Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (“SBSA”) has issued its first ever green bond, via private placement with IFC, a development finance institution focused on the private sector, part of the World Bank Group.It is a 10-year facility with the express purposes of raising capital for use in on-lending by Standard Bank Group’s (SBG) Sustainable Finance Business Unit and achieving longer tenor financing. The $200 million, London Stock Exchange-listed green bond is Africa’s largest green bond and South Africa’s first offshore green bond issuance. The capital raised as a result will be used to finance eligible green assets (renewable energy, energy efficiency, water efficiency and green buildings) aligned to SBG’s Sustainable Bond Framework.
The IFC’s Performance Standards, which are part of the IFC’s Sustainability Framework, have become globally recognized as a benchmark for environmental and social risk management in the private sector.Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank Group Chief Executive, says the bond issue reflects SBG’s strategic focus on sustainable finance in line with their Social, Economic and Environmental (“SEE”) value drivers and vision to drive Africa’s growth with minimal adverse impact. “ Our strategy aims to embed social, economic and environmental considerations into our borrowing, lending and business practices in a way that helps us to continue supporting our clients, whilst producing value for society at large.” According to Nigel Beck, Executive Head Sustainable Finance for SBG, “When it comes to financing, clients should be considering green, social and sustainable products as investors increasingly shift their mandates to sustainable businesses. Standard Bank is at the forefront in Africa with an innovative and dedicated sustainable finance business offering that benefits clients, communities, the environment and the corporate governance landscape.” “The bond showcases the role that capital markets can play in mobilizing climate-smart finance and we hope it will inspire more companies in South Africa to unlock investment for climate-related projects,” says Kevin Njiraini, IFC Regional Director for Southern Africa and Nigeria.