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France to Launch ‘Green’ Bond

France to Launch ‘Green’ BondFrance to Launch ‘Green’ Bond

France aims to launch its first “green” bond by the end of the month, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said, as the government seeks to make Paris a center for financing environmentally friendly projects.

As host of the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat global warming, France’s government had hoped to be the first sovereign borrower to venture into the fast-growing market for so-called “green bonds”, Reuters reported.

Although Poland beat France to the draw with a €750 million ($780 million) five-year issue last month, Sapin said the French bond would be significantly larger, and therefore much more liquid.

“With this issue, the French state aims not only to finance climate and environmental policies in an innovative way, but also to help develop this market,” Sapin told journalists.

What sets green bonds apart from more traditional issues is that their proceeds are earmarked for use in financing specific environmentally friendly projects or initiatives that mitigate the impact of climate change. The French bond will be verified by a specialized agency, and an independent committee will check that the funds are being used for environmental protection.

While green bonds have been around for a decade, sovereign borrowers had been notably absent from the market, which was traditionally dominated by international development banks.

Fear of terrorist attacks kept foreign tourists away from Paris and the Riviera last year, costing French hoteliers an estimated €650 million ($675 million) in lost revenue, the head of hotel research firm MKG told Reuters on Tuesday.

Activity picked up slightly in the last quarter as hotels, notably in Paris, slashed prices during the year-end festivities and a stronger dollar brought back US tourists.

 

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