ICO brings together the main international issuers and investors to discuss the sustainable bonds market

ICO brings together the main international issuers and investors to discuss the sustainable bonds market

The programme for the event was structured into four discussion panels, enabling all of the parties involved in issuing these types of bonds to express their views.

Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) brought together the main issuers, investors, agencies and other market participants in Madrid to discuss green and social bonds. Sustainability Bonds are used to finance operations that generate a positive social or environmental impact.

The presentations and discussions that took place over the course of the day examined a wide range of issues in order to analyse the current situation and the future challenges faced by the market. The programme was structured into four discussion panels: issuers, investors, banks and rating agencies and indices. Experts from the leading national and international financial institutions participated on each of the panels. This enabled the attendees to hear from all of the parties involved in making a sustainable bond issue.

The chairwoman of ICO, Emma Navarro, and the Secretary General of the Treasury and Financial Policy, Rosa Sánchez-Yebra opened the forum organised by ICO.

In opening the event, ICO chairwoman Emma Navarro highlighted "the value to our institution of this type of social bond issue, as it contributes to financing SMEs and generates employment and growth in regions that need it the most".

For her part, Rosa Sanchez-Yebra said, "Thanks to the political stability that has made it possible for the government to adopt an ambitious reform programme aimed at correcting the imbalances present in the Spanish economy, the Spanish Treasury has been able to considerably reduce its funding costs to historic lows. This has made it possible to save more than €22 billion in interest compared to the budget since 2012".

The forum highlighted the significant growth of the sustainable bond market, with 28 new issuers in 2016, encompassing technology and automotive companies, banks and financial institutions. Emerging countries are the main players in the growth of this market.

Participants also highlighted the recent launch of the "Guidance for Issuers of Social Bonds" published by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA). Furthermore, ICO has set up a working group led by the ICMA to develop and approve the "Social bond principles" to help promote a stable regulatory framework.

ICO, a leading issuer

ICO has pioneered the sustainable bonds market, focussing on social bonds. In April this year, it launched its second issue of social bonds totalling €500 million. This issue reiterates ICO's commitment made last year when it launched the largest social bond issue to date and the first by a state-owned bank in Europe, worth more than €1 billion.

The funds generated by these operations are used to finance SMEs in regions with a per capita GDP below the national average. The ultimate goal is to help maintain and create employment.