duPont, Carolyn M., James N. Levitt, and Linda J. Bilmes. "Green Bonds and Land Conservation: The Evolution of a New Financing Tool." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP15-072, December 2015.
"Green Bonds" emerged as a new form of environmental financing in 2007. While most investors still view them as a niche product in the overall fixed income market, green bonds have grown rapidly to nearly $37 billion in issuance in 2014, with issuers from the World Bank to the State of Massachusetts. This paper examines the current and potential future use of green bonds for financing sustainable land use and conservation projects around the world. The paper draws on interviews with land conservation practitioners, bond issuers, investors, and financial analysts, as well as analysis of two case studies in China and Massachusetts. The paper summarizes the key insights from this community of experts, and lays out a series of steps that will be required before green bonds can develop into a significant and reliable tool in the conservation finance toolkit. The authors find that projects linked to water and storm water management may be investment “sweet spots” for green bonds and land conservation.