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MALTATODAY 25 September 2022

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8 NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 25 SEPTEMBER 2022 State should jump-start Malta green bond market JAMES DEBONO NO green bonds have yet been publicly listed on the Malta Stock Exchange, despite a le- gal framework for bonds in in- dustries serving climate change mitigation and adaptation, the circular economy. and the resto- ration of biodiversity. Malta's inertia in these green financial instruments was ex- plained by Central Bank experts who surveryed both potential issuers and investors, who said it should be the government to jump-start investment in this sector with its own green bonds. The economists found a mis- match in the market, marked by an apparent demand for green bonds from potential investors but a reluctance from issuers who "lack the necessary knowl- edge and interest in tapping this kind of investment opportunity." In fact, just 13% of financial issuers have considered the is- sue of green bonds to finance sustainable projects. Of these, 80% said they are likely to issue a green bond within the next five years. This indicates that most issuers "are reluctant to issue green bonds anytime soon and not before they perceive a significant increase in investor awareness within the local green market." In contrast, 90% of potential investors said they were willing to invest in locally-issued green bonds in the future. And despite the absence of these bonds, 36% have already invested in green finance else- where – of these, 60% said they would prefer a green bond in- vestment over an identical con- ventional counterpart. From the survey results it is apparent that "a market leader is necessary to jumpstart the lo- cal green bond market as such a move might diminish uncertain- ty in this market for both issuers and investors, encouraging more active market players". As the largest issuer of bonds in the Maltese capital market, the government could take the initiative by introducing the first green bonds to the market, which would pave the way for the growth of this sector. The authors of the study con- trast the local situation with a global scenario in which green finance has grown exponential- ly since its inception in the late 2000s. Since its inception the sector has surpassed the $1 trillion mark in cumulative green bond issuance. "These instruments have be- come so popular and sought after, that some investors are willing to take in less return, in terms of yield, just to acquire the asset within their portfolio." Still despite local authorities' efforts, so far, no green instru- ment has been as yet listed on the Malta Stock Exchange. On- ly a small percentage of Maltese investors have invested in green finance and consider taking on more green bonds should the opportunity arise. Respondents were also not aware that the Malta Stock Ex- change had established laws that allow the listing of such instru- ments. Just over a 100 questionnaires were sent out to targeted re- spondents, of which 56 were successfully completed. The response rate was described as "somewhat satisfactory" with the findings providing "a useful insight, reflecting the view of stakeholders directly involved in a niche market". The study was conducted by Alistair Borg, an executive at the Central Bank's monetary oper- ations unit and senior research analysts Therese Lethridge, Kimberley Charlie Mifsud, Alan Psaila and Emmanuel Farrugia. Central Bank experts said government must take initiative on green bonds after survey reveals mismatch between investor interest and reluctance of private issuers No green bonds have yet been publicly listed on the Malta Stock Exchange Birkirkara: supermarket to create over 1,200 new car trips JAMES DEBONO A proposed supermarket and of- fice and residential complex on a 4,000sq.m plot on Dun Karm Psaila bypass will create an av- erage of 1,475 additional daily car trips over and above present levels, 1,214 solely by the new supermarket. The development next to the Scan outlet, is proposed by the Tumas Group's Spinola Devel- opment Co. Ltd. It will comprise a multi-level basement car park, supermarket at ground floor, offices on the first two floors, and 26 residen- tial apartments over six levels. Just 130sq.m will be a designated "public piazza". It will rise three floors over the bypass, and six storeys on the narrow Triq Jannara and Triq Hal Gharghur. The site has already been cleared of soil due to an arche- ological investigation by the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, which revealed an un- derground shelter that the SCH wants incorporated in the devel- opment. Although fronting a busy arte- rial road of retail developments and showrooms, the site pro- trudes into a densely populated area where residents are de- manding more consultation and expressing their concern over parking spaces. The developers' Transport Im- pact Assessment contends that current junctions can absorb the traffic generated by the project, described as "medium scale" when compared to the existing traffic in t h e area. "Heavy traffic will be more prominent during the construc- tion of the development rather than its operation," the TIA said, with studies on air quality still being conducted. The developers do not intend selling the residences, but rent them out to employees of the proposes offices, to reduce the traffic impact generated from the building. The developers' project state- ment justified the supermarket as a way of providing the com- munity with "an easily accessi- ble option without the need to travel to the city centre", and to cater for other residents who "may currently have to commute a greater distance to the nearest retail market". The site is currently abandoned and undeveloped but was previ- ously used for agriculture and as a boat yard. It also includes pro- tected rubble walls, which are in a degraded state. The PDS acknowledges that the visual amenity of the site will be negatively impacts during both the construction and op- erational phases, specially since the proposed Scheme lies in the immediate vicinity of a residen- tial area while recommending a design which blend in with the surroundings.

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