Last updated: 07:02 / Thursday, 8 October 2020
Access to the Eurozone

iShares Launches the First Climate Risk-Adjusted Government Bond ETF

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  • The ETF offers access to Eurozone government bonds while seeking to provide a higher exposure to countries less exposed to climate change risks
  • The Climate EGBI incorporates a tilting methodology that adjusts index weights according to each country’s relative exposure to climate risk
  • “The decision by Blackrock to license FTSE Russell’s Advanced Climate EGBI for an ETF listing marks an important juncture in climate themed investing in European fixed income markets”

iShares has launched the first climate risk-adjusted government bond ETF in the market: the iShares € Govt Bond Climate UCITS ETF. The strategy tracks the FTSE Climate Risk-Adjusted European Monetary Union (EMU) Government Bond Index (Climate EGBI), launched by FTSE Russel last January.

The ETF offers access to Eurozone government bonds while seeking to provide a higher exposure to countries less exposed to climate change risks and a lower exposure to countries that are more exposed, explained FTSE Russel on a press release. As for the index, it is designed for investors with an increased focus on climate performance of their government bond portfolios and is the result of close collaboration with Blackrock’s team over recent months.

The Climate EGBI incorporates a tilting methodology that adjusts index weights according to each country’s relative exposure to climate risk, with respect to resilience and preparedness to the risks of climate change. This includes an assessment of the expected economic impact of transitioning to greenhouse gas emissions levels aligned with the Paris Accord target of less than 2°C by 2050, known as transition risk. An assessment of the physical risk of climate change such as sea level rises and the resiliency of countries to tackle these risks is also assessed.

“The decision by a leading investor and ETF provider such as Blackrock to license FTSE Russell’s Advanced Climate EGBI for an ETF listing marks an important juncture in climate themed investing in European fixed income markets. Both institutional and private asset owners are increasingly including climate objectives in their decision making and are adjusting fixed income portfolios based on climate concerns. We expect growing interest from investors in this area”, said Arne Staal, Global Head of Research and Product Management at FTSE Russell.

Meanwhile, Brett Olson, Head of iShares fixed income, EMEA, at BlackRock, pointed out that sovereign issuers are facing increasing pressure to meet sustainability criteria, as more investors consider the ESG profile of their fixed income portfolios. “Until today, investors have had very limited options for cost effective exposure to government bonds that incorporate climate risk. This launch is yet another example of our commitment to providing investors with more choice to build sustainable portfolios”, he added.

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