- The City of Toronto issued its first green bond Wednesday, a 300 million Canadian dollar ($228.3 million) offering that will fund projects to fight and adapt to the effects of climate change. Toronto follows Ottawa as the second Canadian city to engage in green financing.
- The proceeds from the bond — which came with the lowest borrowing cost the city has seen for a 30-year bond — will largely go to public transportation and light rail projects, according to the Financial Post. The city said proceeds would also go to air, water and soil pollution control.
- The city on Wednesday also joined the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, working with private partners and other Canadian cities on a public education effort to reduce food waste. Vancouver and Montreal also joined the effort.
The two announcements fit into Toronto's ambitious sustainability goals. In 2017, the city council set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050, with 75% of the city’s energy being renewable by mid-century. The green bond program will allow Toronto to raise necessary funds to build out infrastructure to meet those goals, especially in the realm of transportation.
Ottawa used its CA$102 million ($77.6 million) green bond last year to pay for light rail projects, a way to focus investors around a cleaner form of transportation and help cover the high up-front cost of new infrastructure. The bonds have caught on as a tool for cities and companies to raise money for sustainable projects (Apple offered a $1 billion bond last year to finance clean energy), especially as investors need to meet certain climate goals. According to the Climate Bond Initiative, green bonds hit a record $155.5 billion issuance in 2017.
Joining the food waste initiative is a less direct step to sustainability goals, but addresses a major problem. According to a press statement from Toronto Mayor John Tory, the average Canadian household wastes 140 kilograms (309 pounds) of food a year. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign started in the United Kingdom a decade ago and has been linked to a reduction in consumer food waste of more than 20%. Bringing a similar reduction across Canada would mean serious savings in waste and energy linked to the food system.