The European Stability Mechanism is ready to issue social bonds for the first time should any euro area member state apply for Pandemic Crisis Support under a €540bn EU safety net. ESM head of funding and investor relations Siegfried Ruhl spoke to Sustainabonds’ Neil Day about how the instrument befits its latest role and builds on its broader ESG efforts.
Strong demand for a Covid-19-focused social bond from Crédit Mutuel Arkéa on Thursday allowed the French issuer to price its biggest senior non-preferred (SNP) transaction, a €750m nine year non-call eight deal whose proceeds are earmarked for supporting healthcare and SME development.
Caffil took advantage of an existing social bond framework to be the first-mover in Covid-19-related covered bonds on Tuesday, tapping into improving conditions to raise €1bn for lending to public hospitals ahead of an anticipated broader rise in French public spending and SFIL group funding.
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.
November saw the inauguration of the SFIL green bond framework, with a covered bond from Caffil, as well as one of the sustainable projects it is helping finance. The group’s Philippe Mills and Sami Gotrane explain how green and social bond issuance reflect its public policy goals.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group issued the first bond from a UK financial institution aligned with the Social Bond Principles on 8 November, a €750m six year non-call five social bond with proceeds earmarked for SME lending in deprived parts of the UK.
DKB sold a four times subscribed €500m five year “blue” social Pfandbrief focused on water and waste water services on Wednesday, with the Eurosystem and SRI investors among those helping the German issuer achieve an “outstanding” deal, according to its head of funding and IR.
Landesbank Baden-Württemberg inaugurated a social bond framework on 19 September, bringing its total sustainable bond issuance including green bonds to €3.7bn with a €500m senior non-preferred trade. The debut is the first social bond to be assessed against new ISS-oekom ESG KPIs for their contribution to related SDGs.
Asset growth, EU sustainable finance initiatives and pricing benefits could all help green bond supply rise to meet the growing demands of investors, according to speakers at an LBBW conference on 1 March, where a broadening of issuance, particularly into social bonds, was called for.