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Record-breaking year for global sustainable bond issuances

2021 became another record year in which Danske Bank retained the position as the leading Nordic sustainable bond arranger. Danske Bank’s arranged volume tripled and there is no indication that the development is about to change.

The global market for sustainable bonds has grown significantly in recent years, and 2021 was no exception, as the numbers doubled compared to the record year 2020.

Sustainable bonds are used by for instance corporates, financial institutions, supranationals and government agencies to finance projects providing a clear sustainable benefit. In 2021, Danske Bank helped its customers to issue 118 sustainable bonds worth of 325 billion Danish kroner, which is three times as much as in 2020. According to Bloomberg, Danske Bank’s League credit for arranged sustainable bonds was 74.8 billion Danish kroner, which is almost twice as much as in 2020.

Among the issuers are for instance Finnish Kojamo, Swedish Lantmännen and Norwegian Lerøy.

Customer appetite for sustainable bonds has increased remarkably during the past three years.

Lars Mac Key

Head of DCM Sustainable Bonds, Danske Bank

“Customer appetite for sustainable bonds has increased remarkably during the past three years and especially last year where the volume has grown faster than anyone could imagine,” Says Lars Mac Key, Head of DCM Sustainable Bonds at Danske Bank. He explains:

“Our customers want to secure financing that supports their sustainable transition and therefore we have seen an increase in all sustainable finance types. Yet, green bonds still holds the green jersey as they are particularly high in demand for issuers as well as investors.”

Nordic issuance of sustainable bonds by country

Sustainable bonds across the Nordics
The Nordic region is among the leading when it comes to issuing green bonds, which is driven by a strong sustainability focus from the Nordic issuers and dedicated green investors.

Looking at the Nordic market for sustainable bonds, Sweden is the frontrunner as green bonds have been high on the agenda among Swedish corporates and institutions for many years. As an example, in 2021 40 per cent of all corporate bonds issued in Swedish krona was in a sustainable bond format.

Even if Swedish issuers continue to be the most active, the greatest Nordic volume increase was from Norwegian issuers. Denmark and Finland are also picking up speed as the Danish issuances nearly doubled, whereas the Finnish increased by 25 per cent.

New record in 2022?
The first month of 2022 shows no indication of a downturn around the corner and Lars Mac Key predicts that the market for sustainable bonds will continue to grow in 2022.

“I expect that the green bond market will continue its positive trend as the need for financing of green projects sees no end, making 2022 another record year. Moreover, I expect the market for sustainability-linked bonds to grow rapidly as it enable issuers to link their finance with one or more sustainability targets and thereby show full commitment to integrating sustainability into the core of their business.”

Bloomberg's League table 

According to Bloomberg’s League table for 2021, Danske Bank ranked number 12 in global green bonds.

Danske Bank arranged almost twice as much as the Nordic runner up in both green bonds and in total sustainable bonds.

Terminology explained

  • Green bonds - to finance green projects
  • Social bonds – to finance social projects
  • Sustainability bonds – to finance a combination of green and social projects
  • Sustainability-linked bonds – to finance general corporate purposes and link it to one or more of the issuer’s sustainability targets.
  • Sustainable bonds – the overall term for green, social, sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds.