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New KPI Guidance in Updated Sustainability-Linked Bonds Q&A

The International Capital Market Association (ICMA) has unveiled an updated version of its Sustainability-Linked Bonds (SLB) Q&A guide, originally released last year. Available as a stand-alone document on ICMA’s website, with plans for integration into its Guidance Handbook, the guide complements the ICMA’s Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (SLBP). As the adoption of SLBs gains momentum across diverse sectors and regions, the resource aims to help issuers demonstrate their sustainability commitments and enhance accountability, ultimately bolstering the credibility of the SLB market. Key improvements in the updated document include enhanced guidance on the selection of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), calibration of Sustainability Performance Targets (SPTs), alternatives to coupon step-ups, change of KPIs/SPTs, and reporting requirements. Additionally, references to sovereign issuers have been incorporated, aligning with the June 2023 edition of the SLBP, and certain Q&As have been reordered for improved clarity and conciseness. The SLB market, since its inception in 2019, has witnessed significant growth, surpassing US$200 billion in issuance, with over 90% of this volume occurring after 2021. Issuers from diverse sectors, including utilities and consumer goods, as well as sovereign entities, have joined the market, reflecting a global recognition of sustainability’s paramount importance. The SLBP, referenced by over 95% of SLB issuers worldwide, play a pivotal role in promoting market integrity and transparency, said the ICMA.

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