In the "3rd ICO Sustainable Bonds Forum" international investors and issuers analyse the green and social bond market

In the "3rd ICO Sustainable Bonds Forum" international investors and issuers analyse the green and social bond market

The day was opened by Irene Garrido, Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Support, and Pablo Zalba, Chairman of the Instituto de Crédito Oficial.

3rd ICO Sustainable Bonds Forum

The Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Support, Irene Garrido, and the Chairman of Instituto de Crédito Oficial, Pablo Zalba, opened ICO's Sustainable Bonds Forum which, for the third consecutive year, meets in Madrid with issuers, investors, banks, agencies and other participants in the sector to discuss the current situation and market outlooks.

In the last year, the sustainable bonds market has witnessed significant development with the entry of new issuers committed to the principles governing this type of operation. The funds raised under this issue method are used to finance operations which generate a positive social or environmental impact.

In the forum's opening speech, the Secretary of State for the Economy and Business Support, Irene Garrido, signalled that "the ever increasing presence of this type of financial instrument, linked to environmental or social objectives, goes to show that our society is increasingly demanding that economic growth and development be accompanied by the sustainability of economic progress; of the participation of citizens in the development benefits and the equitable distribution of them; and of respect for the environment".

At the same time, she wanted to make it clear that "generating a healthy and sustainable growth pattern is also one of the Government's main objectives, and the reforms proposed over the last few years have been moving in this direction".

For his part, the chairman of ICO, Pablo Zalba, has placed value on the commitment undertaken by the institution, which leads with the development of sustainable bond issues: "I welcome the fact that we are discussing the social dimension of the financial system, something that must be prioritised for sustainable economic development. ICO's focus in this market has been to help preserve and create employment amongst the SMEs from our country's most disadvantaged regions". He also highlighted that, "Spanish society demands ever greater social commitment from institutions and, without a doubt, ICO aspires to contribute to it".

To date, ICO has carried out two "social bond" issues with the aim of promoting the creation or maintenance of employment through the financing of projects developed by self-employed people and SMEs in the Spanish regions that have a per capita income below the national average.

To comply with the commitment to transparency with investors, ICO published a report containing the impact data of the second social bonds operation launched in April 2016 for an amount of 500 million euros. The funds raised with this issue have financed over 11,900 business projects leading to the creation or maintenance of 63,400 jobs.

The presentations and discussions held throughout the day will address the main challenges facing the sustainable bond market. The programme includes four round table discussions in which issuers, investors, banks, agencies and other participants will present the situation of a sector under constant change from each perspective. The forum will also host outstanding speakers such as Pablo de Ramón Laca, Deputy Director General for Funding and Public Debt Management; Careen Abb, head of the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Finance Initiative; and Nicholas Pffaf, Director of Regulatory Policy and Market Practice at ICMA (International Association of Capital Markets).