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Shades of Green, formerly part of CICERO, now a part of S&P Global

Leading global provider of second party opinions on green financings


Shades of Green, formerly part of CICERO, now a part of S&P Global, provides independent, research-based evaluations of green bond and sustainability financing frameworks to determine their environmental robustness. Our Second Party Opinions are built on climate science, drawing on competence from our former parent organization CICERO Center for International Climate Research.

In December 2022 S&P Global acquired the Shades of Green business from CICERO. The acquisition will be integrated into S&P Global Ratings and further expand the breadth and depth of our second party opinions (SPOs) offering. We are currently working to combine the best of both companies’ methodologies to deliver a suite of SPOs that deliver robust analysis, transparency, and continues to be the reference for high quality in the market. To learn more about S&P Global Ratings SPO solutions, please click here.

Our Shades of Green offerings currently include:

  • Second Party Opinions on green, sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds and loans
  • Annual Impact Report Reviews
  • Company Assessments

Shades of Green Methodology

  • Shades of Green Methodology
  • Approach & Process

In providing independent reviews of green bonds since the market’s inception, we developed a scalable and flexible solution to provide environmental due diligence. Our Shades of Green methodology gives transparent information on how well a green bond aligns with a low-carbon resilient future.  Our second opinions are graded Light Green, Medium Green and Dark Green.

We assess whether a given activity or technology supports a low-carbon and climate resilient society in the long-term. In some cases, activities or technologies that reduce emissions in the near-term result in a prolonged use of high-emitting infrastructure and an increase in net emissions in the long term. Shades of Green strives to avoid locking-in of emissions through careful infrastructure investments and moving towards low- or zero-emitting infrastructure. 

Approach & Process
The Green Bond Principles outline voluntary guidance for green bonds, but do not take a position on the quality of green solutions. This is where Shades of Green finds its pivotal role, to connect climate change science with the financial markets.

We assess the environmental soundness of green projects through an integrated lens considering both emission reduction and planned resilience to climate impacts.

For sustainability bonds, we consider the integration of both environmental and social aspects. We consider avoiding negative social impacts for green projects and avoiding negative environmental impacts for social projects.

At the issuer level, we assess the governance and transparency of environmental targets and policies, which can give an indication of the ability of the issuer to implement the environmental ambition of their finance framework. Our assessment methodology grades the environmental governance structure as Excellent, Good or Fair.

Our second opinions are desk reviews, based on documentation provided by the issuer and information gathered during meetings, teleconferences and e-mail correspondence with the issuer.

After a green bond is issued, we also offer external review services for impact and allocation reports. 

The Assessment Process

About Us

  • Our history and mission
  • Our founders
  • Awards and Industry Recognition

Our history and mission
Shades of Green, formerly part of CICERO, now a part of S&P Global, has been championing SPOs in the global green financing market since 2008 after publishing the very first SPO on the World Bank’s Green bond framework and remain the largest external reviewer by volume globally. By integrating Shades of Green into S&P Global Ratings Sustainable Finance business, we will have over 70 dedicated sustainable finance analysts globally and have completed over 500 SPOs across green, social, sustainability and sustainability-linked SPOs.

With S&P Global Ratings' global experience in assessing sustainable finance risk, coupled with Shades of Green’s deep expertise in climate and sustainability, we are ready to help you navigate access to the public and private sustainable debt markets with solutions that deliver the rigor and transparency your investors and lenders demand.

Our founders

Harald Francke Lund
Managing Director, Sustainable Finance
Harald Francke Lund co-founded Shades of Green, formerly part of CICERO, now a part of S&P Global. Prior to this, Harald was project manager on green bonds at CICERO. Harald also led the Norwegian contribution to the UNSG's AGF report on long term climate finance in 2010 and has held the positions of Deputy Chief Negotiator for Norway, Head of Emissions Trading Section at the Norwegian Environment Agency, and Advisor to the UNSG’s Special Envoy on Climate Change Jens Stoltenberg. He was project leader of the Background Report on Long-term Climate Finance prepared for the German Presidency 2015. Harald has a law degree from the University of Oslo.

Christa Clapp
Managing Director, Sustainable Finance

Christa Clapp co-founded Shades of Green, formerly part of CICERO, now a part of S&P Global, and previously led the climate finance work as a Research Director at CICERO. She has over 20 years of experience in climate policy and economic analysis, holding previous positions at the OECD and the US EPA. She is a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 6th assessment report on mitigation for the finance and investment chapter and sits on the Editorial Board for the Climate Policy Journal. 

Awards and Industry Recognition
Recent Sustainable Finance Awards for Shades of Green and S&P Global Ratings:

Previous awards for Shades of Green, formerly part of CICERO, now a part of S&P Global:

Public Reports

You can view all pre- and post-acquisition Shades of Green and S&P Global Ratings public SPO reports here.

To view all Shades of Green Company Assessments please click here.

Learn more about Shades of Green

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