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Jamaica's dawn of 'blue-green' bonds

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is set to introduce innovative 'blue-green' bond products by mid-2024. This initiative is part of Jamaica's broader strategy to invest $5 billion by 2050, aimed at mitigating the impacts of environmental instability.

Jamaicas dawn of blue-green bonds_Top view on a part of Jamaica and Caribbean Sea_visual 1Top view on a part of Jamaica and Caribbean Sea.

These 'blue-green' bonds symbolise a commitment to both aquatic (blue) and terrestrial (green) environmental projects. Dr Nigel Clarke, Jamaica's Minister of Finance and Planning, announced this groundbreaking development at the JSE's recent Investments and Capital Markets Conference. The JSE is poised to be the first in the region to support the issuance of these eco-focused bonds.

The introduction of these bonds is expected to significantly reduce the financial risks associated with large-scale sustainability projects. This risk mitigation comes through government concessions and equity involvement, encouraging private sector participation. Clarke emphasised the need for 'blended finance arrangements', combining different capital streams with varying return expectations, ensuring viable returns on these eco-investments.

Read more: What are blue carbon projects?

This move aligns with the global effort under the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions and restore nature. The urgency is underscored by recent data, including 2023 being the hottest year on record. Clarke highlighted the increasing international focus on sustainability funding, especially for emerging economies.

In collaboration with international partners like the IMF and IDB, Jamaica is crafting a suite of financial instruments targeting various sustainability goals. Roxanne Valentine-Donegan of the Development Bank of Jamaica, specialising in environmental and social management, outlined the financial needs for natural crises mitigation and adaptation at the conference. These include a staggering $100 billion required for disaster risk reduction in the Caribbean alone.

Read more: EU adopts game-changing European Green Bonds regulation

Jamaica's investment strategy encompasses energy efficiency, clean transportation, pollution prevention, and sustainable management of natural resources. These efforts aim not only to address environmental concerns but also to bolster the island's resilience against natural disasters. The potential cost of a single major storm could surpass the entire funding target for the period, highlighting the critical nature of these investments.

The Green Bond Project, initiated in 2020 and supported by the Green Climate Fund, laid the groundwork for this initiative. Since December 2023, the JSE, in partnership with IDB Invest, has been working towards establishing a sustainable stock exchange. This includes creating guidelines for green and sustainability+ bonds, conducting stakeholder sessions, and formulating a comprehensive sustainability strategy.

With these steps, Jamaica positions itself at the forefront of the Caribbean's fight for nature conservation, signalling a new era in sustainable finance. 

In line with the objectives of the UN Paris Agreement and the quest for achieving net-zero emissions, our dedication to extensive environmental projects generates verifiable carbon units, catering to the escalating demand in this sector. DGB's green bonds channel funds into nature-centric endeavours that yield both environmental and socio-economic advantages. These bonds not only promise a lucrative 8% return on investment but also provide investors with the dual benefit of financial profitability and the fulfilment of supporting projects that resonate with their environmental ethos, thus contributing to a more sustainable planet.

Invest in nature with DGB 

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