TUE, MARCH 19 2019-theG&BJournal- Just like the first in the world issued by the World Bank in 2008, Access Bank Plc became the first Nigerian financial institution to issue a Green Bond in response to the rapid rise in environmentally responsible or ‘’green’’ investing.
The 5-year Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured N15,000,000,000 Green Bond is also the first ever Climate Bonds Standard fully certified corporate Green Bond to be issued in Africa.
“With our pace-setting experience in the mainstreaming of sustainability in our business operations, we are confident that this issue with further help in supporting environmentally friendly investors to meet their investment objectives whilst simultaneously supporting the Bank’s customer towards realizing growth opportunities in fast-developing low carbon economy, ” Bank’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said.
Experts say Access Bank’s trail blazing green bond has the potential to energise more Nigerian entities into the market which is yet to be exploited in Africa and indeed Nigeria. They called for very effective regulatory measures to support green finance in the country and bolster the market which is gaining traction around the world. The World Bank green bond issuance in 2008 created the blueprint for today’s green bond market which is projected to reach $220 billion by the end of 2019.
According to Access Bank, the new funding will be directed towards financing new loans and refinancing existing loans in accordance with the Bank’s Green Bond Framework, and support projects directed at Flood Defense, Solar Generation facilities and Agriculture.
The 5-year Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured Green Bond has been awarded an Aa- rating by Agusto & Co, the underlying framework verified by PwC (UK) and the Bonds certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative as having met the global Climate Bonds Standard. The offer for the Green Bonds was achieved by way of a Book Build which was fully subscribed. The Bonds priced at a coupon of 15.5%, with participation from a wide range of asset managers and pension fund administrators.
The management of Access Bank had, in anticipation of the Issuance, launched the Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme in June 2018, in partnership with FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange and the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Access Bank supports the global climate change mitigation and adaptation agenda and seeks to promote responsible green lending globally. The Green Bond Issuance demonstrates the Bank’s commitment to sustainable operational practices and being a pioneer operator, both in domestic and international capital markets, Access Bank views the global drive for responsible and sustainable green financing as an opportunity to raise capital for the creation of assets through climate change financing.
The Bank has a strong track record in deploying environmental and social risk management tools, partnering with local and international agencies to deliver a greener outcome from investing activities. Over the last five years, the Bank has pioneered various resource conservation programmes in water usage, energy consumption and waste recycling, aimed at reducing carbon emissions. It is worthy to note that all the Bank’s sustainability efforts are well aligned with the Federal Government’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and Vision 2020:20.
The quality of the Bank’s contributions to sustainable financial practices is also evident in the increasing local and international awards and accolades received, which include – Karlsruhe Sustainable Finance Award for Outstanding Business Sustainability & Outstanding Sustainability Leader (2018); Euromoney Award for Africa’s Best Bank for Corporate Social Responsibility (2018); Global Finance Awards for Most Sustainable Bank in Nigeria (2018) and Central Bank of Nigeria Sustainability Award(s) for Sustainable Bank of the Year (2017).
Chapel Hill Denham was the Lead Issuing House on the Green Bond Issuance, whilst the Joint Issuing House was Coronation Merchant Bank.