Green Bonds for Cities (GBC)

The Green Bond for Cities project seeks to contribute to the development of a green city bond market in emerging and developing countries.

The challenge

Cities are facing the challenges of a growing population, higher demands on transport systems, management of water sources and increasing pollution. Especially in developing countries, it can be an arduous task to raise capital in order to address those challenges.

Low-cost capital available at scale in capital markets, e.g. green bonds, can support cities in meeting their investment needs and environmental goals at the lowest cost possible.

Aims and objectives

Globally, green bonds have emerged as a new form of proactive sustainable investing for investors. However, cities in emerging and developing countries (with the exception of Johannesburg) have not used green bonds successfully so far. Access to low-cost capital at scale is critical for cities to realize low carbon and climate resilient growth. However, reliance on the existing sources of debt in the local banking sector limits the capacity of financing new infrastructure for local governments. The green bonds market and its deepening pool of investors can offer the much needed access to this low-­cost capital.

The project includes:

  • Detailed assessment of capacity gaps and needs of local governments in emerging and developing countries in a scoping study.
  • Development of green bond market strategy guidelines for cities (addressed actors include local governments, regions and other potential issuers) in emerging economies (looking at different options for them to access the bond market, e.g. through corporate, development bank or muni bonds, and explaining processes and prerequisites for each option).
  • Creation of a green bond toolkit for cities in emerging economies with ready-to-use tools.
  • Support of Mexico Cityto issue its first green municipal bond.
  • Development (and provision) of green bond advisory and training sessions to support potential issuers (on and offline).


We’re welcoming:

  • Cities that are interested in issuing green bonds
  • Cities that have issued green bonds in the past
  • Investors that are interested in green city bonds


The project is led by South Pole and implemented jointly with the Climate Bonds Initiative.



Hanna Värttö is a senior consultant at South Pole since 2016 and has a background in sustainability and public policy. She is currently working on projects related to green bonds, climate risks and opportunities, and climate impact assessment of investments.

Hanna Värttö

Senior Consultant at South Pole