Historically, the European Investment Bank funded much of our environmental programme, but following Brexit this funding is no longer available. We were keen to offer a wider range of investors a similar ability to more directly link their investment in us to our environmental and sustainability goals.
In November we formally launched our sustainable finance framework. Dovetailing well with our long-standing and comprehensive ESG strategy, the framework allows us to more clearly demonstrate how investment in our business makes a positive impact on the North West’s environment and society in which we live and operate.
Our ‘use of proceeds’ based framework follows market principles set out by the International Capital Market Association and the Loan Market Association, covering issuance in both bond and loan format. Second-party opinion was provided by Sustainalytics and was assessed to be 'credible and impactful'.
Our framework sets out eight eligible categories of environmental and social spend that can be funded, covering a wide range of areas from core activities such as ‘sustainable water and wastewater management’ to other more targeted areas such as ‘clean transportation’ and ‘access to essential services’.
Following two days of engagement with institutional investors, our first sustainable bond was issued in January 2021, becoming, at the time, the lowest ever 8yr+ GBP corporate nominal coupon. The £300 million bond was oversubscribed by more than three times and attracted notable new investors to the company.
This additional debt finance option has provided value to both us and investors, and we look forward to giving additional insight into the projects funded through sustainable finance in our allocation and impact reports to be released in 2021.
You can find out more about our sustainable finance framework on our website: