Triodos invests in sovereign bonds from EU member states and the UK. We only select only those countries that have no involvement in international sanctions, and that have signed and ratified international conventions on controversial weapons, human rights, labour rights, and the environment. This includes the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions (e.g. on child labour, and forced labour), the international convention on civil and political rights, the biological and chemical weapon conventions, the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons treaty, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the convention on biological diversity, amongst others.
Belgium was one of the first countries to issue a sovereign green bond. This green bond was issued in 2018 to demonstrate the country’s commitment to addressing environmental challenges and to raise funds that support its environmental policies. Belgium identifies three main environmental challenges: climate change, biodiversity conservation and preservation of natural resources. To address these challenges, the green bond finances projects in several categories: clean transportation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, circular economy and living resources and land use.
Most of the proceeds is used to fund projects related to clean transportation: upgrades, maintenance and capacity expansion of the Belgian railway infrastructure, the purchase of energy-efficient trains, and subsidies for the use of bicycles and electric cars. Other examples of projects financed by the green bond are investments in offshore wind farms in Belgium, tax incentives to increase the recycling of glass packaging and investments in renewable energy in developing countries through its private investment vehicle.
Belgium reports impact from funding these projects in terms of avoided CO2 emissions. The investments in new, more energy-efficient trains, for example, results in avoiding 67.5 kilotons of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the trains, and the maintenance and upgrade investments in railway infrastructure are estimated to avoid 1,512 kilotons of CO2 emissions.