Zurich Insurance Group AG said it is boosting its investment in green bonds to up to $2 billion, with plans to spread the initiative through three different European currencies.
Switzerland’s largest insurer touted its investment as potentially the largest global commitment to green bonds to date.
Zurich initially announced in November that it would commit up to $1 billon to the investment sector on its U.S. balance sheet. But executives, in the company’s release, noted they have seen the volume of green bonds essentially mushroom in European markets, and noted that new issuers such as municipalities and corporate entities have joined the party. Of course, the plan to expand is conditional based on positive market development, and that Zurich’s criteria for how the proceeds are used keeps being met.
So far, Zurich said it has successfully invested more than $400 million in U.S.-denominated green bonds.
Zurich says its green bond-boost helps satisfy its investment goals, and also allows it to play a role in environmental causes such as sustainable growth.
“We acknowledge a wider responsibility,” Chief Investment Officer Cecilia Reyes said in a statement. “Green bonds are a great example of an investment that allows us to have a positive impact on society and environment, while meeting our financial criteria. Through green bonds investments, Zurich will effectively support more sustainable growth and development around the globe—without sacrificing investment return.”
Zurich said it plans to blend the new green bonds into existing bond portfolios on the balance sheets of Zurich portfolio companies in Europe. Those bonds will cover the Euro, British Pound and Swiss Franc. Additionally, Zurich said it has now brought on a dedicated in-house green bonds expert, with a mission of working with Zurich’s internal and external asset managers in Europe. The goal: to help them build the respective exposure.
As Bloomberg explained while reporting on Zurich’s initial green bond commitment in November, investors are using the vehicle to help back the growth of clean energy and other sustainable development. The U.S., China and other governments are promoting this approach as a way to combat climate change. It’s also a safer investment option than alternatives such as equities.
Source: Zurich Investment Group