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Standard Bank Excels in Sustainability Finance

EMEA Finance Magazine recognises Standard Bank’s pioneering Sustainable financing work on the African continent

Standard Bank’s dedication to the highest standards in environmental, social and governance (ESG) financing and investment principles has earned the group great accolades in EMEA Finance’s Achievement Awards 2021 announced recently.

Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, was named Best ESG Bond House, Best Syndicated Green Loan House and won Best Financial Institution Green Bond in EMEA for its R1.4bn Tier 2 issuance in 2021.

It was also mentioned, in the Best Sustainable Refinancing in EMEA award, which was won by Equites Property Fund for its multi-currency bond and loan facilities, the Best Sustainable Refinancing in Africa, which was won by Greenlight Planet Kenya for its KES multi tranche term loan and the Best Sustainability Linked Loan, which was won by Woolworths for its ZAR1.15bn debut sustainability linked loan.

In addition to these ESG awards, Standard Bank was also awarded Best Restructuring House in Africa and Best Local Currency Bond House (through Stanbic IBTC Capital).

“In 2019, realising that ESG considerations were becoming increasingly important to our clients, we made the deliberate decision to establish a sustainable finance business unit,” says Greg Fyfe, Standard Bank Head of Sustainable Finance. “The unit was formed with a group of highly skilled ESG and banking professionals and was mandated to partner with our clients in developing tailored sustainable finance solutions to help them.”

“In early 2020, through the unit’s sophisticated work, we launched our Sustainable Bond Framework and we have completed several pioneering sustainable finance transactions since then,” he says.

Nominated by parties including banks and their clients, and chosen by the EMEA Finance editorial team, the Achievement Awards recognise institutions and transactions that exemplify the innovative work taking place in the region's capital and loan markets.

Over the past two years, Standard Bank has demonstrated a consistent commitment to developing sustainable finance solutions, as corporates and investors increase their focus on ESG considerations in supporting their communities and the environment.

To this end, Standard Bank issued its inaugural US$200 million green bond in 2020 via private placement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the first bond issuance under its sustainable bond framework. This was also Africa’s largest green bond and South Africa’s first offshore green bond issuance, which would be used to finance eligible green assets aligned to the Sustainable Bond Framework.

In 2021, Standard Bank issued two social bonds to support women’s access to affordable housing. Later in 2021, the group issued a second green bond, which was a 10-year, R1.4 billion bond. The bond was listed on the JSE’s Sustainability Segment and was the first tier 2 capital instrument issued in green bond format. The proceeds of this bond will be used to finance renewable energy projects in South Africa.

The team was also very active in raising no less than eight sustainable finance bonds on behalf of clients across the healthcare, financial services, power, and real estate sectors in 2021.

The team was also active in the ESG loan market space, where it provided 15 sustainable finance loan facilities to clients across the healthcare, consumer, real estate, public sector, industrial and power and infrastructure sectors.

“We are pleased to have received these awards from EMEA Finance. We strongly believe that Sustainable Finance bond and loan market products have an important role to play in driving Africa’s growth at the same time as assisting in decarbonizing the economies in which we operate,” says Fyfe.