Visa Inc. and Consolidated Edison Inc. are among a growing list of blue-chip U.S. companies to be told their green bond offerings aren't up to snuff.

For the first time in its 13-year history, the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), an influential London-based research organization focused on the $4 trillion ethical debt market, is publicly identifying more issuers that fail to meet its standards for environmental impact or transparency. Along with Visa and Con Edison, bonds from Boston Properties Inc. also fell short. So did a handful of dollar-denominated bonds issued by foreign companies and municipalities.

It's a consequential snub. Many of the world's green bond indexes—including those designed by Solactive AG, S&P Global Inc., FTSE Russell, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.—rely on CBI's list of approved green bonds as a preliminary filter for investment decisions.

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