Green bonds have passed the $100 billion mark in global investments this year, according to two Praxis Mutual Funds executives.

The growth in green bonds is being driven by corporations that are issuing the bonds to meet environmental goals and institutions, and to a lesser extent individuals, that are concerned with what their investments are being used for, said Benjamin J. Bailey, vice president of investments and senior fixed-income investment manager at Praxis Mutual Funds.

Green bonds are used to fund projects that improve the environment or the community. “Technology companies like Apple are among the leaders in the field,” Bailey said. “Money is being used for renewable energy projects and energy efficiency projects.”

“Green bonds have grown rapidly in recent years, but as a part of the total bond market [the sector] is still quite small,” said Delmar King, fixed-income investment manager for Praxis Mutual Funds. The two executives are co-portfolio managers for Praxis Impact Bond Fund and Praxis Genesis Portfolios.

About $81 billion of green bonds were issued last year, according to the Climate Bonds Initiative, a nonprofit that promotes the debt market as a way to raise money for projects related to climate change. That figure is up from  $3 billion worth of green bonds issued in 2012.

The REIT industry issued a lot of the early green bonds for environmentally engineered office buildings, but more corporations, including utilities and independent power companies, are now issuing green bonds for such things as wind and solar power generation, Bailey said.

Praxis deals with taxable bonds but municipalities and other government entities are also part of the market.

“There are growing opportunities to take advantage of this niche market,” King said.

“Some retail investors still believe you have to sacrifice returns to invest in green bonds, but in fact they outperform their indexes,” Bailey said. “Financial advisors who hold themselves out as experts in environmental, sustainable and governance investments should find green bonds attractive.”
 

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