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Vienna, 20.09.2019 Federal Ministry of Finance: Green Finance stakeholders consult on first 'sustainability bonds' Stakeholder event on Austrian Green Finance Agenda –
Work advancing on Green Finance Agenda

Vienna (OTS) - In February, under the joint direction of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, a focus group was initiated comprising stakeholders from the Austrian financial sector in order to deal with the question of how the Austrian financial market can make a contribution to achieving climate and energy targets. Since February, various measures have been discussed and planned or indeed implemented. Today, the stakeholders discussed their initial experience of 'sustainability bonds' in Austria. In the autumn of this year, Österreichische Kontrollbank is planning to issue just such a 'sustainability bond', and the bank presented its plans today. The revenue from such bonds will be exclusively used in order to finance environmental and social projects.

"At the moment, in many sustainability ratings, Austria has the highest rankings over a global comparison. Indeed Sustainalytics has ranked Austria in 4th place out of 172 countries, and in Yale University's Environmental Performance Index, Austria occupies 8th place out of 180 countries. Many investors are therefore already investing in our government bonds, since we are perceived to be a green issuer. A 'sustainability bond' provides investors with absolute certainty that they are investing their capital in sustainable or social projects," affirmed Austrian Finance Minister Eduard Müller. In the environmental sector, capital investments are deployed for instance in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water treatment or the prevention of environmental contamination. Social projects promote the construction of basic infrastructure in developing countries, or access to essential services, as well as other projects. "The Austrian Finance Ministry welcomes the issue of 'sustainable' financial instruments and, through the Green Finance Agenda, provides the financial sector with a forum enabling the sector in Austria to be structured in a more sustainable way. Österreichische Kontrollbank has our total support in the issue of its first sustainability bond," added Müller.

"Climate and environmental protection, as well as issues of social inequality, are the major global challenges of our time. At Österreichische Kontrollbank, we can make a contribution to solving these issues by making funds available for sustainability projects via 'sustainability bonds'," added Angelika Sommer-Hemetsberger, who has responsibility for capital market operations on the Board of Österreichische Kontrollbank.

The Green Finance Agenda is a project aimed at implementing the Austrian climate and energy strategy #mission2030. The focus group consists of experts from the Finance Ministry and the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism, as well as high-profile representatives of other institutions, both public and private, such as Österreichische Nationalbank, the Austrian Financial Market Authority, Österreichische Kontrollbank, the Austrian Treasury, the Vienna Stock Exchange, companies in the banking and insurance sector, and representatives from the academic and scientific community. The aim is to use various financial instruments in order to create measures facilitating sustainable investment for both institutional and private investors and to open up concrete investment opportunities for green technologies and projects.

One of the first concrete measures within the framework of this initiative has been the development and implementation of "Exportinvest Green" by Österreichische Kontrollbank. This provides attractive financing for exporters making a contribution to environmental improvement. The focus group will meet several more times this year, and further concrete conclusions may be anticipated by the year-end.