Greenlight for Green Bonds in City of Portland

The City of Portland, Oregon is aiming to use green bonds as a financing tool to deliver the city’s sustainability goals. Green bonds can underwrite the infrastructure needed to reduce carbon emissions and become more resilient to the effects of climate change.

On June 24, 2015, following engagement with a wide group of C40 cities through the Sustainable Infrastructure Finance Network, Portland  passed a resolution supporting the use of green bonds and directing City staff to develop guidance for future green bond issuance.

Mayor Hales and the President of Portland State University at the opening of a Parklet in Portland, OR

“Green bonds present a great opportunity to match the City’s climate-related priorities to a market looking for reliable, environmentally sound investment options,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.  

The resolution passed with unanimous support from City Commissioners, and the City will now begin to develop a “top-shelf” framework defining project eligibility; expenditure tracking; requirements for reporting project outcomes; and other program considerations.

Mayor Hale has stated that the key to receiving maximum financial benefit from green bonds is to develop credibility among potential investors. Portland’s green bond framework will define the terms and conditions under which the City will issue green bonds; that way, green investors will be assured that environmental objectives are being fulfilled.

Portland – a longstanding C40 member – has a well-established history of climate leadership, as well as strong financial performance. The City expects to issue its first green bond in 2016, and City leaders are optimistic that their efforts can help guide discussion around green bond best practices by local governments around the world.

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