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Second Party Opinions

Independent, transparent opinions on a company's financing or framework, grounded in our award-winning Shades of Green approach, which assess the extent of contribution to a sustainable future.

What are Second Party Opinions?



S&P Global Ratings Second Party Opinions, featuring Shades of Green


An S&P Global Ratings Second Party Opinion (SPO) is an independent, point-in-time analysis of a sustainable finance instrument, program, or framework. Our SPOs, backed by the award-winning Shades of Green approach, provide additional transparency to investors that seek to understand and act upon potential contribution to a sustainable future. 


Why choose S&P Global Ratings as your SPO provider?


  • A leading provider of second party opinions 
  • Culture of analytical excellence  
  • Global coverage with sector & local experience 


Our combined global experience of assessing credit risk and sustainable finance and understanding of climate and environmental science uniquely enables us to provide companies with independent, point-in-time second party opinions that deliver the rigor and transparency that investors and lenders demand.


We are where experience in credit meets climate and sustainability excellence.


  • 680+

    Second Party Opinions delivered to date*



    *As of April 2024

  • 160

    Years of experience in providing independent opinions to the markets*



  • 70+

    Sustainable Finance Analysts*



  • 16

    Industry awards received since 2016*



  • Types of Second Party Opinions
  • What do Second Party Opinions on use-of-proceeds financings include?
  • What do Second Party Opinions on sustainability-linked financings include?

Types of Second Party Opinions

Our SPOs are a point-in-time analysis of a sustainable finance instrument, program, or framework and the characteristics of the issuing entity that are relevant for the implementation of the instrument, program, transaction, or framework.

Second Party Opinion - Use of Proceeds Financing 
Our Use of Proceeds SPOs assess types of sustainable financing where proceeds are allocated to specific environmental or social projects. We offer three types of Use of Proceeds SPOs: green, social, and sustainability.

Learn more about our Analytical Approach and the Shades of Green Assessment.

Second Party Opinion - Sustainability-Linked Financing
Our Sustainability-Linked Financing SPOs assess types of sustainable financing where the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes but incorporate measurable, forward-looking key performance indicators which are linked to sustainability performance targets into the financial and/or structural characteristics of the instrument - for alignment with: ICMA’s Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles, LMA’s Sustainability-Linked Loan Principles. 
What do Second Party Opinions on use-of-proceeds financings include?

Our Use of Proceeds SPOs assess types of sustainable financing where proceeds are allocated to specific environmental or social projects. We offer three types of Use of Proceeds SPOs: green, social, and sustainability. 

Our integrated Use-of-Proceeds SPO analysis has these key components:

  • An alignment opinion: Our assessment of whether the financing's documentation aligns with certain third-party published sustainable finance principles and guidelines identified by the issuer.

  • Shade of Green:  For green projects, our qualitative opinion of how consistent environmental activities eligible for financing are with a low-carbon climate resilient future. 

  • Issuer sustainability context:  We provide issuer sustainability context to situate the financing within the broader framing of the issuer's key sustainability factors. We consider which sustainability factors are most material for the issuer, how they are addressed by the financing, and review the issuer's strategy for the sustainability factors relevant to the financing. 

  • EU Taxonomy assessment: Upon request from the issuer, we provide an assessment of the alignment of the financing with the EU Taxonomy.

What do Second Party Opinions on sustainability-linked financings include?

Statement of Alignment

Issuer Sustainability Objectives

Principles opinion on:

        • Selection of Key Performance Indicator(s)
        • Calibration of Sustainability Performance Target(s)
        • Instrument Characteristics
        • Reporting
        • Post Issuance Review


Mapping to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

For all analytical components we can determine whether they are aligned, or not aligned, with the relevant Principles. In addition, when the Principles make further recommendations for best practices on disclosures and commitments in documentation, or there is an emerging best practice, we can provide an additional opinion on an entity's commitment as satisfactory, strong, or advanced.

Download our Analytical Approach for Sustainability-linked Financing SPOs here.





Analytical Approach


Shades of Green

Understand the Transition Spectrum with the Shades of Green: 

Our SPOs provide a view on alignment to relevant market principles (such as ICMA, LMA, EU Taxonomy), and additionally assess the financing’s contribution in the transition to a low carbon future through our shading scale, which includes assigning Dark, Medium or Light shading, as appropriate (for green projects).

Light Green may motivate early movers and helps to recognize transition steps in the near-term, while Dark Green acknowledges those closer to the end of their transition journey. Beyond financing that is ICMA Green Bond Principles or Sustainability Bond Principles aligned, additional shades of Yellow, Orange and Red are also possible, indicating non-alignment.

Learn more about our Shades of Green Approach.


Watch the Video: Explaining the Shades of Green

In the short video below, Christa Clapp, Global Head of Sustainable Finance Markets Analytics and Co-founder of Shades of Green, explains a bit more in depth how we assign the Dark, Medium or Light Green shades for green projects.



Why S&P Global Ratings for your Second Party Opinions?


Access our latest Sustainability Insights

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*For use-of-proceeds SPOs, from receipt of all necessary documents (additional time may be required, depending on complexity; please allow an additional 10-15 business days for EU Taxonomy Alignment, where applicable). For sustainability-linked SPOs: typically 15 business days from date of sustainability strategy meeting with issuer, with relevant documentation provided at least 3 working days ahead of the meeting. 

Learn more about S&P Global Ratings Second Party Opinions, featuring Shades of Green

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