S&P recently purchased Shades of Green, which has been described as "the largest external reviewer of sustainable bond and green financing frameworks."  This acquisition emphasizes the recent strategic move by major ratings agencies--including Moody's, S&P, and Fitch--to expand and enhance their offerings in the green space.  Such a development is unsurprising, given the greatly increased demand for investments that satisfy ESG criteria, particularly "green" investments.  Indeed, according to Moody's, such "green" bonds now account for approximately 16% of the market--a vast increase over recent years.  (https://www.esgtoday.com/sustainable-bonds-hit-record-share-of-global-bond-issuance-moodys/)

Of course, as ratings agencies take steps to build their capabilities to satisfy market demand for such investments, this shift in the marketplace has also captured the attention of regulators.  The SEC has embarked on a major enforcement action targeting "greenwashing"--i.e., that ostensibly sustainable investments marketed as such were falsely claiming that status--and a number of state attorneys-general from conservative states have embarked upon an investigation of certain ESG ratings, in particular whether the methodology utilized in determining such ESG ratings violates state law (e.g., by embracing the BDS movement).  While this regulator attention is unsurprising--government enforcement agencies often focus on novel developments in the marketplace to bring them into conformity with government regulations and policy--this confluence of interests brings a greater degree of risk to this area due to the greater degree of scrutiny.  

In any event, it is clear that the prominence and salience of "green" investments is growing, and that this area should be monitored carefully for significant developments, whether in the private marketplace or by government regulators.