A financial approach to fight climate change: using green bonds to fund sustainable investments
Schwab, Melanie Caroline
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The present thesis deals with the research topic of how green bonds can be used to fund sustainable investments that fight climate change. A key focus lies on how the green bond market can possibly be improved in order to raise more funds and allow a better response to climate change. This thesis uses a literature research approach. This is done by looking at the issue of climate change and the policies and actions to fight it, first. Afterwards, the topic of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments is treated with a particular focus on environmental investments and the types of financial assets, through which an investment can be made. Green bonds are the key subject of this work. Accordingly, their current situation is addressed by analyzing the variety of existing definitions, the market evolution, characteristics and types of green bonds, and their cost of capital. Attention is paid towards the main actors in the market, their role and what can be done by each type of actor to develop the market of green bonds. Additionally, some recent examples from the global market and the real performance of green bonds in the past years are discussed. Concluding the most important findings of this work, the major challenges identified in the global green bond market are the following ones: the missing definition and standards, the on average lower return than on conventional bonds, and the fact that green bonds are not focused on investments in the countries most affected by climate change where urgent adaptation measures are required. To overcome these challenges, it is recommended to establish obligatory standards for green bonds in order to provide security for issuers and investors. The standardization of the market could also provide the opportunity to develop their market in those countries where action is needed most urgently. It is further recommended for issuers and intermediaries to better address the preferences of certain types of investors and direct green bonds towards risk-averse and responsible investors.
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