Green Bonds: S&P Global has Bought Shades of Green Business

USA-based financial information and analytics company S&P Global Inc. has acquired the business Shades of Green, one of the world’s largest providers of second party opinions on green bonds, from CICERO (Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research), a Norwegian climate research center.

According to S&P Global, the acquisition will be integrated into S&P Global Ratings and further expand the “breadth and depth of its second party opinions (SPOs) offering”. SPOs are independent assessments of a company’s financing or framework’s alignment with market standards and are typically provided before any borrowing is raised. As reported by the Norwegian vendor, CICERO would receive about 20 million US-Dollar in cash “which will be spent on independent, high-quality climate research”.

“This deal greatly increases the impact of our work”, Kristin Halvorsen, director of CICERO and former Minister of Finance for Norway, was cited. “We have taken the Shades of Green methodology as far as we could. I am very happy that S&P Global will continue this work and realize the full global potential of Shades of Green.”

CICERO issued the world’s first second party opinion on green bonds for the World Bank in 2008. That started what has since become a global industry with several international players for assessing the environmental integrity of green bonds. The green bond activities were placed in a subsidiary in 2018 with a majority ownership by the climate research center. Shades of Green provides independent, research-based evaluations of green bond and sustainability financing frameworks to determine their environmental robustness. “The company has received numerous awards for the quality of its work and is ranked by Climate Bonds Initiative as the world’s largest provider of second opinions on green bonds by number of transactions,” CICERO underlined. The company would estimate to have helped provide climate risk transparency on more than 380 billion US-Dollar to projects accelerating the climate transition.

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 1/2023, Page 9, Photo: Arul /