By Riza Lozada
Universal bank BDO Unibank Inc. is pioneering the issuance of so-called green bonds after re- cently raising $150 million from process.
The debt proceeds will be used to fund projects seeking to curb climate change.
The bank owned by tai- pan Henry Sy said the World Bank Group’s investment arm, the International Finance Corp. (IFC) was the sole investor in the green bond.
Proceeds from the bond sale will be used to fund cli- mate-smart projects, such as re- newable energy, green building, and energy-efficient equipment, it said.
BDO President and CEO Nestor V. Tan said “climate change is a very real concern in the Philippines,” citing that the country “is one of the most vul- nerable countries globally to the impacts of such change.”
“This bond demonstrates our corporate commitment to come up with business solu- tions to address the challenges of sustainability. This also aligns with our goal of growing BDO’s climate business, and ultimately, fostering the nascent climate fi- nance market in the country. We are glad to partner with IFC, a global expert in green finance,” he said.
BDO and IFC started the advisory engagement for the green bond in 2010, and this paved the way for the bank to include sustainable energy fi- nancing as part of its core busi- ness.
To date, the bank has ex- tended more than $500 million for its climate-smart portfolio.
The latest issuance, the bank said, “is expected to help save 93,000 tons of C02 (carbon dioxide) emissions per year by 2022.”
IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific Vivek Pathak said BDO’s latest green bond is- suance shows the bank’s “lead- ership in developing climate fi- nance in the country.”
“By building on our long- term partnership with BDO, we aim to create a vibrant green bond market in the country and stimulate private sector invest- ment in renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he said.
“Further, by setting the standard and the benchmark for green bonds issued in ac- cordance with the Green Bond Principles, which IFC helped de- velop, we hope to pave the way for other issuers and investors to access financing through this product, at a time when demand for green infrastructure and oth- er sustainable in ents are
high,” he added.