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EU 'green bonds' get off to a record start

There was a great deal of interest among investors as the EU's first "green bonds" went on sale. The investments will go towards funding sustainable projects.

Photo of European Union flags

The European Commission has managed to sell a record amount of "green bonds" which will fund climate or environmental-related initiatives

There was a scramble among investors for the European Commission's inaugural issuance of so-called "green bonds" on Tuesday.

The first sale managed to raise €12 billion ($14 billion) from the sale of sustainable debt.

Johannes Hahn, who is the EU budget commissioner, said the sale was unprecedented. "This marks the largest green bond order book ever in global capital markets, and the largest green bond ever issued, not just in Europe but in the world," Hahn told reporters.

What are 'green bonds'?

"Green bonds" are sustainable investments. They are fixed-income financial instruments used in the funding of climate or environmental-related initiatives.

The money that has been raised by the sale of the bonds will be distributed among member states which will then be used on cleaner energy, and other projects that are aimed at helping the bloc reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

The inaugural sale of the 15-year bonds are part of the EU's goal to raise €250 billion in sustainable debt by 2026, which accounts for 30% of the €800 billion the EU seeks to "repair the immediate economic and social damage brought about by the coronavirus pandemic."

Watch video 06:10

Green Investments

EU's high hopes for green investment

The EU aims to become the market leader for sustainable investment, and Brussels believes the issuance of "green bonds" is the key to unlocking that goal.

"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.

EU member states are expected to commit to a budget of at least 37% on climate investments in order to receive aid recovery. There must also be a minimum of 20% expenditure allocated towards digital transition.

Watch video 26:06

Can green investment change the world?

kb/jsi (AP, AFP)