Green bonds: 2016 in review

Green bonds issuance boomed in 2016, despite the slowdown in new clean energy investment. We look at the most important developments of the green fixed income market in the past year to understand why issuance is rocketing, and where the market could go from here.

  • The green bonds market continues to grow exponentially, with $95.1bn of new issues in 2016.
  • Banks are becoming increasingly comfortable raising capital by selling green notes.
  • Corporate activity grew, but is still limited.
  • Growth in green bonds depends on more issues by mainstream companies.
  • Governments are about to enter the green bond market at scale.
  • Green securitizations are booming, but solar bond financing stalled.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch remains the largest underwriter of green bonds in 2016,
    acting as lead or joint book-runner for $7.8bn of new issues.
  • The green bond market has plenty of headroom for further growth.


Figure 1: Total green bond issuance by bond type

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Note: ABS/MBS stands for asset-back securities and mortgage-backed securities. ‘Gov agencies’ are government agencies. Bonds issued in other currencies are converted to USD using the exchange rate on the day of issue. Corporations are non-financial corporate issues.

This report was first published to BNEF clients.

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