This paper analyses the most recent literature available on the green bond, a financial instrument that raises funds for environmentally friendly projects. The aim of this research is to build a comprehensive review based on green bond roles, functions, features, typologies, general uses and effects. Ultimately, we try to address its potential contribution to the objectives of environmental policy. Our research reveals several roles that the instrument is taking. The regulation, the ecosystem and the best practices being developed around it may further boost the advance of sustainable activities in the market. Since 2013, when the issuances started to grow considerably, green bond market behaviour has been relatively similar to that of the conventional bond market. There have, however, been cases in which it attracted greater attention from investors and others in which it appeared to perform better than regular bond instruments. The green bond is also increasingly being considered as a strong potential support mechanism for the post-pandemic crisis recovery. Last, the paper highlights opportunities for future research on the subject.