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BRUSSELS: The EU drew massive demand on Tuesday for its first "green bonds", raising 12 billion euros ($14 billion) in the world's biggest issuance of sustainable debt, the European Commission said.

"This marks the largest green bond order book ever in global capital markets, and the largest green bond ever issued, not just in Europe but in the world," EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn told reporters.

The money raised by the EU commission is to be handed out to member states to be spent on cleaner energy, energy efficiency and other ways to achieve the EU goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

Italy set to offer its first green bond, betting on strong demand

The so-called green bond however came before the EU has finalised its own list of what investments should be considered environmentally friendly, with countries very divided on the role of nuclear energy.

Instead, the EU said it was adhering to the principles of the International Capital Market Association and other standards. The EU sale "attracted massive demand" which augured well for global issuance of similar green debt, said Johann Ple, of AXA Investment Managers.

"This supports our view that total green bond issuance in 2021 should double from 2020, reaching 400 billion euros," he said.

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