Climate Standards Board Approves New Criteria for Climate-Resilient Water Bonds: Science-Based Process to Ensure Sustainability of Water Infrastructure Investments

The Climate Standards Board has approved a new Criteria for climate-resilient water bonds. Investors now have a verifiable, science-based screening process to evaluate bond investments earmarked for financing sustainable water-based infrastructure projects.



What’s it all about?

The new Water Criteria are a key segment of the Climate Bonds Standard, and will certify water investments that have:

  1. Carried out climate vulnerability assessments considering past, present and future climate risks and environmental losses and;
  1. Created resulting adaptation and/or mitigation plans.


Why water?

Water-related infrastructure needs are enormous, with the American Water Works Association (AWWA) estimating that the cost of repairing and expanding U.S. drinking water infrastructure will top USD 1 trillion in the next 25 years.

Many other nations also have serious water issues and growing water infrastructure demands.


What kind of water projects are covered?

Projects as diverse as energy or industrial water efficiency, reuse, catchment or watershed restoration and/or large-scale water supply infrastructure development could be included.

The Criteria will provide assistance to corporate, municipal, city based and other bond issuers seeking to ensure their bond offerings for water-related infrastructure, or water systems within industrial and manufacturing processes, maximise sustainability and environmental factors.


The development process

Development has been led and supported by a Consortium convened by the Climate Bonds Initiative that includes Ceres, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), CDP, and the World Resources Institute (WRI). The Criteria were developed by a Technical Working Group (TWG) and an Industry Working Group (IWG) which includes additional water expertise through representation from other NGOs, industry experts and water authorities.

Co-ordinating the development of the criteria through the TWG is Lead Specialist Dr John Matthews, of the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA), which is supported by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI).


Development Stages

Phase I of the Climate Bonds Water Criteria has focussed primarily on screening grey (built) water infrastructure projects and assets.

Phase II development is now underway, beginning the process of extending the scope of the Criteria to include ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation for investments in green (nature based) water projects and assets. 


Who’s saying what?

John Matthews - Water TWG Lead Specialist, AGWA Consortium Representative

“The Technical Working Group's work concentrated on the resilience and greenhouse gas impacts of water investments as expressions in concrete and stone, embedded in a matrix of economic and ecological systems. I am exceptionally proud of how the TWG tackled this issue with sophistication and an eye to practicality and implementation.”

“These goals mark an abrupt shift in how many issuers and investors have seen climate change as a distant, abstract issue, to something that influences their investment and sustainability strategy.”


Monica Freyman - Director, Investor Initiatives, Ceres Water Program

“Water infrastructure is vastly underfunded and this is especially true for sustainable water infrastructure, which is critical for helping us adapt to the extremes of climate change – whether drought, violent downpours or flooding. Approval of the Water Climate Bonds Criteria will be extremely helpful in catalyzing credible growth in this hugely important market.”


Cate Lamb - Head of CDP Water Program

“CDP is delighted at today's announcement, which represents another step on the road from Paris. Delivering a low carbon, water secure future may be one of the defining challenges of the 21st Century. The Climate Bonds Water Standard represents a significant contribution to overcoming this challenge and enhancing resiliency.”


Sean Kidney - CEO Climate Bonds Initiative

“The need for all water usage systems and infrastructure (both small and large) to be designed in anticipation of a climate impacted future, is undeniable. Today’s water investments must be built upon anticipation of the changing conditions to be faced in forthcoming decades.  

“The Water Criteria is a sound basis to assist investors to evaluate and assess resilience and adaptation and sustainability characteristics of water projects and infrastructure.”


The last word

The Water Criteria, guidance notes for investors and issuers and a handy FAQ can all be found on our website. Consortium members are available to discuss or present on the Criteria in more detail.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this media release does not constitute investment advice and the Climate Bonds Initiative is not an investment adviser. Links to external websites are for information purposes only. The Climate Bonds Initiative accepts no responsibility  for content on external websites.

The Climate Bonds Initiative is not advising on the merits or otherwise of any investment. A decision to invest in anything is solely yours. The Climate Bonds Initiative accepts no liability of any kind for investments any individual or organisation makes, nor for investments made by third parties on behalf of an individual or organisation.