Pictured: Sustainable Investments panel, 13 February 2020, Bogotá , Colombia

At Affirmative Investment Management (AIM), one of our broad objectives is to help facilitate advice to potential issuers around the world. In the latest of a series of engagements with sovereign borrowers and other potential issuers, Alya Kayal (Partner, Verification and Impact) was invited to present at the “Investments That Impact” event in February 2020 in Bogotá.

The impact investing event was hosted by Bancóldex, Colombia’s state-owned bank, and supported by the British Embassy, Swiss Embassy and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). The purpose was to help strengthen the interest of Colombian capital market participants in sustainable investment and to generate knowledge about global trends on this issue. With over 200 attendees from diverse sectors including government officials, diplomatic missions, Colombian investment banks, and pension funds, Alya engaged in conversations around the growing interest in Colombia for investments with sustainable impact.

At the event, Alya joined a panel of international experts on green bonds moderated by Sean Kidney (Climate Bonds Initiative) along with fellow panelists Ashley Schulten (BlackRock) and Bruno Bastit (S&P) – photo above.  The panel exchanged experiences in addressing the opportunities and risks associated with climate change and the incorporation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into investment decisions.  Alya stressed the importance of a robust sustainability verification process, including transparency and impact reporting.  As a dedicated impact bond asset manager, all our investments must support the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals; therefore, assessing ESG risks and impacts are core to our business.

In line with our mission to help grow the impact bond market, Alya had the privilege to discuss green finance developments in Colombia with the British Ambassador and the Economic, Climate and Science Team at the British Embassy, as well as officials at the National Treasury of Colombia. Colombia’s commitment to grow sustainable finance, including issuing green bonds and tracking impact, is encouraging.  The country’s plans to develop its own green taxonomy was well-received and supported by many entities, including the IADB. Alongside a selection of other market participants, we have provided guidance during the development phase of IADB’s Green Bond Transparency Platform, an innovative digital tool that brings greater transparency to the Latin American and Caribbean’s green bond market.

Colombia is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world with its Amazon tropical rainforests, snow-capped mountains, deserts and coastal regions.  The country is seeking to address key priorities, such as resilient infrastructure, biodiversity, and tackling the accelerated pace of deforestation in the country: issues that are complicated by armed conflict in some areas.

We believe that positive change is most meaningful when it is shared.  In that spirit, we engage with stakeholders and help support the growth of global green and impact bond markets.  We are delighted to see Colombia’s ambition towards green finance and look forward to seeing exciting new developments from the region.