19 June 2019
Westpac New Zealand has become the first New Zealand bank to raise funding through the issuance of a green bond.
The 5 year green bond issued by Westpac raised €500 million ($860million) from European investors, to support the funding of climate change solutions.
Reflecting continued growth in international green capital markets, the transaction attracted €1.1billion of interest, across 83 investors, and 20 countries.
“This deal is the first green bond for Westpac in New Zealand, and supports the bank’s target to facilitate $2 billion of climate change solutions lending by 2020,” said Karen Silk, Westpac NZ’s General Manager of Corporate, Commercial and Institutional Banking.
“Westpac’s strong credit rating and green credentials met the growing appetite among European investors for environmentally conscious investments.”
“Westpac’s green bond adds to the range of sustainable products and services Westpac offers to its customers,” Ms Silk said.
“New Zealand needs to take urgent action on climate change. Facilitating investment through green bonds to help us transition towards a net zero carbon economy is one way Westpac can assist that.”
Proceeds from the green bond would be used to finance or re-finance sustainable New Zealand projects, such as renewable energy and low carbon commercial property.
The Westpac NZ green bond framework aligns with the ICMA Green Bond Principles 2018. Westpac NZ has undertaken to have external review and assurance conducted on each proposed green bond issuance with the corresponding assurance opinion made publically available through the Westpac NZ fixed investor website. https://www.westpac.com.au/about-westpac/investor-centre/fixed-income-investors/
Westpac NZ’s commitment to action on climate change
Westpac NZ recognises that climate change is a major threat to our environment, economy and wellbeing. It also presents opportunities – for new jobs, technologies and services. The finance sector has a major role to play in helping New Zealand transition to a low carbon economy.
Westpac NZ has had a long running commitment to support climate-conscious customers to help New Zealand transition to a net zero carbon emissions economy, with a strong track-record of lending to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
A climate change impact report, commissioned by Westpac NZ and carried out by EY and Vivid Economics, released in April 2018 establishes that taking faster action on climate change could save New Zealand $30 billion by 2050.
Westpac NZ has a target to lend $2 billion to climate change solutions by 2020. This encompasses the total direct and indirect financing of customers, to the extent they are involved in climate change solutions.