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Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure

Evidence and national surveys continue to prove that tremendous capital – nearly a $400 billion gap in the United States alone - is needed to support the next generation of resilient water infrastructure projects that support conservation, ensure safe delivery of supplies, encourage resource efficiency all while protecting our natural ecosystems. To accelerate this shift, Ceres is working with a range of partners to construct criteria for investment vehicles that will channel capital towards robust 21st century sustainable water systems.

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The Water Climate Bond Standard

Evidence and national surveys continue to prove that tremendous capital – nearly a $400 billion gap in the United States alone - is needed to support the next generation of resilient water infrastructure projects that support conservation, ensure safe delivery of supplies, encourage resource efficiency all while protecting our natural ecosystems. To accelerate this shift, Ceres is working with a range of partners to construct criteria for investment vehicles that will channel capital towards robust 21st century sustainable water systems.

As part of this effort, Ceres, in collaboration with the Climate Bonds Initiative, World Resources Institute, CDP and the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation are developing the world’s first standard for low carbon and climate resilient water bonds. The Water Climate Bond Standard has been developed through technical and industry working groups comprised of internationally recognized academics, investors, public utilities, water NGOs and international policy bodies.

The proposed Water Climate Bond Standard will bring a focus on vulnerability assessment and climate mitigation and adaptation planning to the fixed income space. It will allow investors to easily prioritize projects that are seriously considering their climate impacts and climate resilience.

Why a Water Standard?

Water-related projects are a growing subset of the green bonds market that encourages investments for a low carbon and climate resilient economy. Climate resilient investments in water are desperately needed if sustainable infrastructure is to be achieved. The Water Climate Bonds Standard is intended to provide investors with verifiable, science-based criteria for evaluating water-related bonds, and to assist issuers in the global corporate, municipal, sovereign and supra-sovereign markets in differentiating their green bond offerings. A Water Climate Bonds Standard should ensure that labeled green bonds for a wide variety of water-related projects and assets are held to common standards of robust, low-carbon and climate resilient water management. All water-related projects and assets that are certified under the Standard should continue to bring environmental and climate benefits over the operational lifetime of the project.

What are experts saying?

"As a member of the industry working group, DC Water is proud to support the important work of CBI in establishing a Water Climate Bond Standard. Green bonds are becoming an important financing tool to address the impacts of climate change through investments in adaptation or mitigation. The Water Climate Bond Standards will serve as an important guide for issuers and investors alike."
- Mark T. Kim, CFO, DC Water

"Generating the many billions in investment needed to improve global water security is an urgent challenge. This new Water Standard is an enormous step forward in setting a rigorous framework for institutional investors to assess fundamental, long term climate and sustainability based features of water projects when making their financial decisions.
-Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute

Learn more

For a detailed overview of the standard, visit: http://agwaguide.org/greenbonds/. To learn more about how the standard can be used by your organization, contact Monika Freyman at freyman@ceres.org.

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Meet the Expert

Brooke Barton
Director, Water Program

Brooke BartonBrooke leads Ceres’ water program, directing the organization’s research and corporate and investor engagement on the risks and opportunities related to growing water scarcity. She is the co-author of The Ceres Aqua Gauge: A Framework for 21st Century Water Risk Management. Brooke works with Ceres company members in the food and beverage sector, advising them on sustainability strategy and reporting, and coordinating dialogues between companies and their investor, NGO and labor union stakeholders.

Learn more about Brooke

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