Enhancing capacity and efficiency in issuing green bonds, that is the ultimate objective of a globally unique five-day-executive education program for emerging market bankers to debut June 24,2019. The program is co-led by SSFC’s Senior Advisor Hanna Setterberg.
Question: What do you aim to achieve with this first-of-its-kind program?
Answer: The aim of the program is to provide the participants with a tool box so that they are able to emit green bonds when they return home after the program. The participants work at financial institutions in emerging market economies such as Nigeria, Turkey and Thailand, and financial institutions are important intermediaries in terms of channelling money into projects that help us transition into a more sustainable society.
During the on-site module of the program that takes place here in Sweden, we want to provide participants with the tool box they need to improve their ability to emit green bonds, as well as finding the green projects eligible for funding. Aside from that, we also want to foster participants’ belief that they can be part of the solution that is sustainable finance.
Q: How do you aim to do that?
A: Over the course of our five days together, we will address both the bigger picture of global challenges and the sustainable finance context, but also have very hands-on workshops for example on green bonds principles.
The idea is that at the end of this week, they will have already started their journey towards emitting green bonds. We will then have a follow-up webinar a few months after the program to talk with participants about how far they have come, what possible obstacles have been and how they can be addressed.
Q: Why have this training here in Sweden?
A: Sweden has come a long way with regard to sustainable finance. It was one of Sweden’s major banks, namely SEB, that initiated the first issuance of a green bond through the World Bank back in 2008. In January 2019 alone, more than half of all bonds issued in Sweden were green.
That said, sustainable finance is something that is driven by other actors in Sweden as well – the real estate industry, for one, but also cities and municipalities. The city of Gothenburg was the first city to issue a green bond, and we also have Kommuninvest, a credit market company owned by smaller and medium-sized municipalities and county councils that gives its members access to affordable green financing. Both Gothenburg and Kommuninvest have received recognition for their efforts from the UNFCCC, and I do think Sweden is internationally recognized for its leadership on green bonds.
Q: You are hosting the greater part of this program at SSE Executive Education’s own campus, in a setting that looks like a poster ad for Sweden – very green and by a lake. How does this contribute to the participant’s learning experience?
A: We know from studies that the setting is important to the learning experience. We also know that in this type of venue we can create a good environment in which participants are relaxed and open to learning. This particular venue is specifically tailored to encourage learning: It is calm, with lots of nature around, and no distractions, so that participants can focus on themselves, the group, and the program’s content.
Q: While most sessions will take place on campus, there will also be field trips – for example one to the headquarters of SEB in Stockholm, but also one to a school building in Järfälla. What is the purpose of that?
A: In a five-day-program you want to have some variation, because it also enhances the learning experience. The Herresta school in Järfälla about a half hour outside of Stockholm was financed with a green loan, and it is a green building in many aspects such as building material, use and generation of electricity, as well as garbage disposal to name just a few. On this field trip, participants can really get a feel for what a green building is, and what potential there may be in green loans.
Q: If you picture yourself on the program’s last day, when the diplomas have been handed out and participants start leaving – what is it that will make you feel good in this situation?
A: I will feel good if the participants have had an exciting learning journey up to this point but are also aware that their journey has only just started. I will feel good if participants have become passionate about this subject and also feel empowered to start implementing the things they learned about.