Global ESG bond markets are bound to deliver another record year of new issuance volumes, led by broad-based dynamic activity in all its major segments. In the first nine months of the year, combined global issuance of green, social, sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds were already equal to 145% of global ESG bond supply in full year 2020.
The tremendous acceleration in the path of issuance activity in the very last few years was led first by green bond issuance, which grew from just USD 11bn in 2013 to USD 285bn in 2020 and to roughly USD 400bn as of September this year. Growth by segment is even greater than the mere numbers would indicate. Even with green bonds still representing the main component of the ESG market, a look at the first chart shows that social bonds and sustainability bonds have also gained ground in importance, especially in 2020, and their contribution has surged further to almost half of overall ESG issuance on the year to date. Finally, issuance of sustainability-linked bonds (SLBs), although still low compared to other segments, accelerated rapidly from just USD 11bn last year to USD 72bn as of September.