Generally, issuers and borrowers are quite concerned about this aspect of labelled debt instruments (time and disclosure commitments).
However, the market is not overly sophisticated and generally frameworks are constructed on the basis that impact metrics can be changed and “including but not limited to” type of language.
There are some good practices and great market resources which we explore briefly.
Best practice is to commit to annual reporting and also publish reports in the public domain.
Additionally annual reporting has two aspects:
- Allocation of funding (i.e. to which categories are use of proceeds allocated to) and;
- Impact Metrics (i.e. what is the impact of the monies allocated)?
Whilst technically an issuer/borrower can just report once use of proceeds are fully allocated (maybe at the start of a bond as an example) then no reporting on any impact metrics going forward is needed. Having said this, we don’t believe this is in the spirit of good market practice.
Good practice is to report on allocation and impact metrics for as long as the debt instrument is outstanding, even if allocation is static and only impact numbers change each year.
Apart from the above other best practices include…
- Doing reporting on time;
- Making it clear on the debt/investor section of your website;
- Disclosing challenges and issues in reporting;
- Be clear on assumptions, methodology and estimates;
- Performance based not just input metrics;
- Outcome based where possible.
Best Market Resources:
There is a growing body of work issuers/borrowers can take reference from in the public domain. Precedent transition from issuers and borrows in the same sector can be invaluable references. In addition, the best sources of guidance can be found at:
ICMA (International Capital Market Association):
Climate Bond Initiative:
Nordic Investment Group:
- Bonds that are more heavily priced and value is influenced by impact metrics.
- General growing transparency, more performance based, and sophistication of reporting plus deeper impact communicated.
- More standardized impact metrics communicated to investors and lenders.
- Growing shifting to be more outcome based not just on input metrics.
- More issuances and loans made with ex ante impact expectations communicated.
- Banks will demand more reporting on loans as they seek to aggregate more impact across their respective portfolios.
- More frequent reporting, not just annual