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The Green OAT Evaluation Council, chaired by Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, former Minister for the Environment in Peru, president of UNFCCC* COP20 and WWF Global Climate and Energy Practice Leader, held its first meeting today under the aegis of the French Minister of State reporting to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Ms Brune Poirson, and the French Minister of State, attached to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Ms Delphine Gény-Stephann represented by Ms Odile Renaud-Basso, Director General of the Treasury.
The Green OAT Evaluation Council
With the issue of the first Green OAT in January 2017, the French government committed itself to publishing reports on the ex-post environmental impact of Eligible Green Expenditure at appropriate intervals, depending on the type of expenditure. This is an unprecedented reporting commitment for a green bond and contributes to setting high standards on this market.
The Green OAT Evaluation Council is chaired by Manuel Pulgar-Vidal and its members are seven 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;
- Ma Jun, Director of the Center for Finance and Development and Special Adviser to the Governor of the People's Bank of China;
- Karin Kemper, Senior Director for the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice at the World Bank;
- 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.
The Council also includes two observers:
- 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 OAT Evaluation Council will define the specifications and schedule for evaluation reports on the environmental impact of Eligible Green Expenditure financed by France’s green sovereign bond. The Council will also give its opinion on the quality of the evaluation reports and the impact and relevance of the findings. All of its work will be published on the Agence France Trésor website. The Secretariat of the Green OAT Evaluation Council will be provided jointly by the General Commission for Sustainable Development and the Directorate General of the Treasury.
During the meeting, the members of the Green OAT Evaluation Council defined their working methods and addressed the priorities for their schedule of evaluations.
The next meeting of the Green OAT Evaluation Council will be held in June 2018. The first evaluation reports on the impact of Eligible Green Expenditure should be published in 2018.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal says: « Being in charge of assessing the environmental impact of Eligible Green Expenditure financed by France’s sovereign green bond, the Green OAT Evaluation Council is entrusted with a prominent task. Our work will contribute to setting high standards in the Green Bonds market ».
Background and framework for the Green OAT
On 24 January 2017, Agence France Trésor launched the first French sovereign green bond with a maturity of 22 years. The Green OAT 1.75% 25 June 2039 issuance amount was €7bn, making it the largest and longest-dated green benchmark bond ever issued. 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. The outstanding amount of the bond currently stands at €9.7bn.
In keeping with the commitments that France made for the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement under the terms of the Energy Transition and Green Growth Act, France's Green OAT will fund 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 proceeds will be managed in compliance with the general budget rule and finance an equivalent amount of Eligible Green Expenditure. In practice, the proceeds of the Green OAT are managed like those of a conventional OAT, but the allocations to Eligible Green Expenditure are tracked and reported.
AFT will tap the Green OAT after the initial issuance to maintain its liquidity, as it does for conventional benchmark OATs. Consequently, the outstanding amount of the Green OAT will be increased by successive tap issues. The proceeds from tap issues will also be matched to Eligible Green Expenditure, as the cumulative amount of such expenditure rises over the coming years.
On the occasion of the first issue, Agence France Trésor also committed itself to reporting on the expenditure actually financed by the green OAT and the related performance indicators. These two additional reports on green OAT issuance in 2017 will be published in the first half of 2018, after the 2017 Budget Review Act, the budget legislation that sets the definitive amounts of central government expenditure and revenue at the end of the fiscal year and the resulting fiscal balance.
Agence France Trésor (AFT)
+33 1 4004 1550
* UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change