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Green Bonds for Water

Monday 21 October 8.00-9.00, the Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen


When:  21 October, 2014, 8:00 – 9:15
Where:  Room IV
Organiser:  World Resources Institute (WRI)

Session goals and expected outcomes:

The goal of this pre-launch session was to discuss the opportunity to promote more sustainable water management approaches through qualifying project standards for water “green” bonds. The outcomes of the session include:

  • Understanding of the specific interests of different green bond issuers, bond holders and other stakeholders.
  • Outlining key issues related to eligibility standards for water projects that should qualify as green bonds.
  • Identifting important groups to involve in a potential ‘green bonds for water’ partnership .


In the water sector over the next 15 years, businesses and governments worldwide will need to invest at least US$10 trillion in water infrastructure to alleviate growth constraints and manage urbanization pressures. Conventional, centralized, and energy intensive built infrastructure locks in place expensive outmoded practices and does not meet the water needs of a changing climate in the 21st century.

There is tremendous interest among global investors to invest in good infrastructure projects, and cities have water needs demanding capital. Recent issues of green bonds have been heavily oversubscribed: there is far more demand than available supply. What’s missing is a way to bring the interests of investors and water managers together, and to secure more cost-effective investments in resilient, low-carbon, and natural infrastructure solutions.

Session description:

In this session participants considered various stakeholders’ interests in issuing and purchasing green bonds for water infrastructure needs. They also explored the opportunity for green bonds in the water sector, and discuss the barriers to realizing their full potential. Finally, the challenges of distinguishing between bonds for conventional clean water projects and setting a new agenda for more sustainable water infrastructure approaches through green bonds were highlighted.

Session agenda:

  • Welcome
  • Introduction to session
  • Primer on green bonds and opportunities for water
  • Stakeholder perspectives on green bonds for water opportunity
  • Small group discussions: choose among 2 topics:
     What are the barriers to using green bonds for sustainable water   projects, and how can they be overcome?
     What key criteria are essential for developing water green bond standards? (e.g., water-efficient, energy and resource recovery)
  • Report out
  • Wrap-up and next steps