Nasdaq's Listing Options

Sustainable Bonds

To meet the increasing interest of sustainable bonds from both investors and issuers Nasdaq Stockholm have launched a new list for sustainable corporate bonds.

Nasdaq is proud to have launched the first Sustainable Bond Market in the world and to be a part of the transition towards more sustainable financial markets. 

The Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Market was launched in July of 2015 with a total volume of 740 million euro and has grown at an impressive pace ever since. We facilitate infrastructure, monitor issuers and foster dialogue to ensure the continued growth of the markets.

Did you know?
That Sweden ranks at top 5 in number of issued green bonds globally? - And sixth in terms of volume 1)
That a Swedish bank participated in the development of the first ever green bond
That the global green bond market grew by 170 % between 2015 and 2017 1)

1) source: the Climate Bonds Initiative

What Are Sustainable Bonds?

Bonds listed on Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Market can be broken down into three categories; Green, Social and Sustainable.

Sustainable Bonds
International standards define sustainable bonds as loans used to finance projects that bring clear environmental and social-economic benefits.

Green Bonds
Green Bonds are defined as loans used to finance projects and activities that benefit the environment. 

Social Bonds
Social Bonds are used to finance projects achieving positive socio-economic outcomes for an identified target population, with neutral or positive impact on the environment.

The green and social bond principles are generally accepted as the market standard. They describe the core elements of: 

  • Use of proceeds 
  • Process for project evaluation and selection 
  • Management of proceeds 
  • Reporting 
To learn more about the ICMA's principles, visit their website.

Financial Structures of Sustainable Bonds

  • Standard Use of Proceeds Bond: a standard recourse-to-the-issuer loan aligned with the GBP, the SBP or both. 
  • Revenue Bond: a non-recourse loan which credit risk is pledged to sustainable cash streams and where the use of proceeds finances related or unrelated projects. 
  • Project Bond: a project bond for a single or multiple Green Project(s) for which the investor has direct exposure to the risk of the project(s) with or without potential recourse to the issuer, and that is aligned with the GBP, the SBP or both. 
  • Securitized Bond: a bond collateralized by one or more specific Green Project(s), including but not limited to covered bonds, Asset Backed Securities, Mortgage Backed Securities, and other structures; and aligned with the GBP, the SBP or both. 

Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Market Listing Criteria

Bonds can be listed on Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Market if a set of criteria are fulfilled. The respective criteria are based on the green and social bond principles (the GBP and SBP), for which ICMA acts as secretariat, and have been developed in cooperation with Sustainalytics, a global leader in environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) research. 

View our fact sheets below to learn more about Nasdaq’s eligibility criteria: 

The Criteria are comprised of four main components:

1. Use of Proceeds

The funds raised in a green, social or sustainable bond needs to go towards projects that deliver clear benefits to the environment, social welfare or both. Areas of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

1. Climate change mitigation
2. Access to essential (e.g. health, education and vocational training, healthcare, financing and financial services)
3. Protection of biodiversity
4. Affordable housing

For further examples of eligible projects, we recommend issuers to consult the respective criteria fact sheets, review the GBP and SBP's principles or contact our listings team directly.

We recommend that issuers are transparent not only in which projects are financed but also in regards to the process of project selection and evaluation. Issuers should aim to be transparent about why the financed projects have been chosen. Furthermore, it is important that a green bond issuer sets up routines and systems to make sure that the proceeds are allocated to the intended projects.

2. Third Party Review

To be eligible to list a bond on Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Market, the bond or the green bond framework must be reviewed by an experienced third party. The review must have an adequate outcome and be attached when applying to list. There are four distinct types of third party reviews that are generally accepted when listing green bonds on Nasdaq:

1. Consultant Review
2. Verification
3. Certification
4. Rating

The most common type of third party review is the consultant review, often referred to as a “second opinion”. Reach out to our listings team or consult the GBP if you want to learn more about the acceptable types of third party reviews.

Nasdaq reserves the right to assess whether a third party reviewer is to be deemed experienced.

3. Reporting

A key element of all types sustainable bonds is the reporting of the funded projects. Detailed reporting not only assures your investors but highlights the good work your company is doing to promote a more sustainable world. Transparency is key and we recommend that our issuers follow the guidelines set out in the GBP and SBP where it is applicable.

Nasdaq’s eligibility criteria focuses on the availability and frequency of satisfactory reports. Issuers are required to make annual reports regarding their sustainable projects publicly available until full allocation of proceeds. Nasdaq does not set strict rules for what to report. However issuers are urged to consult the GBP or other harmonized guidelines when designing the reports. If Nasdaq becomes aware that the issuer has failed to produce and publish an annual report in accordance with the criteria, the issuer is given 2 months to produce a satisfactory report and submit it to Nasdaq.

For further guidance, Nasdaq has created a voluntary ESG reporting guide to help exchange listed companies align their reporting with international standards. View the guidelines.

Key Reporting Elements

  • Allocation of proceeds throughout the life of the bonds. And descriptions of the projects financed. (required)
  • Impact of the financed projects. Both materialized and estimated future impacts. (recommended)
  • Percentage of proceeds allocated to financing and refinancing. (required)
  • Quantitative measures where possible. (recommended)

4. Exclusions

Nasdaq reserves the right to exclude or remove bonds from the Sustainable Bond Market if they fail to meet the above outlined criteria. A bond will be delisted from the sustainable bond market and moved to the main market for corporate bonds if:

A. it becomes incompliant with the use of proceed criteria
B. it does not meet its reporting obligations
C. it is involved in a controversy directly relating to the project / activities funded by the bond.

Furthermore, we do not allow bonds which proceeds are directed towards projects deemed to be unethical, controversial or in violation of the UN Global Compact Principles to be listed on the Sustainable Bond Market.

How To List Sustainable Bonds

Issuer that wishes to list green, social or sustainable bonds on our sustainable bond market goes through the same process as traditional bond issuers. However, the issuer must supply Nasdaq with information regarding the bond or bond framework as well as the third party’s review when applying to list. Furthermore, the issuers must undertake to produce annual reports regarding the projects or activities that the bond funds.

The process takes approximately two weeks for new issuers and one day for subsequent issues. Learn more about the listing process or contact our listings team directly.

Nasdaq Copenhagen, Nasdaq Helsinki, Nasdaq Iceland, Nasdaq Riga, Nasdaq Stockholm, Nasdaq Tallinn, Nasdaq Vilnius, Nasdaq Clearing and Nasdaq Broker Services are respectively brand names for the regulated markets of Nasdaq Copenhagen A/S, Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd., Nasdaq Iceland hf., Nasdaq Riga, AS, Nasdaq Stockholm AB, Nasdaq Tallinn AS, AB Nasdaq Vilnius, Nasdaq Clearing AB, Nasdaq Broker Services AB. Nasdaq Nordic represents the common offering by Nasdaq Copenhagen, Nasdaq Helsinki, Nasdaq Iceland and Nasdaq Stockholm. Nasdaq Baltic represents the common offering by Nasdaq Tallinn, Nasdaq Riga and Nasdaq Vilnius.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

The matters described herein contain forward-looking statements that are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements about Nasdaq and its products and offerings. We caution that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties or other factors beyond Nasdaq's control. These factors include, but are not limited to factors detailed in Nasdaq's annual report on Form 10-K, and periodic reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. We undertake no obligation to release any revisions to any forward-looking statements.

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