News

Harvard Borrowing Goes Green

April 2022

Kestrel provided an external review for Harvard University’s first Green Bond in April 2022 for the new Science and Engineering Complex and renovations to Adams House and Soldiers Field Park student housing. The Science and Engineering Complex is a state-of-the-art building that achieved LEED Platinum certification and Living Buildings Challenge Certification. The housing complexes will achieve LEED Gold certification and align with Harvard’s green building standards. The facilities and renovations funded by the green bonds advance Harvard’s comprehensive commitments to sustainability.

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St. Paul Port Authority sells first-ever sustainability bonds for Emerald Ash Borer removal

March 2022

The City of Saint Paul and the Saint Paul Port Authority partnered to issue Sustainability Bonds to finance replacement of dead, dying, or at-risk Ash trees as a result of the area’s Emerald Ash Borer infestation. The bonds will finance the replanting of new trees throughout St. Paul and support the City’s removal of stumps left behind from previous removals. As trees provide innumerable benefits to people and communities, the project is imperative for the health and sustainability of communities and urban forests in St. Paul. Kestrel provided a Second Party Opinion on the Sustainability Bonds designation for the positive impact of the projects on low-income communities and the environmental benefits of urban forests.

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University of Michigan’s $2.1B deal has its first green and century bonds

March 2022

The Regents of the University of Michigan issued their first Green Bonds in March 2022. The University will use proceeds from the General Revenue Bonds (Taxable) (Green Bonds) to establish an innovative new energy revolving fund that will set aside funding for energy efficient projects presented by students and faculty, building projects anticipated to receive LEED Silver and LEED Platinum certifications, a geothermal heating system, and electric bus fleets, among other projects. The financed projects are a testament to the University’s commitment to sustainability and forward-thinking climate action.

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City’s First “Green Bonds” Finance $50+ Million in Indianapolis Stormwater Infrastructure Projects

March 2022

The Indianapolis Local Public Improvement Bond Bank issued its first Green Bonds in March 2020, raising more than $50 million for improvements to the city’s stormwater infrastructure. The bonds fund stormwater system improvements that integrate nature-based solutions like hybrid ditches, use green space in city parks to manage water flow, and restore stream channels through daylighting closed creeks. Kestrel Verifiers provided a Second Party Opinion on the designation and determined that the bonds align with the Green Bond Principles and multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals by financing sustainable stormwater infrastructure.

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Longwood Gardens’ $250 million renovation taps increasingly popular ‘green’ bonds

February 2022

Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania raised more than $160 million through its first-ever issuance of Sustainability Bonds verified by Kestrel. The gardens have long been stewards of the natural environment, preserving natural history through horticulture, research, and public education. The financed renovation projects align with the Green Bond Principles by utilizing energy efficient building features including water conservation and reuse, geothermal heating, lighting efficiencies, and earth ducts. The financed projects align with the Social Bond Principles by supporting Longwood’s commitment to providing public education programs, conservation research, and environmental stewardship.

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Selby Gardens sells $31 million in sustainability bonds to cover for Master Plan construction

January 2022

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, raised more than $30 million in bond sales for its Revenue Bonds (The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Inc. Project) Series 2021 (Sustainability Bonds). The projects included a new plant research center, visitor center and Living Energy Access Facility. Kestrel Verifiers provided an external review for the bonds for conformance with the Sustainability Bond Guidelines. The Bonds support the preservation of natural resources and biodiversity, and green buildings, in addition to providing science education to the general public.

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Connecticut Green Bank Subsidiary Launches Investment Offering through Raise Green Crowdfunding Platform

December 2021

CGB Green Liberty Notes LLC, a subsidiary of the Connecticut Green Bank, announced their new Green Liberty offering, a crowdfunding campaign launched in partnership with Raise Green, a regulation climate tech marketplace for local impact investing. This new program allows citizens to invest in the Green Bank’s mission to confront climate change. As a result of the climate benefits associated with this program, the offering has been reviewed and verified for its environmental attributes by Kestrel Verifiers.

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MARTA’s First Green Bonds Save Authority $62M

December 2021

The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board of Directors will refund $369.6 million of its Series 2014A and 2015A bonds, saving the Authority approximately $62 million over the life of the bonds and reducing MARTA’s debt expense by approximately $2.6 million per year. The new Series 2021D and 2021E  taxable bonds are Green Bonds verified by Kestrel, an independent verifier, confirming that the financed projects reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and provide access to clean transportation. 

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California’s climate accomplishment missed at COP26

November 2021

The State of California took a major step in climate action by selling its first-ever Certified Climate Bonds, verified by Kestrel. The sale came two days into COP26 and will fund the new California Natural Resources Agency headquarters building. The building will be a zero net energy building, using just as much or less than the total energy it produces annually.

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California community choice aggregators issue first ever clean energy bonds

October 2021

Three community choice aggregators (CCAs) have demonstrated leadership in the municipal energy sector by undertaking innovative structured financings through CCCFA and supporting the expansion of clean energy in California. East Bay Community Energy Authority and Silicon Valley Energy Authority jointly issued over $1 billion of proceeds through CCCFA for the first and largest Green Bond, verified by Kestrel, issued for prepayment for carbon free electricity. Marin Clean Energy’s Series 2021A Bonds, also verified by Kestrel, were the first Green Bonds – Climate Bond Certified for a CCA. Marin Clean Energy’s solar power purchase agreements expand access and delivery of renewable energy.

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The Bond Buyer: Hudson Yards rides upgrades into $452 million sale

October 2021

The city-controlled Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp.’s Series 2022A green bonds refund an outstanding 2012 bond that partially financed Hudson Yards development. The Subway Extension to be refinanced with the bonds is integral to sustainable urban development in the city. Kestrel Verifiers provided an external review on the green bonds, confirming alignment with Green Bond Principles under the eligible project category of Clean Transportation.

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The Bond Buyer: Charter school fund to price ‘social’ deal

October 2021

The Equitable Facilities Fund is issuing a third Social Bond. The bond finances low-cost loans to high-performing charter schools in underserved and vulnerable communities, and conforms with ICMA’s Social Bond Principles as verified by Kestrel. This will be the largest third-party verified social bond issuance in the education sector.

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The Bond Buyer: San Diego school district is pricing all-green $1 billion GO deal

October 2021

San Diego Unified School District’s all-green $1 billion mix of taxable and tax-exempt general obligation bonds priced in October 2021. All five series received a green bond designation from Kestrel Verifiers. This is the District’s first externally reviewed deal.

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The Bond Buyer: Ohio State University tees up green bonds for hospital facility

September 2021

Ohio State issued its first Green Bonds to finance a large new inpatient hospital in Columbus. Healthcare facilities have particularly high energy demands and Kestrel was pleased to see that the school has worked carefully to maximize efficiency, align with the campus sustainable building standards, and take steps towards achieving Ohio State’s carbon neutrality goal.

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The Bond Buyer: University of Minnesota offers sustainability-designated bonds

September 2021

Kestrel reviewed Minnesota public university system’s first sustainability-designated bonds. The bonds finance the design of a unique clinical research facility on the Twin Cities Campus. Kestrel sees key features that will challenge health inequities and provide critical instructional and research space. Over 60% of Minnesota’s health professionals are educated at the University’s medical school.

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Oberlin College and Conservatory Secures $80 Million in Certified Climate Bonds for Sustainable Infrastructure Program

August 2021

Investors rallied around Oberlin College and Conservatory’s path-breaking geothermal infrastructure project that’s aligned with the goals and targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. This is only the second Certified Climate Bond offering among US colleges and universities, and third in the world. Kestrel Verifiers provided the review to support certification. The bonds attracted bids totaling nearly three times the amount of the offering.

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Gainesville Regional Utilities Issues First Green Bond

July 2021

GRU issued its first-ever green bond this July to fund water and wastewater improvement projects. Kestrel’s Second Party Opinion confirmed the bond-financed projects promote environmental sustainability and resiliency, and align with the Green Bond Principles.

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The Bond Buyer: Kestrel Verifiers capitalizes on burgeoning ESG market

June 2021

As the market for ESG-certified bonds grows, Oregon-based Kestrel Verifiers is growing along with it. Kestrel has delivered roughly 68% of the second-party opinions for ESG projects in US public finance. The firm has handled $8 billion in par since its inception in 2019.

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Sugar Valley Energy project verified to issue green bonds for financing

June 2021

Sugar Valley Energy’s Green Bonds will finance a project that has many environmental benefits. Kestrel’s Second Party Opinion on the bonds aimed to describe technical aspects of the project while ensuring all audiences can appreciate the uniquely innovative approach to construction and management of natural resources throughout the lifecycle of the biofuel production process. 

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The Bond Buyer: California sugarcane-to-ethanol plant plans verified green bond sale

June 2021

California Ethanol + Power plans to price $575 million in bonds through a municipal conduit in June or July to fund construction of the alternative fuel and energy plant to convert sugarcane into ethanol.

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Metro builds on sustainability mission with release of first ever Climate Bonds

May 2021

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is a leader in forward-thinking transportation planning. Kestrel’s verification process revealed Metro’s active role in achieving regional climate action goals. The inaugural Climate Bonds will finance improvements to an existing low carbon transportation system and lay critical groundwork for large-scale fleet electrification.  

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Stanford issues the first bond in US higher education based on rigorous environmental stewardship and social responsibility standards

May 2021

Stanford University became the first US university campus to offer bonds with both Climate and Sustainability Bond designations, demonstrating their comprehensive commitment to sustainability. Kestrel provided external verification of the alignment of the financed activities with the Climate Bonds Standard and the positive social impacts. The projects support exemplary health equity research, housing access, and systemic academic equity initiatives, and enable the continued growth of the University while aligning with the school’s trajectory to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2030.

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Connecticut and its agencies chart busy week of sales

April 2021

To commemorate Earth Day, the Connecticut Green Bank planned a $23.6 million negotiated issuance of state-supported solar home renewable energy credit Green Liberty Bonds. The bank’s inaugural $16 million issuance last July won The Bond Buyer’s annual award for innovative deal of the year. This issuance is the second bond issued under their Climate Bonds Programmatic Framework that was originally verified by Kestrel Verifiers in 2020.

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Sustainable Finance Taxonomy for the Aviation Sector

March 2021

Kestrel is pleased to share a study we worked on with Steer Davies Gleave for the European Commission to support development of the EU Taxonomy for the Aviation sector. The study results will help the Commission, supported by the Platform on Sustainable Finance, to design a methodology to assess the green impacts of projects and investment in the aviation sector.

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Why social bonds are key to driving more investment in education

March 2021

A social bond may represent the next big tool in the impact investor playbook, with a record $154 billion in Social Bonds issued in 2020. Independent verification of the bona fide social benefits derived from the bond-financed activities, like Kestrel Verifiers’ opinion for the social bonds issued by Equitable School Revolving Fund, should alleviate concerns about impact-washing and assure impact investors that their capital is generating a positive social impact.

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RTD plans to issue Climate Bonds Certified green bonds

February 2021

Regional Transportation District-Denver (RTD) issued their first Certified Climate Bonds in February 2021. RTD provides transit services to over 3 million people in around Denver, Colorado and refinanced transit system expansion and maintenance projects with the 2021 bond offering that are expected to enable major reductions in transit sector greenhouse gas emissions. As an external reviewer, Kestrel verified that the refinanced projects meet the stringent qualitative standards of the Climate Bonds Initiative’s Transport Criteria.

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The Bond Buyer: ‘Green’ municipal bond designations colored in shades of gray

June 2020

Municipal “green bond” designations by various market participants are complicating how investors domestically and internationally view and understand the market for those bonds. Kestrel, a Climate Bonds Initiative Approved Verifier, describes how external reviews following internationally accepted standards help contribute to the standardization and growth of the green bond market.

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PV Magazine: New retail climate bonds category, patterned after WW2 bonds and designed to aid rooftop solar uptake, to debut

July 2020

In an industry first, Connecticut Green Bank is launching a retail climate bond series in which all of the proceeds generated from the roughly $16.1 million issuance will support rooftop solar deployment in the state. Connecticut Green Bank’s new category of climate bond, which it calls “Green Liberty Bonds,” are modeled after the Series-E war bonds that half of all Americans bought during World War II. The Climate Bonds Initiative certified the bonds and Kestrel Verifiers will report on the bonds over time.

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EnergyTrend: PACE Funding Group Completes Inaugural 144a Securitization and Achieves “Green Bond” designation

June 2020

PACE Funding Group, LLC, a California-based specialty finance company, announced today that it completed a $ 107 million securitization of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assets. The financing supported property improvements for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and hurricane resiliency measures. Kestrel Verifiers provided a Second Party Opinion to support the green bonds designation for the senior notes.

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Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District: Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to Issue Certified Climate Bond

April 2020

The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), one of the nation’s largest and most highly regarded leaders in wastewater treatment, stormwater management, and green infrastructure isssued the first-ever Certified Climate Bond for a combined wastewater and stormwater program in the United States. The bond was verified by Kestrel Verifiers, a Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) Approved Verifier, and Woman-Owned Small Business, based in the US.

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Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley Use Kestrel Verifiers’ Sustainability and Green Bond Labeling

April 3, 2020

Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley were the first competitive underwriters to use Kestrel Verifiers’ Green Bond services offered through Ipreo by IHS Markit, with two series of the City of Berkeley Bonds.

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The Bond Buyer: Kestrel to offer green, social bond verification on competitive muni sales

March 2020

Kestrel Verifiers is offering a new service that lets underwriters add green, social and sustainable designations to competitive municipal bond sales.

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Kestrel Verifiers Launches New Service

March 2020

Our new service gives underwriters in the US Municipal Bond Market the ability to add verified green, social, and sustainability bonds labels on the day of sale to new issue competitive sales.

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Clean Energy Finance Forum: Connecticut Green Bank’s ‘Green Liberty Bonds’ Aim at Retail Climate Finance

February 2020

Connecticut Green Bank unveiled its plans to bring to market approximately $15 to $20 million of new $1,000 face value “Green Liberty Bonds” in recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Last year, the Green Bank worked with Kestrel Verifiers to certify the 2019 notes against the Climate Bonds Standard. The Green Bank considers Kestrel to be the “gold standard” in green bond verification and has engaged the firm to verify the new Green Liberty Bonds.

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Bloomberg: California Pension Fund Goes Green With Muni-Bond Debut

December 2019

The public pension, the second-biggest in the nation, is selling $281 million in tax-exempt municipal green bonds at a time when wealthy Californians are snapping up such debt to drive down their tax bills and when buyers are increasingly seeking investments intended to lessen the impact of climate change. Kestrel Verifiers provided an external review on the alignment of the securities with the Climate Bonds Standard.

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The Bond Buyer: What’s in a municipal green bond?

November 2019

As the acceleration of green investing continues, questions, comments and misconceptions abound. In this article, Kestrel addresses green bond questions from various market participants.

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The Bond Buyer: Minneapolis offering second green bond deal

November 2019

Minneapolis returns to the market Wednesday with its second green-designated general obligation deal to finance its new public service center. Kestrel concluded in its opinion that the city’s project and financing, allocation and oversight is aligned with the Green Bond Principles and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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MuniNet Guide: Featured Bond – Sacramento CA Municipal Utility District $400 Million in Electric Revenue Bonds

July 2019

The Sacramento California Municipal Utility District is issuing $400 million in Electric Revenue Bonds through negotiated sale. The bonds are broken up into 2019 Series A, Series B, and Series G. A portion of the 2019 Series G bonds are designated as Green bonds for LEED certified renovations and upgrades to the Headquarters Building. Kestrel Verifiers provided the independent second party opinion.

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Recycling Today: RethinkWaste issues $50M in Green Bonds

July 2019

RethinkWaste in San Carlos, California, issued Green Bonds consisting of $48,775,000 in Solid Waste Enterprise Refunding Revenue Bonds Series 2019A and Solid Waste Enterprise Revenue Bonds Series 2019B (for new projects) to make various environmental upgrades at its agency-owned, Shoreway Environmental Center. Kestrel Verifiers provided a Second Party Opinion confirming the bond’s alignment with the Green Bond Principles.  A second opinion against the Green Bond Principles was done by Kestrel Verifiers, an approved verifier by the Climate Bonds Initiative. These are the first Green Bonds floated in San Mateo County for green infrastructure and waste reduction.

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Climate Bonds Initiative: US-based Kestrel Verifiers Joins Approved Verifier Pool. West Coast Presence, Water Expertise

October 2017

The Climate Bonds Standard Board has confirmed Kestrel Verifiers as an Approved Verifier under the Climate Bonds Standard and Certification Scheme.

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