'A game changer for Ireland' – World Bank's Dublin-listed €1.5bn sustainable development bond

THE decision by the World Bank to list a €1.5bn Sustainable Development Bond on the Irish Stock Exchange Euronext, its first 10-year bond since 2009, is a “game changer” in positioning Ireland’s as a leading centre for sustainable finance.

That’s according to Stephen Nolan, CEO of Sustainable Nation Ireland, an initiative that promotes Ireland as a world-leading hub for sustainable finance.

He made the comments after the World Bank made the announcement as key figures gathered in Dublin for a major sustainable finance conference.

The World Bank has priced a 10-year Global Sustainable Development Bond, raising €1.5bn from institutional investors around the globe, to finance its sustainable development activities and engage investors with their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Natixis and TD Securities are the lead managers for the transaction. The bond will be listed on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange and an application will be made to list it on Euronext Dublin.

The announcement was streamed live from Euronext Dublin (the Irish Stock Exchange) to a conference in Dublin to mark Sustainable Finance Day 2019. The conference was jointly convened by Sustainable Nation Ireland and by the Department of Finance. The announcement was watched by delegates and guest speakers including Taoiseach Leo Vardakas and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton.

Commenting, Sustainable Nation Ireland CEO Stephen Nolan, said: “From an Irish and also global perspective, the decision by the World Bank to list its first bond in Dublin in 25 years, is nothing short of a game changer for Ireland. It is a highly significant moment for the entire agenda as we build Ireland’s expertise and leadership in sustainable finance. This is further evidence that Dublin is forging a reputation a leading global center for sustainable finance.

“The World Bank bond aligns with the Government’s key focus areas for development which includes prioritising climate action, as evidenced in the recently launched ‘Ireland for Finance’ strategy.

“In the last year, the National Treasury Management Agency issued its first-ever green bond worth €3 billion, Ireland voted to become the first nation in the world to fully divest public money of fossil fuels and Dublin was named the European headquarters of UN Environment Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S). These developments are key to unlocking the capital required to finance projects that can ultimately fight climate change and create a world for future generations.”

The timing of World Bank bond was planned to coincide with today’s conference that convened leading global bond issuers, investors, and other key market participants for action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event, entitled Catalysing Global Savings to Advance our Sustainability Goals, highlighted Ireland’s role in sustainable finance efforts to channel more institutional savings towards sustainable projects around the globe.

The conference featured George Richardson, a director of capital markets at the World Bank. Other organisations attending included the Asian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, BlackRock, BNP Paribas and SEB.

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