On 24 January 2017, Agence France Trésor launched the first French sovereign green bond, the Green OAT 1.75% 25 June 2039 for an issuance amount of €7bn.By becoming the first country in the world to issue a sovereign green benchmark bond, France confirmed its role as a driving force for the implementation of the goals of the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
France's Green OAT funds central government budget expenditure and expenditure under the “Invest for the Future” programme to fight climate change, adapt to climate change, protect biodiversity and fight pollution.
The funds raised are handled like funds from a conventional OAT and managed in compliance with the general budget rule. However, they are matched to an equivalent amount of Eligible Green Expenditure and the aggregate of such expenditure in a given year sets the limit for Green OAT issuance.
AFT has regularly taped the Green OAT since the initial issuance to maintain its liquidity, as it does for conventional benchmark OATs. Consequently, the outstanding amount of the Green OAT has been increased by successive tap issues. The proceeds from tap issues are also matched to Eligible Green Expenditure, as the cumulative amount of such expenditure has rised over the years (see Green OAT fact sheet).
France provides several types of report to investors: an annual report on allocation and performance indicators and a report on ex post impacts at an appropriate frequency. The ex-post impact reporting is reviewed by an independent Council.
The Green OATs Evaluation Council is chaired by Manuel Pulgar-Vidal and its members are eight independent experts:
- Mats Andersson, Vice-Chairman of the Global Challenges Foundation, Chairman of PDC and former CEO of AP4, Sweden’s fourth national pension fund;
- Nathalie Girouard, Head of the Environmental Performance and Information Division of the Environment Directorate at the OECD;
- Mike Holland, independant consultant ;
- Karin Kemper, Senior Director for the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank;
- Rana Roy, independant consultant ;
- Thomas Sterner, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Gothenburg;
- Eric Usher, Head of the Secretariat of the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative.
Two observers also take part in the Council:
- Sean Kidney, co-founder and CEO of the Climate Bond Initiative;
- Nicolas Pfaff, Senior Director and Secretary to the Green Bond Principles, ICMA (International Capital Market Association).
The Green OATs Evaluation Council defines the specifications and schedule for evaluation reports on the environmental impact of Eligible Green Expenditure financed by France’s green sovereign bond. The Council also gives its opinion on the quality of the evaluation reports and the impact and relevance of the findings. All of its work is published on the Agence France Trésor website. The Secretariat of the Green OATs Evaluation Council is provided jointly by the General Commission for Sustainable Development and the Directorate General of the Treasury.