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Now live! Explore the program for the upcoming 2024 Global Conference, taking place May 5-8, 2024.

Financial Innovations Lab: Integrating ESG Data to Improve Risk Management and Municipal Resilience

Sustainable debt investments and the market for ESG data continue to expand. But without effective measuring and tracking of the ESG risks specific to each community, there is a limit to that growth. What’s unmeasured can’t be managed. If the municipal bond market is to capitalize on this momentum, it will require coordinated efforts from all stakeholders to standardize data about material risks and look at ways to “upstream” ESG risk detection by embedding these concerns into existing government practices on budgeting, asset management, planning, and procurement.

Developing a centralized data repository and sector-specific guidelines for municipal issuers is the first step toward increased transparency. Since the risks and metrics material to an issuer is inherently dependent on geography, establishing regional best practice centers will have the most utility. Doing so will provide issuers with a tailored set of local-level best practices and facilitate data aggregation and standardization among issuers within the same region. And an annual prize recognizing cooperation and coordination among agencies will also encourage friendly competition in the sustainable issuance sphere. The environmental and financial health of municipalities may depend on how well communities adopt all of these recommendations.