It has been estimated that it will cost nearly $6 trillion to bring U.S. infrastructure into a state of good repair by 2029. While the need is significant, so are the potential financial, environmental, and community benefits of these investments. The municipal debt markets are an avenue for financing the necessary investments to make U.S. infrastructure greener and more resilient to climate change.
Source: Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board
The rapidly growing green bond market has financed projects across multiple sectors, including clean transportation, water and wastewater management, renewable energy and energy efficiency, green buildings, and waste management, as well as supporting climate change adaptation. As the green bond market has grown, investors have sought increased impact disclosure and standardization.
- The Green Bond Principles promote integrity in the green bond market through voluntary process guidelines that recommend transparency, disclosure, and reporting. The Green Bond Principles promote harmonized impact reporting and call for the use of quantitative performance measures and additional initiatives to help further establish impact reporting.
- The California State Treasurer’s Office spearheaded a five-city listening tour in collaboration with the Milken Institute that resulted in a call for greater standardization, disclosure, and reporting.
- The green bond market’s lack of enforceable, widely accepted definitions and ground rules raises costs and slows market development.
- Good disclosure and reporting is the best way to ensure market integrity, allowing investors to perform their own due diligence.
- Issuers should provide qualitative descriptions of each project plus quantitative estimates of greenhouse gas reduction.
- The Milken Institute recommended concrete actions to grow the green bond market in California and the United States.
- Standardize the metrics used to measure the environmental impact of various projects.
- Improve [issuer] data collection to meet growing demands.
- Set a minimum threshold for the market as a whole and establish key performance indicators within various categories of projects.
- Streamline data collection practices.
ACR’s Green Finance Impact Program responds to these calls by providing a standardized, evidence-based approach to impact quantification for green infrastructure financed with municipal bonds.
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