Green Bonds for Cities

Tools to help cities unlock the potential of green bonds

Boosting awareness of green bonds in developing countries

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

Green bonds are used to finance many different projects, including renewable energy, public transport, and waste management. Cities in developing countries, however, often lack knowledge of potential financing mechanisms, such as green bonds, for urban infrastructure.

In order to tap the green bond market, cities must navigate several critical decisions: identifying appropriate issuers; selecting suitable assets for the bond; and obtaining a second-party opinion or third-party certification. While various capacity building initiatives exist, none are specifically geared towards green bonds. The project Green Bonds for Cities is addressing this gap.

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

Tapping into the expanding green bond market

Access to low-cost capital at scale is critical for cities in developing countries in order to realize low-carbon and sustainable growth. Reliance on the local banking sector, however, limits financing for new infrastructure projects. The green bond market, with its expanding pool of investors, can offer much needed access to low-cost capital.

The Green Bonds for Cities project provides support for local governments in developing countries to tap into the green bond market via the following tools:

(1) Green Bond Strategy Guidelines: Identification of the prerequisites and processes for local governments to develop a tailored strategy to access the green bond market, along with the additional requirements for issuing green bonds.

(2) Green Bond Toolkit: Ready-to-use tools for local governments include a screening instrument to identify green projects, a pre-feasibility assessment and tools for setting up measurement and reporting mechanisms for green projects.

(3) Training Sessions: Meetings to support potential green bond issuers. The sessions will leverage material from the Green Bond Strategy Guidelines and Green Bond Toolkit, and will be geared towards cities in developing countries.
Please contact us if you are:

  • Cities seeking training or tools for green muni bonds
  • Investors interested in climate impact assessments of green bonds
  • Donors (supporting investors) interested in financing training sessions on green bonds for cities

Contact details

Hanna VärttöHanna 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.
Senior Consultant at South Pole

Facts and figures


Cities account for 70% of energy-related CO2 emissions

US$131 billion

A total of US$131 billion in green bonds have been issued in the past 5 years


Just 1.7% of the proceeds from green bonds have gone to city-based infrastructure projects in developing countries.

Where would we be without our partners