Head of Sustainable Finance Advisory Jacob Michaelsen reflects on what Nordea aims to bring to the discussion.
Nordea has been selected as a member of the Advisory Council to the Green Bond Principles (GBP) and Social Bond Principles (SBP) Executive Committee for 2020-2021. The bank is one of 40 organisations elected to the council after a competitive selection process involving market participants and stakeholders around the world.
The GBP, SBP and Sustainability Bond Guidelines are the leading global framework for the issuance of green, social and sustainability bonds. They provide guidance for issuers on reporting, disclosure and transparency, with the aim of helping investors assess the environmental and social impact of their investments. The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) is secretariat for the principles, and the Executive Committee is the governing body, deciding on any changes to the principles via market participation, consultations and working groups.
The Advisory Council was established in 2019 to provide input to the Executive Committee on key developments and to increase its market awareness and outreach. Members run voluntarily for a renewable term of one year and include a broad cross-section of issuers, investors and underwriters as well as key market stakeholders, such as rating agencies, external reviewers, NGOs and law firms.
“We are honoured to join the Advisory Council. As an active player in the sustainable debt markets, we take pride in not only advising our clients but also in driving the markets forward. We’re excited to put our expertise to use as part of the council, which has an important role to play in the overall development of the sustainable finance markets,” says Jacob Michaelsen, Head of Sustainable Finance Advisory at Nordea.
Shaping the sustainable finance markets of the future
The Nordics are undisputed trailblazers when it comes to sustainability and sustainable finance, and Nordea brings its expertise as the leading sustainable debt house in the region. Nordea’s Sustainable Finance Advisory unit works closely with clients on both sustainable bond and loan products, advising on broader sustainable finance developments. The bank has also played an active role in the market’s evolution, participating in ICMA’s workshops and panel discussions.
“We hope to bring value to the council from day one, looking not just to comment on and support the work but also to lead by bringing our own ideas and vision for how to advance the development of the sustainable finance markets,” says Michaelsen.
The sustainable finance landscape is rapidly evolving against a backdrop of political and regulatory developments. In Europe, the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group has introduced the EU Green Bond Standard, a voluntary standard linked to the EU Taxonomy for sustainable economic activities, taking effect in 2021. While the new EU standard is largely based on the existing Green Bond Principles, it will still take time before it becomes fully operational, and the GBPs will therefore continue to be the main and global reference point for some time, according to Michaelsen.
In addition to its bread-and-butter work with sustainable bond and loan products, Nordea also has a strong history of shaping the future of sustainable finance at an organisational level. Nordea was chosen as an active member of the European Commission’s Technical Expert Group, with executive adviser Aila Aho selected as the Rapporteur for the EU GBS sub-group. The bank is also a founding member of the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking, including the Global Banking Board. What’s more, its asset management division, Nordea Asset Management, is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top responsible investors.
“We bring a lot of internal competence on these issues, and, surrounded by a market steeped in sustainable finance, we see the Advisory Council as a natural place for us to be,” says Michaelsen.
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