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20 Mar 2017

Daniel Brooksbank, Responsible Investor

Global Compact agrees to mediate in NGO’s Western Sahara green bond dispute with Vigeo Eiris

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The Global Compact, the United Nations’ corporate sustainability body, says it has agreed to mediate in a dispute relating to a Moroccan green bond between campaign group Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) and Vigeo Eiris, the environmental, social and governance research house.The matter centres on a dispute between WSRW and Vigeo Eiris over a green bond launched at the COP22 climate talks last year, which WSRW says is being used to finance solar projects in the Western Sahara area, which the UN classifies as a ‘non-self-governing territory’.The bond in question, a 1 billion dirham (€258m) issue by MASEN, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, was underwritten by a Moroccan state guarantee and sold via private placement to domestic banks...WSRW has called for greater scrutiny of the bond’s financing of three solar projects, two of them in locations that are outside Morocco’s internationally recognized borders...Vigeo Eiris’s Webster has told RI that the company doesn’t agree with WSRW’s arguments, saying that they are “missing the target” about alerting investors to any potential risk of the green bond. Webster says the green bond has been issued to a limited group of investors that have decided not to make the verifier’s report public, but who wanted to go through the Climate Bonds Initiative’s verification process in order to make sure the bond achieves carbon reduction targets...[Subscription required to read full article]

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