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ESG-focused Financial Products

Interactive Brokers via Coursera


As ESG investing continues to evolve, so do the funding mechanisms many companies, organizations, and governments use to finance their stated goals. Indeed, ESG-focused financial products, or ‘green assets’, have been growing in volume – as well as by type. In the fixed income space alone, instruments available to investors include green bonds, social bonds, sustainability-linked bonds, climate awareness bonds, gender bonds, and others – not to mention a growing list of ESG-themed exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Through this series of videos, webinars, and readings, students with basic knowledge of traditional financial products (e.g., bonds, ETFs) will learn how to describe various characteristics of green assets, including the supply, demand, and performance of green bonds, as well as holdings of certain ESG-themed ETFs, and discuss the recent growth of related fund flows. They should also be able to explain the principles and frameworks behind the issuance of different ESG-related fixed income products, as well as provide insights into how certain government and central bank policies may pose some critical challenges in this space.


  • An Introduction to Green Assets
    • This module centers on several types of green assets, including green bonds and social bonds, and the International Capital Market Association’s (ICMA) role in providing the driving principles behind their issuance. You should be able to explain who is selling these instruments, as well as some of the fixed-income related risks inherent in these types of products. Other green assets such as ESG-themed ETFs, and certain commodities are also introduced.
  • Fixed Income Product Perspectives - Truvalue Labs (Parts 1-3)
    • This webinar, “The Global State of GSSS Bonds”, presented by James Cardamone, associate director of ESG product at FactSet-owned Truvalue Labs, takes a deeper look at some of the financial instruments associated with ESG investing – many of which have recently witnessed an increasing groundswell of supply and demand. Through this presentation, you should acquire a better picture of ESG-related fixed income products, such as green, social, sustainable, and sustainability-linked bonds, how to analyze them, and, ultimately, make better informed investment decisions. Among other topics, Cardamone explores the allure behind these fixed-income products, who is selling and buying them, how they differ from conventional bonds, and what purposes they serve within the ESG investing sphere.
  • Fixed Income Product Perspectives - Truvalue Labs (Parts 4-5)
    • “The Global State of GSSS Bonds” webinar continues with James Cardamone, associate director of ESG product at FactSet-owned Truvalue Labs, demonstrating green bond performance, the ‘greenium’ effect, and delves further into how to evaluate green bond issuers, as well as analyze their performance in the secondary market.
  • Fixed Income Product Perspectives - Truvalue Labs (Parts 6-7)
    • “The Global State of GSSS Bonds” webinar continues with James Cardamone, associate director of ESG product at FactSet-owned Truvalue Labs, addressing participants' questions about ESG scoring, and green washing – topics that will also be echoed in later lessons.
  • ESG-themed Exchange-traded Funds
    • The next series of videos introduces you to ESG-themed ETFs, another asset class in the sustainability-related space, including a broad overview by Ron DeLegge, founder of ETFguide and host of the series ETF Battles. In that introduction, DeLegge offers insights into how standards vary across these products, as well as presents four of the top US-listed ETFs by assets, which may be used to begin your research. DeLegge is then joined by two analysts, who compare and contrast three index-based, ESG-focused ETFs from iShares and Vanguard – with their evaluations formed on the bases of cost, exposure strategy, performance, and more – demonstrating how you can follow their analytical strategies for your own investing decisions.
  • Reading Reinforcements
    • Readings in this module home in on the principles underlying different types of ESG-related fixed income products, examines certain specific bonds, as well as delves into certain government policy underpinning the rise of green asset supply, product diversity, and fund flows. We’ve also provided some commentary and research that addresses certain critical challenges of green bonds that you may factor into your analyses.

Taught by

Steven Levine


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