Kestrel Announces Milestone of 200th External Review

Hood River, Oregon, September 27, 2023 – Kestrel, the trusted US municipal market leader for Green, Social and Sustainability Bonds designations, announced completion of its 200th external review. Since becoming a Climate Bonds Initiative Approved Verifier in 2017 and releasing its first Second Party Opinion in 2018, Kestrel market share has grown exponentially. In Q2 2023, 80% of municipal bonds with an external review were verified by Kestrel.

As a certified Women’s Business Enterprise and a team with deep sector and practitioners’ expertise, Kestrel has become known as an effective collaborator and a trusted voice in the market. Kestrel is proud to have been a part of many pivotal market developments:

  • Awards: Deals with external reviews by Kestrel have received multiple awards from Environmental Finance and The Bond Buyer, including 2023 Social Project Bond of the Year for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Innovative Financing award for the Connecticut Green Bank.
  • Pricing Benefit: Key insights into dynamics of investor demand for labeled bonds and the presence of a pricing benefit (“greenium”) have been revealed through Kestrel-verified bonds. At least five transactions clearly demonstrated multiple basis-point pricing benefit.
  • Independent Assurance: In 2022, bonds with external reviews outnumbered self-labeled bonds for the first time in the US municipal market.

Known for customer service, Kestrel has been a central player in the evolution of sustainable finance in the municipal market and a driver for innovation and market growth. “We have a special role in the market,” said Monica Reid, Kestrel’s CEO and founder. “Against the backdrop of climate change, the landscape of finance is changing. There’s a need for people like us that can speak both science and finance, or climate change and finance, or social equity and finance. The world needs translators to make sense of data, so that everybody can understand and have confidence in the value of different investments in relation to climate change and social justice.”

The Kestrel team is looking forward to continuous market evolution, expanded adoption of robust reporting schemes, and continued partnership and collaboration in the years ahead. Kestrel also verifies corporate bonds and structured finance transactions, and recently became the first US-based Climate Bonds Initiative Approved Verifier for Entity Level Verification under the Climate Bonds Standard. “We are excited to move toward Issuer-level certification,” said Ms. Reid, “it opens the door for so much innovation. Maybe we will see green equities in 2024.”

About Kestrel

Kestrel Sustainability Intelligence™ for municipal markets helps set the market standard for sustainable finance. We do this through verification and our comprehensive Analysis and Scores.

Kestrel is a leading provider of external reviews for green, social and sustainability bond transactions. We are qualified to evaluate corporate and municipal bonds in all asset classes worldwide for conformance with international green and social bond standards. | | +1 800-756-8099

Climate Bonds Approved Verifier



San Diego Unified School District has an excellent Sustainability Bonds program. Kestrel Second Party Opinions are designed to highlight key environmental and social impacts of each issuance, and the great work of senior executive directors of facilities planning and construction like Lee Dulgeroff. Investors appreciate the added transparency and assurance from Kestrel Opinions. The District is showing leadership in sustainable finance in California and paving the way for other school districts to follow and see the same benefits as Mark Young at KNN describes. We’re looking forward to continued success of this program!

New York/London, 05/09/2023,09:00 EST: Kestrel has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first US-based Approved Verifier for Entity Level Verification and Sustainability Linked Debt certifications under the Climate Bonds Standard. Kestrel provides Sustainability Intelligence™ and verification services designed to bring greater transparency and insight to fixed income.

Under the Climate Bonds Standard and Certification Scheme, Kestrel will continue to catalyze the green bonds market by verifying municipal issuers’ and corporations’ alignment with the science-based criteria established in the Climate Bonds Standard. With this new accreditation, Kestrel can provide Entity-Level Verification for corporations and municipal issuers seeking Certified Green Entity status under the established Climate Bonds Standard or seeking Certification of their general-purpose debt.

A Climate Bonds Initiative Approved Verifier since 2017, Kestrel is the leading provider of external reviews for green, social and sustainability bond transactions in US public finance and provides comprehensive Sustainability Intelligence and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impact scores on municipal bonds, available on Bloomberg.

With the newly granted verifier status, Kestrel is poised to play a pivotal role in affirming the credibility of Green Entities seeking Certification under the Climate Bonds Standard. This distinction allows Kestrel to evaluate and validate the alignment of Climate Mitigation Performance Targets with the Sector Criteria, both at the time of Certification and with a forward-looking perspective up to 2030. By scrutinizing Transition Plans and disclosures in line with the Standard’s stipulations, Kestrel will ensure that entities pursuing certification, as well as their general-purpose debt instruments issued by Certified Entities, uphold the highest standards of credibility. This pivotal collaboration with Kestrel underscores our commitment to maintaining the utmost rigor and credibility in the certification process.

Kestrel’s advancement to Approved Verifier for Entity Level Certification reflects their expertise and competence across all the aspects of the Climate Bonds Standard. These include good knowledge of the debt capital markets, an understanding of the technical characteristics of low-carbon projects and assets, and experience providing assurance services and evaluating performance targets, business models, governance, and transition plans. By providing post-issuance reporting on green bonds that they verify, Kestrel promotes increased transparency for investors.

“Kestrel is proud to be the first US-based Approved Verifier for Entity Level Verification and Sustainability Linked Debt certifications under the Climate Bonds Standard,” said Monica Reid, CEO. “As the market leader for Second Party Opinions in US Public Finance, we are constantly innovating to find new ways to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and improve transparency and accountability. At the same time, we aim for an efficient process for issuers. The Kestrel team has worked closely with the Climate Bonds Initiative to be able to apply their science-based Standard to the wide array of issuers and complex activities we encounter.”

This milestone enables third-party assessment of companies aspiring for Certified Green Entity status, reinforcing transparency within the financial market.

“Kestrel’s pioneering achievement as the first US-based Approved Verifier for Entity-Level Verification and Sustainability Linked Debt certifications is a leap towards fostering trust in green and sustainable finance,” as Sean Kidney, CEO of Climate Bonds Initiative, underscores. “This advancement goes beyond debt alignment, encompassing an entity’s entire activities. This empowers credible, science-based green investments, extending sustainability practices into the major US equity markets.”

The Climate Bonds Initiative aims to accelerate the adoption of green finance and foster science-based standards and best practices worldwide.

As investors increasingly commit capital to green finance, Kestrel’s leadership in advancing sustainable finance in the US municipal market and reputation for technical acumen and integrity, will be vital in fostering the growth of the green and sustainable market. This pivotal step of designating Kestrel as the inaugural US-based Approved Verifier for Entity Level Certification stands as a notable achievement within the sustainable finance domain.



For more information please contact:

Monica Reid
+1 415 800-5944


Leena Fatin
Senior Communications & Digital Manager
Climate Bonds Initiative
+44 (0) 7593 320 198


Notes for journalists:


About Kestrel

Kestrel provides Sustainability Intelligence™ and verification services designed to bring greater transparency and insight to fixed income, helping to set the market standard for sustainable finance. To learn more about the company and its offerings please visit the website:


About Climate Bonds Initiative

An investor-focused not-for-profit, promoting large-scale investment in the low-carbon economy, Climate Bonds Initiative carries out market analysis, policy research, market development; advises governments and regulators; and administers a global Climate Bonds Standard & Certification Scheme. To learn more about the Climate Bonds Taxonomy, Certification Scheme, and its alignment with the EU Taxonomy, visit website.

Climate Bonds Standard and Certification is an overarching science-based, multi-sector certification scheme for investments – and now entities – that address the challenge of climate change and are consistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

The full Climate Bonds Database of Certified issuance can be found here.

The full Climate Bonds Directory of Approved Verifiers can be found here.


Hybar, LLC (“Hybar”) is constructing a recycled steel manufacturing facility in Osceola, Arkansas that is designed to achieve ResponsibleSteel™ certification and be LEED Certified once operational. The Project advances decarbonization goals in the steel industry by increasing use of recycled steel and reducing the need for energy-intensive primary steel production. Kestrel provided a Verifier’s Report on the Climate Bonds, which align with the Steel Sector Criteria under the Climate Bond Standard and the Pollution and Prevention Control and Circular Economy project categories under the Green Bond Principles.

View press release on CBI website


In July 2023, the Philadelphia Energy Authority issued Sustainability Bonds to finance the Philadelphia Streetlight Improvement Project, consisting of construction and installation of energy-efficient streetlighting infrastructure throughout the City. The Project is a comprehensive multiyear effort to convert nearly 130,000 streetlights to LED lights and upgrade the entire lighting system to a remote management system. The Project is aligned with citywide climate action goals to reach net zero by 2050, is expected to yield approximately 55% annual energy savings, is Dark Sky compliant, and designed to reduce traffic fatalities and improve public safety. The City prioritized LED installation in neighborhoods where public safety needs are highest, as identified through nighttime crime data, nighttime vehicle crash data, and other Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Indicators of Potential Disadvantage, including the neighborhoods of Kensington, North Philadelphia, and West Philadelphia.

Kestrel provided an external review of sustainability bonds financing the Flo Senior Apartments Project, an affordable rental housing development for seniors and non-elderly residents with disabilities. The Project is designed to meet the Enterprise Green Communities sustainable building standard and is the seventh and final DHA-developed multi-family residential housing project included in the Sun Valley redevelopment effort. Designs preserve the character and culture of the existing neighborhood and include comprehensive considerations for tenant needs such as access to public transit and support services. 

Kestrel provided an external review on the alignment of the bonds with the CBI Electrical Grids and Storage criteria. The 2023 Series K Bonds refund commercial paper that financed improvements to the transmission and distribution system. The Climate Bonds certification highlights SMUD’s ambitious goal to eliminate carbon emissions from electricity production by 2030 and their leadership among electric utilities in the US.

Massachusetts Development Finance Agency issued bonds on behalf of Boston Medical Center, the largest safety net provider in New England. Kestrel provided a Second Party Opinion for a Sustainability Bonds designation for the bonds, which finance construction and renovation projects at several patient care facilities. The projects increase the number of patient beds and operating rooms, improve energy efficiency of facilities, and support equitable access to healthcare for under-resourced and underserved populations in Boston and surrounding communities.

Kestrel is excited to announce the launch of our new data offering and an updated brand to reflect our growing position as a leading data provider in the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) space.

Twenty years ago, Kestrel began as a premier environmental finance consulting group, helping state and local governments access capital for infrastructure and sustainability projects.

Today, we are the US market leader for verified green, social, and sustainability bonds in US public finance, garnering over 60% market share by the number of external reviews*.

But we’re not stopping there.


We’re bringing new data to fixed income markets.

This year we are expanding our offering, providing ESG impact scores and data that bring greater transparency and insight to the municipal market.

We want our data to be your new benchmark, offering views into the fixed income market that are rooted in environmental and social science and deepened by a practitioner’s understanding of real-world best practices and regulatory frameworks.

Kestrel’s ever-growing data offering will cover the entire municipal market at the series level, providing you with original analysis and transparency on ESG impacts of bond-financed activities and the presence of sector-specific risk mitigants.


We have a new look that reflects our commitment transparency and collaboration.

For those of you who know us as Kestrel Verifiers, we’ve just simplified our name and updated our look—you can continue to expect the superior level of service you’ve grown to trust.

As we strive to become a leading provider of ESG data and solutions, our new brand reflects our commitment to tackling big challenges through collaboration with state and local governments, global engineering companies, and the market.

Our company was named after the American Kestrel, a small falcon known for its vigilance and precision. Like the bird, Kestrel is built for speed, with a lean and energy-conserving composition. We take a direct and calculated approach to assessing ESG impact, guided by proprietary technology and firmly based in science. Integrity is a core component of our company culture.

The new logo features a depiction of a bird in the letter “K” as a symbol of our unique approach and commitment to discerning real ESG impact data. It represents our focus on clarity and understanding the difference between appearance and reality. The aerial perspectives, detailed textures, and refined color palette of our new brand are all inspired by the bird.


A new look is one thing— but it’s our data and approach that truly differentiates us.

With a highly qualified team of experts in environmental and social sciences, as well as finance, engineering, and technology, we are creating real value and true service for our customers. Our offering is rooted in science, guided by real-world best practices and proprietary technology.

Contact us for a demo or to start a discussion. We’re ready to show you the difference.


*as of Q4 2022