Think about your city, town or neighborhood. What makes living there feel good? Is it your municipal recycling program, the quality of your drinking water, your vibrant shopping district or perhaps your favorite tree-lined street?
Baker Tilly’s public sector practice does a lot of things to make these types of community investments happen — economic development, energy consulting, risk advisory — often for one simple reason.
“We help the communities we serve do more good things for the people living there — and for their future stakeholders,” Public Sector Managing Partner Vicki Hellenbrand said.
One new mechanism to help communities fund these good things is through green bonds. This year, Baker Tilly became an approved green bond verifier under the Climate Bonds Standard, an international industry standard for labeling bonds, loans and other debt instruments.
In fact, we are the first and only advisory CPA firm in the United States to have this designation.
Projects funded by verified designated bonds could include bioenergy, low-carbon construction, electrical grids, and geothermal, solar and wind energy.
We can also provide second-party opinions for social and sustainable bond issues under standards developed by the International Capital Markets Association, supporting projects like affordable housing using energy efficient technologies.
For example, Baker Tilly recently worked with a large Midwestern city to finance $25 million in environmental transformation for a 5-megawatt solar array, a microgrid connecting the water pollution control plant, drinking water plant and wet-weather pumping station, and upgraded biogas generators that turn waste into energy.
Bond designation opportunities and environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies also dovetail with the needs of clients pursuing funding through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
“Our Public Sector and Energy practices teamed up to help clients uncover opportunities at the crossroads of the IRA and ESG strategies,” Managing Director David Erdman said. “That includes the best ways to finance projects, such as tax credits, grant and loan funding, and designating bonds for the portions of the projects that remain to be financed.”