The European Commission issued its inaugural green bonds Tuesday, raising 12 billion euros (US$13.8 billion) from a sale that attracted strong demand from investors.
The EU’s executive branch is planning to issue up to 250 billion euros in green bonds by the end of 2026 as part of its plans to finance the 27-nation bloc’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
The EU commission said the 15-year bond was more than 11 times oversubscribed, with books exceeding 135 billion euros.
Johannes Hahn, the commissioner in charge of budget and administration, said “this marks the largest green bond order book ever in global capital markets, and the largest green bond ever issued, not in Europe, but in the world.”
To finance the recovery stimulus, the EU’s executive arm said it will raise from capital markets up to an estimated 800 billion euros by the end of 2026, of which 30% are to be raised via green bonds. In total, the bloc’s 27 nations have agreed on a 1.8 trillion euro budget and pandemic recovery package.
The EU has the ambition to become a leader in the market of green bonds, which are reserved for sustainable investment.
“It will allow investors to diversify their portfolio of green investments with a highly rated liquid asset, thereby potentially accelerating a virtuous circle of sustainable investments,” Hahn said.
As part of its “Green Deal” ambition, the EU has pledged to cut emissions of the gases that cause global warming by 55% over this decade and has set the target of being carbon-neutral by 2050.
To receive their share of the recovery aid, EU countries have accepted that their national plans must dedicate at least 37% of the budgets to climate-related projects.
“Our future is green and it is extremely important that we seize the opportunity to clearly show to investors that their funds will be used to finance a sustainable European recovery,” Hahn said.