The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) continues its innovative approach towards developing the Stock Market when it launched its Green Bond Project at a ceremony held at the JSE on June 23, 2021.
Mrs. Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director JSE, in her welcome, recalled this first opportunity for this project and stated that, “In April of 2019, Dr. Hopeton Morrison met with members of the Exchange and invited us to a Climate Conference hosted by the government. We graciously accepted and I daresay obligation to share in or convey our message about the need for sustainability and to deliver on our role as a member of the UN Sustainable Exchanges. Mrs. Street Forrest went on to state that the JSE offered valuable suggestions on how through collaboration we could not only realize an environment and a market for the Green Bond in Jamaica but the region. A seed was sown as hence the birth of the project:
‘Facilitating an Enabling Environment for a Caribbean Green Bond Listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.’
The Honorable Pearnel Charles Jr. Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, who was the keynote speaker at the launch, said “the green bonds, are an innovative means of encouraging sustainability and mitigating climate change by supporting climate-related or other types of environmental projects including those aimed at energy efficiency, clean transportation, pollution prevention, sustainable agriculture, fisheries, forestry, the protection of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, clean water and sustainable water management. They have been used successfully by the World Bank, and in countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. In 2017, green bond issuance accounted for US$161 billion worth of investment worldwide, according to rating agency Moody’s. By 2019, the figure had jumped by more than 50%, totaling US$257.5 billion.
Mr. Tony Clamp, Director, Private Sector Facility Green Climate, briefly expressed endorsement by Green Climate Fund and encouraged all stakeholder to play their part to make the project a success.
Mrs. Gloria Josephs, Dominica Republic Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Planning, Resilience, Sustainability Development, Telecommunications and Broadcasting, a major partner on this initiative participated at the launch. Minister Josephs stated that, “For us in Dominica, being one of the islands with a high degree of susceptibility to climate actions though one of the least contributors to the emission of green-house gases (GHG), national focus has been on resilience and sustainability both of which necessitate higher more targeted investments.
Business Development Manager JSE Group and Project Leader Mr. Andre Gooden give an overview of the project. He stated the Government and Regulators can facilitate the establishment of public-private partnerships, which can in turn encourage green investment and lead to the adoption of new technologies. He also noted that Brokers, Issuers of Green bonds, and the JSE, can attract investors from outside the domestic financial market, who can leverage support for climate resilience. In closing Mr. Gooden gave the Project timeline for completion based on the phases; (a) Market Assessment already done (b) Development of Green Bond Listing Standards and Guidelines, and (c) Capacity Building and knowledge sharing to be completed in 2022.
Principal Director Climate Change Division, Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change and GCF National Designated Authority, Ms. Una May Gordon, said it is government’s interface in the climate agenda, at the National, Regional & international level. The Division also serves as anchor/focal point for engagement with several; the Mechanism, including the financial mechanisms, that serves the Convention & the Paris Agreement.
Mr. Gopal Burgher, Partner BurgherGray LLP an attorney-at-Law based in New York who has experience in Green Bond fundraising and a strong Diaspora was encouraged with the Director of the JSE, Ministry, private sector, and other stakeholders. Mr. Gopal stated that he was willing to share his expertise in this area to formulate the framework to achieve the success of the great initiative.
Mrs. Eleanor Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Environmental Solutions Ltd., brought greetings and endorsement from the Private Sector and as an environmental specialist was more than pleased to have the private sector included in these discussions.