Green Bonds and Sustainability-Linked Bonds: A Path to Sustainable Investing in India

In today’s rapidly evolving world, the pursuit of sustainability has become a global imperative. As environmental concerns take center stage, investors are increasingly looking for opportunities to align their portfolios with eco-conscious choices. In India, green bonds and sustainability-linked bonds have emerged as powerful tools for sustainable investing, allowing individuals to contribute to positive environmental changes while achieving financial goals. In this guide, we will delve into the world of green bonds, sustainability-linked bonds, their types, tax benefits, and how you can invest in them to create a greener and more sustainable future.

Understanding Green Bonds and Sustainability-Linked Bonds

What Are Green Bonds? 

Green bonds are a specialized financial instrument designed explicitly to fund projects with measurable environmental benefits. These projects span a wide spectrum, including renewable energy initiatives, energy-efficient infrastructure, sustainable agriculture, clean water initiatives, and more. By investing in green bonds, individuals can play a direct role in supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy while earning attractive financial returns.

Sustainability-Linked Bonds

A New Paradigm Sustainability bonds introduce an innovative approach to incentivize issuers to enhance their sustainability performance. These bonds align the financial terms with predefined environmental, social, or governance (ESG) targets. As issuers strive to meet these goals, they benefit from more favourable terms, driving positive change within their organizations and the broader community.

Exploring Different Types of Green Bonds

Green bonds come in various forms, each targeting specific environmental goals. Here are some notable types:

  1. Renewable Energy Bonds: These bonds finance renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, and hydropower, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable energy landscape.
  2. Energy Efficiency Bonds: Issued to fund projects that enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Examples include retrofitting buildings with energy-efficient systems.
  3. Clean Transportation Bonds: Financing projects related to electric vehicles, public transit systems, and the development of bike lanes, promoting eco-friendly mobility solutions.
  4. Sustainable Agriculture Bonds: These bonds support projects that promote environmentally friendly agricultural practices, such as water-saving technologies and the adoption of organic farming.
  5. Climate Adaptation Bonds: Funding projects that help communities adapt to the impacts of climate change, including flood control, drought mitigation, and coastal protection.
  6. Social Bonds: Supporting projects addressing social and governance issues like affordable housing, education, and healthcare, contributing to holistic sustainability.
  7. Sovereign Green Bonds: These are bonds issued by the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) on behalf of the Central Government to fund schemes that help lessen the carbon intensity of the economy, such as green infrastructure, renewable energy, and climate adaptation.
  8.  Asset-backed Green Bonds: These are bonds issued by special purpose vehicles (SPVs) that are backed by a pool of green assets, such as solar power plants, wind farms, or electric vehicles. 

Choosing the Right Green & Sustainability Bond

Investing in green and sustainability bonds requires careful consideration of several factors:

  • Project Selection: Assess the environmental and social impact of the projects financed by the bond. Choose bonds that align with your values and contribute significantly to sustainability.
  • Issuer Creditworthiness: Evaluate the financial stability of the issuer. Analyze their long-term liabilities and assets to ensure the safety of your investment.
  • Transparency and Reporting: Opt for bonds with robust disclosure and reporting standards. Seek bonds subject to independent verification and transparent reporting on the use of proceeds and project impact.
  • Yield and Maturity: Consider the bond’s yield and maturity, aligning them with your investment goals and risk tolerance.
  • Market Liquidity: Evaluate the bond’s liquidity in the market. Choose bonds that are actively traded and possess a robust secondary market.

How to Invest in Green Bonds in India

While green bonds have traditionally been favored by institutional investors, retail investors in India can also participate in this sustainable investment journey. Here’s how:

  • Explore Mutual Funds and ETFs: Retail investors can access green bonds through mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These investment vehicles allow individuals to pool resources with like-minded investors, creating a diversified portfolio of green bonds.
  • Conduct In-Depth Research: Before investing, research and select mutual funds or ETFs with a focus on green bonds or sustainable investments. Consider factors such as investment strategy, track record, and brokerage fees.


By investing in green bonds and sustainability-linked bonds, you can be a part of the sustainable investing movement in India, promoting environmental and social change while pursuing your financial objectives. Make informed decisions and embrace the future of responsible investing for a greener and brighter tomorrow.

FAQs | Green Bonds

What are sustainability bonds?

Sustainability bonds are financial instruments designed to incentivize issuers to enhance their sustainability performance. These bonds align financial terms with predefined environmental, social, or governance (ESG) targets, driving positive change within organisations.

How can I determine the right green or sustainability bond for my investment portfolio?

Choosing the right bond involves evaluating factors such as project impact, issuer creditworthiness, transparency, yield, maturity, and market liquidity. Consider bonds that align with your sustainability values and financial goals.

Are green bonds tax-efficient in India?

Green bonds in India may come with tax incentives, such as tax exemption and tax credits, enhancing their attractiveness to investors. These incentives aim to promote investment in eco-friendly projects and renewable energy sources.

What are RBI green bonds?

RBI green bonds, also known as Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs), are issued by the Reserve Bank of India to fund eco-friendly public projects, reducing carbon emissions.

How do green bonds work?

Green bonds raise funds for environmentally beneficial projects while functioning like regular bonds. Funds are exclusively directed toward green initiatives, verified by third parties.

Who launched green bonds in India?

YES Bank initiated green bonds in India in 2015, raising Rs 1,000 crore for renewable energy. Since then, entities like NTPC, IREDA, Axis Bank, and Greenko Group have issued green bonds.

Who introduced green bonds?

Green bonds were introduced by the World Bank in 2007, in partnership with SEB, to finance climate and environmental projects. The World Bank’s inaugural green bond in 2008 raised $400 million for such initiatives.


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.