The Green Bond Principles (GBP) are being revised to encourage new categories of issuers, strengthen guidance on the environmental objectives of projects that are funded through green bonds and to provide guidance for bonds that combine green and social goals, the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) announced on Wednesdayfollowing a meeting in Paris.

"The green bond market is growing and maturing and the social bond market is beginning to take off. This is good news for the funding of solutions for some of the really difficult problems the world faces. The enhancements to the GBP will help the market to continue its internationalization while remaining focused on its core environmental objectives," says Martin Scheck, ICMA's CEO, in a statement. "Widening the scope of the principles to include social and sustainability bonds will promote the growth of these sectors alongside green bonds."

Over the past year, green bond issuance has almost doubled, with China driving the growth. More than 90 new issuers came to the market, increasing the market's diversity in terms of geography, issuer type and maturity.

"The 2017 update to the GBP encourages issuers to provide information about their green projects in the context of their broader sustainability strategy and processes, establishing a critical link between the dedicated use of proceeds unique to green bonds, and the relevance of sustainability practices in the assessment of credit risk," says Manuel Lewin, head of responsible investment at Zurich Insurance, in a statement.

"At the same time, by introducing the Social Bond Principles, it is acknowledged that green is not the only colour that matters to investors," Lewin adds. "Zurich very much welcomes these and other updates and believes that they will contribute to the growing success of this market shaping a more resilient tomorrow."

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