A World in Debt - Is This Global Monster Sustainable?


In the wake of COP28, there has been much talk of the role of banks and financial markets in funding the energy transition and tackling sources of greenhouse gases. Banks are highly regulated, international capital markets and their underlying pools of bond market liquidity less so.

Much work has been done to mobilise the debt markets in support of sustainability goals. Much of this goes unreported as debt markets tend to hit headlines only when they suffer disruption.

Bigger and more powerful than most individual national governments and their Central Banks, the global bond market is a fearsome beast, driven by macro-economic and geopolitical drivers. It does not enjoy the glamour of the smaller stock market with its storied companies, IPOs and daily diet of results announcements.

Nevertheless, global bond markets have been evolving fast, and have made significant strides in terms of supporting the world’s ESG agenda. Paying attention to what is going on here is important.

This short presentation seeks to quickly explain the nature of the bond market and the role it already plays in the fight against global warming. Bonds behave very differently to equities, but serve to direct capital to where it is needed and can be economically deployed.

Developments in green and sustainability bonds, including the emergence of sustainability-linked bonds point the way to further innovation and exciting developments for the future.

The Worshipful Company of International Bankers brings together experience from across global markets, and in its role as a thought leader seeks to contribute input from a vibrant industry to a vital debate.

Green washing is thrown about as a reputation-shredding charge- how does the industry up its standards and meet those challenges?


Tim Skeet is currently Middle Warden of the WCIB and works as a member of the Executive Committee of a major foreign bank subsidiary in the City.

He has spent 42 years in the City as a banker, specialising in the debt capital markets as a financial institutions bond originator. He spent many years working on the technical aspects of bank capital and liquidity requirements, wholesale mortgage finance and aspects of green and sustainability funding. He is UK Regional Chair also of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) and Deputy Chair of its Committee of the Regions.