Investeringer med ESG fokus slår rekorder og væksten begynder at rejse spørgsmål (og endda bekymring) om, hvor meget større den kan blive. Er vi vidne til en grøn investeringsboble, disktuterer internationale ESG analytikere.

Den samlede udstedelse af grønne obligationer toppede med 1 miilard USD i  sidste uge og sluttede sig til ESG-fokuserede fonde, der har et tilsvarende beløb i aktiver under forvaltning.

Alene i den sidste måned blev der solgt mere end 50 milliarder dollars af grønne obligationer, inklusive debuter i Tyskland af en trio af bilproducenter, herunder Volkswagen, og JPMorgan, den største amerikanske bank med aktiver, ifølge data samlet af BloombergNEF.

Bloomberg skriver i en meddelse:

Is it a bubble? Jared Dillian, an investment strategist at Mauldin Economics, wrote this week in Bloomberg Opinion that he thinks it just might be. “ESG is nothing but a passing investment fad, not unlike smart beta, the BRICs, structured products or any of the myriad market bubbles over the last 25 years, small and large,” he said.

Still, analysts at Bank of America expect another $450 billion of green, social and sustainable debt to be issued in 2021, roughly equaling this year’s issuance. Sales of green bonds, where proceeds are ring-fenced for environmental projects, will account for “the bulk” of the transactions, Bank of America said.

The Bank for International Settlements, which is often dubbed the central bank for central banks, said last month that it has seen no proof that green bonds result in lower corporate carbon emissions. The median change in carbon intensity—the ratio of carbon emissions to revenue—of green bond issuers has been minimal over time, the BIS said.

Concern about the lack of standards in the green bond market surfaced in a big way in 2017 when Spanish oil company Repsol SA became the first major refiner to sell the securities. Since then, energy companies such as Saudi Electricity have sold debt.

Investors are growing increasingly anxious about how the funds raised from green bond sales are being used, said Josh Olazabal, head of ESG and Sustainability at CreditSights Inc.

“It’s definitely something that a lot of investors are talking about, and they’re seeking more specific details from companies and better assurances from third-party sources,” he said. “Especially as green bond issuance expands to non-traditional issuers in more diverse sectors, they want to know where the proceeds are going and how green they are.”

So far, there haven’t been any notable cases of “greenwashing,” but that is an overhanging concern for purchasers of green bonds, Olazabal said.

It also explains why lawmakers in Europe want to establish a set of standards by next year for what really counts as “green” for projects that are funded by such debt. The European Union needs the rulebook before the region goes ahead with its planned 225 billion euro ($265 billion) offering of green securities.