As climate change pushes U.S. cities to build protections against stronger storms and more frequent floods, the Rockefeller Foundation is helping cities with a novel kind of financing, one that transfers some of the risk of innovative projects from cities to investors.
The foundation, established with John D. Rockefeller’s oil wealth, announced Wednesday it will pay $342,000 to underwrite the costs for two municipalities in issuing environmental impact bonds, pioneered by The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Washington, D.C. More than a dozen cities have expressed interest in the bonds, which link an investor bonus or penalty to how well the underlying project works.
"You take the risk off the project not working" for city officials, said Saadia Madsbjerg, who leads the Rockefeller Foundation’s work on financial innovation. "There are many, many municipalities that have the exact same problem that D.C. has."