New €100m Dutch green bank could issue bonds

Investment proposal planned for next year

A new Dutch green investment body modelled on the UK’s Green Investment Bank could issue green bonds, according to a former Rabobank executive involved in the project.

The Holland Financial Centre, which is overseeing the scheme, last week got the go-ahead from the Dutch government under the ‘green deal’ to conduct a feasibility study into a Green Investment Corporation (GIC).
“It will be a public private partnership in all aspects,” Ruud Nijs, the former Rabobank Corporate Social Responsibility head who is Programme Manager for the project within Holland Financial Centre, told Responsible Investor’s ESG Europe conference in Amsterdam. Also involved in the project is Robeco’s Chief Economist Lex Hoogduin.

“It is expected that the GIC will help to make more funds available for vital investment in sustainable economic growth and create much needed job opportunities in theconstruction and energy industries,” the Holland Financial Center said in a statement.

Nijs said the new body “can mitigate risks in terms of information, scale and volatility”. It will have four specific roles: as a co-financier, a matchmaker and aggregator and as a knowledge center.

He suggested the new institution could aggregate projects in the €200m-300m range into an index-linked green bond – and create “a new market for Dutch pension funds”.

“I think the pension funds are telling us they want to do ESG investments but are bypassing the Netherlands – that’s to do with regulation,” he said.

The next stage is to formulate an investment proposal, due in February 2012. The green corporation would have an initial €100m of funding.