Westpac supports NSW Land Registry Services with $300m sustainability linked loan
23 August 2021
Westpac is proud to announce the structuring of a A$300m sustainability linked loan facility (SLL) for the NSW Land Registry Services (LRS).
Westpac acted as joint sustainability coordinator on the SLL.
NSW Land Registry Services operates the NSW land titles registry for the State Government and the people of New South Wales. Embarking on a sustainability linked loan process links NSW LRS’ environmental, social and governance goals with long term financial outcomes.
The selected Sustainability Performance Targets (SPTs) in the loan include developing an Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan, which is believed to be an Australian first.
Additional sustainability metrics focus on greenhouse gas emissions reduction, gender diversity and inclusion and continued leadership in the GRESB Infrastructure Asset Assessment.
Eliza Mathews, Westpac Head of Sustainable Finance said: “To incentivise sustainable practices, the loan incorporates an interest rate adjustment matrix based on agreed targets.”
“Westpac is committed to helping customers improve their sustainability performance, and it’s particularly pleasing to be able to link with an innovative solution like their Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan”.
CEO of NSW Land Registry Services, Adam Bennett, said developing the sustainability framework for this transaction gave the company an opportunity to reflect on the environmental and social touchpoints of its operations.
“As a trusted custodian of land title information for Australia’s most populous state, we saw an opportunity to support our nation’s reconciliation with practical actions,” he said.
“The development, implementation and evolution of a Reconciliation Action Plan will help us evolve our business, while tying our sustainability and community goals to our financing costs reflects the strength of our commitment.”
The SPTs have been externally reviewed by Ernst & Young and are consistent with the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association’s Sustainability Linked Loan Principles.
The Sustainability Linked Loan was part of a broader A$1.9 billion refinancing of NSW LRS’ existing debt facilities, funded by a consortium of lenders.
Globally, Sustainable Finance issuance is at an all-time high, with cumulative issuance surging past US$3 trillion in the last week of June 2021, with US$1 trillion added in the last eight months alone (compared to a decade for the first US$1 trillion).
In 2021 Sustainable Finance global issuance has already exceeded 2020 volumes, highlighting the accelerating growth of the market.
The global SLL market has grown significantly since the first SLL was executed in 2017 and reached US$132 billion in 2020. In the first half of 2021 alone, global SLL issuance was US$206 billion, significantly outweighing issuance in prior years.
In Australia and New Zealand, SLL volumes followed a similar trend, peaking at US$1.6 billion in 2019 before a slight volume reduction in 2020, and jumping up again over the first half of 2021, with US$3.6 billion SLL issuance. (All data sourced from BloombergNEF.)
Ms Mathews said: “Companies are increasingly turning their focus to ESG and customers are increasingly seeking to better connect their sustainability objectives with their financing requirements. We expect the trend of higher SLL volumes to continue for the second half of 2021.”