CICERO was the biggest provider globally of second opinions on green bonds in 2016, according to an analysis by Environmental Finance.
CICERO assessed 16 green bonds in 2016, 10 of which are publicly available and 6 others awaiting issuance.
"Green bonds with a second opinion provided by CICERO had a combined value of $14.1 billion in 2016, compared with $11,2 billion that have an assessment by Sustainalitics, the second biggest opinion provider," writes Environmental Finance.
As green bonds move from a niche market to the mainstream, more providers are offering second opinions. 2016 also saw credit rating agencies like Moody's and S&P Global enter the green bond market.
Yet CICERO is not so concerned about competition from others:
"What's important to us is to be a thought leader on what is green, based on our strong position in the market," said Harald Francke Lund to Environmental Finance.
Investors and green bond issuers are quite positive about CICERO's Shades of Green. This methodology, launched in 2015, classifies projects as light green, medium green or dark green, according to how environment-friendly they are.
"Our methodology helps investors to identify the greenest projects," said Lund.
"One of our clients, Munifin, a municipal bank applies the shading when it is giving out loans. Projects that we classified as dark green in our second opinion, get more favourable conditions."
Several other issuers had their earlier second opinions updated in 2016, in order to get a Shade of Green.
Meanwhile, CICERO was also hired by the German government to help the global green bond market expand. Senior advisor Lund has been giving courses about green bonds in China, Brazil, Mexico and India.
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