Draft EU Taxonomy standards threatens to stymie green bond issuance to finance green buildings by limiting eligibility to those with EPC A labels, with one pioneering covered bond issuer floating a switch to KPI-linked bonds, although there are suggestions the Commission may be open to compromise.
Green and social bond markets have withstood and even grown on the back of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rooted in their businesses and CSR strategies, an increasingly diverse range of corporates are approaching the market — at times branching out into new instruments. In this Sustainabonds roundtable sponsored by ABN AMRO, corporate finance and responsible investment professionals share their insights and opinions around the latest developments.
A building’s energy efficiency has a negative and highly significant correlation with the risk of mortgage default, according to an Energy Efficient Mortgage Initiative (EEMI) study, which it says is the fullest analysis of the subject and a timely finding as the European Commission sets out its post-Covid-19 agenda.
Sustainability-linked bonds will open the door for “a whole new group” of issuers to join the sustainable fixed income market, according to coordinators of the respective working group, who on Monday outlined the rationale for “versatile” Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles.
Investors have rallied to a wave of social-style bond issuance from supranationals aligned with the issuers’ role in the fight against the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, providing at the same time a tonic for ailing fixed income markets. Neil Day explores the trend and the potential for such bonds.
The broader sustainability strategies of green and social bond issuers and the impact of their issuance across a range of metrics are increasingly being focused on. Meanwhile, new varieties of sustainable bonds could yield benefits, but complicate the picture. Sustainabonds gathered leading public sector issuers and ESG-focused investors for a roundtable, hosted by SFIL, to discuss key developments.
Berlin Hyp issued its first green bond in senior preferred format and eighth overall on Monday, a €500m no-grow 10 year deal that attracted more than €1.2bn of demand, and head of funding and IR Bodo Winkler said the issuer had reached the point where its issuance was almost “self-explanatory”.
Rabobank recently aligned its green bond framework with the latest draft of the proposed EU Green Bond Standard and Sustainabonds spoke to Maarten Biermans, head of sustainable capital markets at the Dutch bank, about the issuer’s support for the initiative, notably the “do no significant harm” principle.
Münchener Hypothekenbank can now issue green commercial paper, after having added the option to its EUR5bn programme, with the short term debt earmarked to refinance green assets that have not yet been included in its cover pool or the parts of loans that are cover pool-ineligible.
Stakeholders have largely welcomed the release of long-awaited green EU taxonomy proposals, which attempt to lay down green criteria to support sustainable finance, but opinions were divided over the extent to which weaknesses in the first draft had been addressed.