In this feature article, Mark Oliphant of The International Stock Exchange Group goes from Brexit and through COVID-19 to explore the impact so far on, and the prospects for the future of, green finance and the wider sustainable investing market.
Market segment for green investments, including bonds, funds and trading companies, which enhance or protect the environment
The focus on environmental sustainability in recent years has led to an established and growing sector of green finance. There is an increasing pool of investors who are mandated either to only invest, or to invest a certain proportion of their assets, into investments which, alongside traditional financial return, provide positive environmental benefits.
TISE GREEN has been established to enable those seeking investment into environmentally beneficial initiatives to highlight their green credentials while, at the same time, providing easier access for investors who are looking to allocate towards those investments which have been verified as meeting globally recognised standards in green finance.
Key features of TISE GREEN:
- Open to any type of green investment, including bonds, funds and trading companies
- Open to issuers from any jurisdiction
- The investment’s green credentials need to be verified by an appropriate third party against a globally recognised standard
- The investment must first be admitted to TISE’s Official List before being eligible for entry to TISE GREEN
- Beyond the usual fees for listing on TISE’s Official List, there is no additional charge for entry to, or an ongoing presence on, TISE GREEN
More information about the process for entry to TISE GREEN is available through the Guidance Note (with FAQs) and Application Form available from this page.
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Guidance & FAQs
This guidance and FAQs set out the purpose of TISE GREEN, what it covers and how it operates, including the required qualifying criteria. It is also available in PDF format in the above documents tab, along with the Application Form.
Green finance is the funding of investments that provide environmental benefits in the broader context of environmental sustainable development.
This is an established sector of finance which has been boosted with United Nations targets and internationally recognised standards. The growth of green finance coincides with the increasing demand from investors who are looking to see a positive impact from investments they have made alongside traditional financial return.
Green finance may be most commonly associated with Green Bonds (e.g. Climate Bonds), however it is a term which can be applied to any security type financing a positive environmental benefit.
TISE believes that the financing of green initiatives which seek to deliver sustainable environmental and social benefits is vital to the future of the planet and all who live on it. TISE notes that parts of this market are well established and require continued global support, whilst others are still nascent, innovating and developing and require promotion and access to capital markets.
Supporting green finance aligns with TISE’s vision and values, and TISE wants to demonstrate its commitment and support by providing a means for listed issuers to visibly demonstrate and promote their green credentials. TISE also hopes that this initiative will attract others to the market who share TISE’s passion for environmental improvement.
TISE GREEN is a market segment available to those on the Official List of TISE, with TISE GREEN approval being subject to certain qualifying criteria and third party verification, set out further below.
TISE GREEN is open to any issuer from any jurisdiction and which has listed on TISE any security whose proceeds are explicitly for the purpose of financing green businesses, investments or projects generating a positive environmental impact.
The verification of green credentials can be achieved by a consultancy review or an industry recognised certification which meets TISE’s minimum criteria:
a) The review or certification should verify the alignment of the use of proceeds to the recognised industry standard, as declared in the supplemental application;
b) The third party should be independent from the issuer, members of the issuer’s group and the directors of the issuer;
c) Any fee paid for the verification should not be based on the outcome of the review, to minimise any conflict of interest; and
d) The third party verification should be less than a year old.
If evidence can be provided of a GFSC Guernsey Green Fund Route 1 Scheme designation and the security in question is listed on TISE, this will automatically qualify the security for TISE GREEN.
The following step-by-step guide sets out the process for receiving TISE GREEN approval.
1. If the issuer’s relevant security is not already listed on the TISE Official List, the issuer must apply for the security to be listed on TISE via a sponsor or listing agent
2. The listing application is reviewed in the usual manner and, if successful, a Grant of Listing is issued
3. The issuer submits, via its sponsor or listing agent, a completed TISE GREEN Application Form with an appropriate third party verification attached
4. TISE reviews the application to ensure the qualifying criteria are satisfied and may request additional information
5. Once approved, the issuer will be added to TISE GREEN, which is displayed on the TISE website
6. The issuer will be sent, via its sponsor or listing agent, a suite of TISE GREEN logos to be used within its own marketing and branding materials, in accordance with the terms and conditions and incorporated guidance
7. The issuer will thereafter, via its sponsor or listing agent, provide an updated third party verification on an annual basis
For further information on how to apply for listing and appoint a sponsor or listing agent, please visit the How to List page of our website.
The TISE GREEN Application Form requires the applicant to outline how the issuer is creating a positive environmental impact with alignment to an industry recognised standard, and a declaration that it will commit to submitting an updated verification of green credentials once a year.
The proceeds raised from bond issuances need to be used for green projects which have a positive environmental benefit.
TISE recognises that the Green Bond Principles guidelines, as produced by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA), provide an industry recognised standard for green projects, and recommends these as a basis for qualifying for TISE GREEN. TISE understands this market is evolving and will aim to publish additional recognised standards when appropriate.
For an investment vehicle, such as a fund, TISE requires that at least 75% of the assets are invested into activities with a positive environmental impact. TISE recognises that the Common Principles for Climate Mitigation Finance Tracking, as published by the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB) and the International Development Finance Club (IDFC), provide a good framework for identifying green projects.
The remaining maximum 25% of the assets are to be held in the form of cash, liquid assets or other investments. These should be negatively screened to ensure that they are not invested in environmentally detrimental projects (i.e. which have a negative environmental impact) including the use of fossil fuels, uranium mining for nuclear power and non-energy capturing waste projects.
To identify activities for negative screening, TISE recognises the exclusion areas identified by the Climate Bonds Taxonomy published by the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). This list is non-exhaustive and reflects the premise that it should not include activities which reduce the positive impact of the green investing. TISE may supplement to this as appropriate.
The nature of the business should be in the environmental sector, promoting products or services to areas such as renewable energy, low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency.
TISE recognises business activities with a positive environmental impact can be associated to sectors as outlined by CBI’s Climate Bonds Taxonomy or the eligible activities in the Common Principles for Climate Mitigation Finance Tracking published by the MDB and IDFC.
Please include details of any recent certifications or awards your business has received as your third party verification.
No. TISE recognises that the applicant will have already paid a listing fee and may have incurred third party verification costs, so will not be levying any additional administrative charge for considering and/or approving TISE GREEN applications.
Yes. Upon TISE GREEN approval of one of its securities, the issuer will be sent, via its sponsor or listing agent, a suite of TISE GREEN logos to be used within its own marketing and branding materials, which are to be used in accordance with TISE’s terms and conditions and incorporated guidance.
Please read the terms and conditions of use in full but it is worth highlighting that the logos are and at all times remain the sole property of The International Stock Exchange Group Limited (TISEG) and that the logos must not be used beyond the time at which the issuer has securities on TISE GREEN.
The CBI has an approved list of certifiers for the Climate Bond Certificate which is complementary to the Green Bond Principles.
Investment Vehicles / Funds
If you have a Guernsey Green Fund Route 1 designation this will satisfy the minimum criteria of a third party verification.
Examples of parties who would be acceptable for a third party review would be an audit firm or rating agency.
Other green fund or investment vehicle certifications will be considered.
Equity - Other
TISE recognises that there are many options for issuers to obtain a third party verification of the green nature of their business. For any queries on whether an award or certification received can as count as third party verification please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Two examples include:
An issuer can provide an application for admission of a security to TISE GREEN at the time of the initial listing application, however it will only be considered once the issuer’s security has been admitted to the Official List of TISE.
Any existing issuer can apply for TISE GREEN approval by providing third party verification which is less than a year old.
So long as an issuer has a valid third party verification in place at the time the application is made, an issuer can apply for a security to be admitted to TISE GREEN.
The period for which an issuer’s security is admitted to TISE GREEN is for one year from the initial admission and this is then renewed on an annual basis thereafter, subject to a renewed valid third party verification being submitted.
Continued admission to TISE GREEN is subject to a valid third party verification being in place at all times.
A renewal of the third party verification is required to be submitted by the issuer to TISE once every 12 months. The renewal should review the actual use of proceeds as compared to the planned use of proceeds and confirm that the issuer is acting within its green investment remit.
TISE will confirm the renewal of the admission to TISE GREEN on an annual basis, subject to the above, and which will confirm the next renewal date.
All issuers are reminded of their continuing obligations requirements under the Listing Rules, in particular the general obligations of disclosure, and should consider what announcements may be required to be made to the market in relation to admission to TISE GREEN and any ongoing reporting requirements and any exit from TISE GREEN.
All issuers are required to provide on an annual basis an updated copy of the third party verification in order to remain on TISE GREEN.
4 weeks prior to the anniversary of admission to TISE GREEN, the issuer, via their Listing Sponsor or Listing Agent, will be notified that an updated copy of the third party verification is required to be submitted.
Issuers have 6 weeks from the expiry of the anniversary of the admission to TISE GREEN to submit the necessary updated third party verification. If the updated third party verification has not been received by this time, TISE will issue a reminder that if this is not received by 12 weeks after the expiry of the anniversary, then the security will be removed from TISE GREEN.
If the updated third party verification has still not been received 9 weeks after the expiry of the admission anniversary, a final warning will be issued that if it has not been received within the next 3 weeks, the security in question will be removed from TISE GREEN.
If the updated third party verification has not been received within 12 weeks of the expiry of the admission anniversary, the security will automatically be removed from TISE GREEN.
Should it become the case that a security no longer meets TISE GREEN criteria, the security may no longer qualify for TISE GREEN.
If it is known the cause cannot be rectified, the security will be removed from TISE GREEN with immediate effect of TISE being notified.
If the cause can be remedied, the issuer will be given a period of 12 weeks to remedy the matter. If after 12 weeks the cause has not been resolved, the issuer will be removed from TISE GREEN with immediate effect. A reminder will be sent to the issuer after 6 weeks if the issue has not been resolved and a final warning after 9 weeks, advising that should the matter not be resolved by 12 weeks, the issuer will be removed from TISE GREEN.
As per the declarations contained on the Application Form, the issuer and the directors agree to notify TISE of any circumstance that may cause the security to no longer qualify for TISE GREEN, including (but not limited to), whether the third party verification has been lost.
Once an issuer has no more securities admitted to TISE GREEN then it must immediately cease use of the TISE GREEN logos and remove the logos from all materials, whether on or offline.