The session will cover the best practices and evolving nature of the environmental, social, and green (ESG) market and issuance of green, social, or sustainability (GSS) designated bonds. It will incorporate the perspectives of the key parties involved in the transaction, including the higher education issuer, second party opinion (SPO) provider, and underwriter. The session will combine the various intersections of the ESG offering—both within the institution (e.g., treasury, debt management, sustainability, or facilities) and external to the institution (underwriter, SPO, and investor community).
Karen Kearney and Gerry Hamilton will review a case study on Stanford's recent 2021 $300 million sustainability bonds issuance, which was climate bond certified and the first transaction in the higher education sector to carry this dual designation. They will specifically address the university's decision to proceed with an ESG-related offering and the very important interplay between their offices to leverage existing resources and reporting and the interaction with the SPO for the bond verification. Stanford was able to execute on one of its key initiatives to continue its progress in addressing climate change and long-range sustainability as the university continues to align its efforts around the United Nations Sustainable Development Guidelines (UN SDGs). Monica Reid, founder and CEO of Kestrel Verifiers, the SPO for the transaction, will discuss accepted international standards for ESG and green bond market designations and improving transparency with external review and offer examples of various ESG offerings with external review.
This is a joint presentation with NACUBO and the Treasury Institute for Higher Education.