Water bonds standard to be used first by San Francisco

The Water Climate Bonds Standard aims to promote investment in sustainable water projects © CBI

The Water Climate Bonds Standard, developed by the Climate Bonds Initiative to promote sustainable water investment, has been officially recognised by the US government at the White House Water Summit.

The summit took place on World Water Day with the aim of fortifying commitments towards a sustainable and secure water future.

“To address water sustainability, we need to shift investable capital towards adaptive and resilient projects in a short space of time,” said Sean Kidney, CEO at the Climate Bonds Initiative. “This positive acknowledgement by the White House of the Water Climate Bonds Standard’s role in evaluating blue/green investments will boost investor confidence.”

In partnership with Ceres, the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, CDP, and the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Climate Bonds Initiative launched the new Water Climate Bonds Standard with a focus on vulnerability assessment and climate mitigation and adaptation planning for the fixed income space.

The Water Climate Bonds Standard has been created to provide investors with verifiable, science-based criteria for evaluating bonds earmarked for financing sustainable water infrastructure projects. The Standard will also help corporate, municipal and other bond issuers expand their green bond offerings into water-related projects.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission expects to be the first issuer to align a forthcoming bond sale with the Standard in order to finance sustainable storm water management and wastewater projects.

“As utilities across the nation invest in our ageing water, power and sewer systems much of that work is to directly address the protection of our environment and the growing impacts of  climate change,” said Harlan Kelly, General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. “San Francisco is proud to be prioritising sustainable bond financing options to support our infrastructure work, and the Water Climate Bonds’ Standard will help investors grow this market.”

The Standard can be used to evaluate projects as diverse as energy or industrial water efficiency, reuse, catchment or watershed restoration and or large-scale water supply infrastructure development.

“San Francisco PUC is paving the way for other public authorities internationally to issue certified climate bonds for water infrastructure upgrades,” said Justine Leigh-Bell, Global Standards Manager, Climate Bonds Initiative. “It’s a vote of confidence that the Water Climate Bonds Standard is relevant and applicable for assessing water bonds.”