIF said.

In the Middle East and North Africa, $6.4bn of green financing linked to sustainable projects was issued in the first half of this year, according to Bloomberg's H1 2021 Capital Markets League table. The figure was higher than the entire amount issued in the region last year and was bolstered by a 14.12bn Saudi riyal ($3.76bn) green financing deal announced in April for The Red Sea Development Company.

Most of the green loans in issuance have been used to fund renewable energy schemes, with power generation projects and utilities companies also attracting substantial capital.

Updated: July 16, 2021, 5:30 AM