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Investors award CICERO Shades of Green as best external assessment provider

For the third year in a row, CICERO Shades of Green is recognised for its Second Opinions on green bonds and awarded the external assessment provider of the year by Environmental Finance.

The winners were decided by a panel 24 independent judges made up of some of the biggest investors in the green, social and sustainability bond market. The sustainable investment and green finance magazine Environmental Finance announced the winners of their 2019 Bond Awards on 2 April.

“We are proud and honored that our work on Second Opinions on green bonds is noticed and recognised for its quality by market actors. Our aim is to continue to improve transparency on climate risk for investors, and provide thought leadership on what is green and sustainable”, said CICERO Shades of Green CEO Harald Francke Lund.

One judge said the company provides "the most credible of second party opinions". Another said it "stands out as an external assessment provider with a high quality, science-based approach and very informative SPOs", according to Environmental Finance.

This is the second international award for CICERO Shades of Green this year. In London on 5 March, CICERO Shades of Green received a Green Bond Pioneer award from the Climate Bonds Initiative for being the largest external reviewer globally in 2018.

Green and social together

A key innovation in 2018 was CICERO’s first rating of a sustainability bond framework for the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) together with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) think tank.

“We combined the review of green and social aspects providing a holistic review of the sustainability bond and its relationship with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Only if the green and social criteria are viewed in connection with each other – and not in isolation – can sustainability bonds avoid unintended negative consequences”, said Christa Clapp, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of CICERO Shades of Green. 

Green shading of investments

The company uses the Shades of Green methodology, a climate-science rating method that focuses on avoiding a lock-in of greenhouse gas emissions over the assets’ lifetime and promoting transparency regarding resilience planning and strategy. Green bond frameworks are rated from dark to light green. Dark green is allocated to projects and solutions that correspond to the long-term vision of a low carbon and climate resilient future.

“Our Shades of Green methodology is increasingly recognized as an effective way to assist investors in understanding climate risk and how green their investments really are”, said Clapp.

CICERO Center for International Climate Research in Norway has for the past ten years been providing independent research-based evaluation of green bonds. The research institute has completed more than 100 Second Opinions, reviewing bonds with a total volume of $170 billion.

To meet demands in a growing market and further professionalize its interdependent research-based ratings of green bonds, CICERO Center for International Climate Research established a new subsidiary on 1 December 2018 – CICERO Shades of Green Ltd. The subsidiary remains embedded in CICERO’s climate research activities by relying on methodology development and quality control from climate researchers.

Miriam Dahl