Briefing: Green bonds as a bridge to the SDGs

Climate mitigation and adaptation underpin meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Green bonds can serve as a bridge to achieving SDGs. 

 

Alongside the rapid growth of green bonds, new thematic bonds are appearing in the market. These include social bonds, sustainability bonds, Environmental Social and Governance (ESG)-bonds and the latest addition, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-bonds.

All replicate the green bond model in requiring disclosure and reporting from the issuer to connect investors with assets that deliver a positive sustainability impact.

The UN SDGs specify the global sustainability targets that are critical for our future societies and economies. Core to the 2030 Agenda, the SDGs is a list of 17 goals that cover both green and social themes.
 

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The 17 SDGs are interdependent: for example, food production (SDG2) is an individual goal, but food production is connected to life on land (SDG15), in the sea (SDG14), as well as water (SDG6) and climate action (SDG13).

Similarly, climate mitigation and adaptation is presented as a stand-alone goal (SDG13), but it is also a crosscutting action.

Achieving the climate goal is reliant on approaching the other SDGs with a climate lens, specially Clean Water & Sanitation (SDG6), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG7) Industry Innovation & Infrastructure (SDG9), Sustainable Cities (SDG11) and Life on Land (SDG15).

In turn, the level of climate action achieved will impact all other SDGs and if and how they will be achieved. Reducing exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events is a sub-goal of the overarching goal of no poverty (SDG1). Food security (SDG2) overall is expected to worsen with climate change. Health (SDG3) is another example where climate change is estimated to have severe negative impact. Not only climate mitigation is important when considering how to meet the Goals, but also climate resilience.

The list goes on: all the SDGs bear some relation to climate action since climate change is a global issue that impacts all countries and sectors. Climate is a crosscutting theme relevant to all the SDGs.

In the words of the UN:

“Climate change presents the single biggest threat to development (…) Urgent action to combat climate change and minimize its disruptions is integral to the successful implementation of the SDGs.”

 

Download the full briefing here.