The rise (and rise) of sustainability-linked finance

August 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on The rise (and rise) of sustainability-linked finance

The rise (and rise) of sustainability-linked finance Joel Makower Mon, 08/24/2020 – 02:11 One silver lining of this horrific moment is the rise of loans, bonds and other financial instruments linked to sustainability outcomes. In this sense, “sustainability” is broadly defined to include environmental issues as well as social ones. And, more recently, a new subcategory of, yes, pandemic-related issues. Indeed, the pandemic response is being financed in part through bonds designed to fund development of vaccines or treatments, support healthcare systems fighting the outbreak or provide relief efforts, such as for cities and counties facing budgetary challenges due to lost revenues and emergency spending. As of the end of May, governments, banks, companies and others raised just over $150 billion globally from selling pandemic bonds, according to research by BNP Paribas, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “These instruments will contribute to the economic recovery of many sectors and will emphasize socially focused measures targeting specific segments of the population,” BBVA, the Spanish multinational financial services company, wrote recently. When the cost of money is tied to a company’s sustainability performance: Game on. Pandemic bonds join a growing list of sustainability-linked financial instruments that have been gaining the attention of investors worldwide. The bonds alone come in a veritable rainbow of flavors: green bonds; climate bonds; sustainability bonds; social bonds; ESG bonds; blue bonds (related to oceans); and more. Last month, German company Henkel, which specializes in chemistry for adhesives, beauty care and laundry products, issued a “plastic waste reduction bond” to fund projects related to the company’s efforts to reduce packaging waste. There are, no doubt, other flavors, with more to come. And yes, each of those flavors has a more-or-less specific purpose. Green bonds are used to finance projects and activities that benefit the environment. Sustainability bonds are used to finance projects that bring clear environmental and social benefits. Social bonds are aimed at achieving positive economic outcomes for an identified target population, with neutral or positive impact on the environment. (Nasdaq offers definitions and criteria for each type of bond here .) By whatever name, money is pouring in. Last week, Moody’s Investors Service raised its forecast for 2020 sustainable bond issuance to as much as $375 billion, a category that includes green, sustainability and social bonds. Companies are jumping in with such regularity that it is rarely newsworthy anymore, except when it is. A few examples from 2020: In February, Verizon’s green bond drew orders equivalent to eight times the $1 billion the company sought to raise. “Within 25 minutes, orders had already exceeded the $1 billion mark,” said James Gowen, the company’s vice president and chief sustainability officer. By that afternoon, more than 300 investors had ordered more than $8 billion in debt. Also in February, investment firm Neuberger Berman announced a $175 million sustainability-linked corporate revolving credit facility, the first North American financial services firm to do so. The loan will be benchmarked annually against several criteria, including that the company maintain an “A” rating or higher for its ESG integration on each module for which is scored by the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. This month, Visa issued its first green bond, totaling $500 million, to be used to fund energy-efficiency improvements, expanded use of renewable energy sources, employee commuter programs, water efficiency projects and initiatives that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals . But the big kahuna of bond sales took place earlier this month, when Alphabet, the parent of Google, issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds , the largest sustainability or green bond by any company. (It was one part of a larger, $10 billion bond offering.) The proceeds are intended to fund a laundry list of initiatives, including energy efficiency, clean energy, green buildings, clean transportation, circular economy products and processes, affordable housing, purchases from Black-owned businesses as well as from small and midsized companies, and to support “health organizations, governments and health workers on the frontlines.” Like a growing number of bonds, Google’s hew to the Green Bond Principles and the Social Bond Principles , both promulgated by the International Capital Markets Association. Loan arrangers It’s not just bonds. Sustainability-linked loans — sometimes called ESG-linked loans — are also garnering interest . Last year, the issuance of sustainability loans (which includes social as well as green loans) jumped 168 percent to $122 billion, according to BloombergNEF . Sustainability-linked loans may sound similar to the similarly named bonds described above, but they’re not. Rather than raising funds for a particular category of projects or initiatives, the proceeds of sustainability-linked loans can be used for general business purposes. However, their interest rate is tied in part to the borrower’s sustainability performance. It requires the borrower to set ambitious and meaningful “sustainability performance targets” and report regularly — at least annually — on its progress, ideally with independent verification. Such loans have a built-in pricing mechanism, in which the interest rate drops if the borrower achieves its goals; it may rise if the goals aren’t met. So far, 80 percent of sustainability-linked loans have been made in Europe, although the practice is expanding in other countries. One company took out a loan for a renewable energy project, with the interest rate linked to the company’s gender equality performance. Late last year, building controls company Johnson Controls linked the pricing of a $3 billion line of credit to its ESG performance. The deal was underwritten by a consortium of 18 major banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays and Citibank. The sustainability performance targets are tied to employee safety and to greenhouse gas emission reductions from customer projects as well as from Johnson Controls’ own operations. In February, JetBlue Airways announced a sustainability-linked loan deal with BNP Paribas, the French banking group, amending an existing $550 million line of credit. The interest rate is tied to the airline’s ESG score as calculated by Vigeo Eiris, a U.K.-based provider of ESG research and services. In yet another case, one company took out a loan for a renewable energy project, with the interest rate linked to the company’s gender equality performance, according to Mallory Rutigliano, green and sustainable finance analyst at BNEF. All of this is expected to continue to grow, with no apparent ceiling, as various types of instruments gain popularity based on a combination of hot-button issues and a hedge against risk. For example, it’s probably not surprising that in today’s climate of social and racial inequities, not to mention the pandemic, social bonds are currently a hot property. According to S&P Global , “We expect social bonds to emerge as the fastest-growing segment of the sustainable debt market in 2020. This stands in sharp contrast to the rest of the global fixed-income market, for which we expect issuance volumes to decline this year.” As with any growing market, there’s a need for standardization of definitions and metrics. But that’s inevitable. For now, let’s celebrate that financial institutions are — finally — beginning to hold companies accountable in ways that can directly affect their their bottom line. And when the cost of money is tied to a company’s sustainability performance: Game on. Pull Quote When the cost of money is tied to a company’s sustainability performance: Game on. One company took out a loan for a renewable energy project, with the interest rate linked to the company’s gender equality performance. Topics Finance & Investing ESG GreenFin Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage

See the rest here:
The rise (and rise) of sustainability-linked finance

Cell-based meat could replicate and replace shrimp, lobster and crab

April 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Cell-based meat could replicate and replace shrimp, lobster and crab

Companies around the world have been working on alternatives to replace meat products, and a new cell-based meat promises to be a viable substitute for seafood. Following in the footsteps of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Shiok Meats is looking to replace a host of seafood options with cleaner, more sustainable alternatives. The company’s founders, Ka Yi Ling and Sandhya Sriram, are using their background as stem cell scientists to create the next generation of clean meats . The co-founders are currently in the research phase of their project and hope to use cell-based meat to replicate shrimp, lobster and crab. Related: How meatless shrimp could solve seafood’s sustainability problem According to CleanTechnica , Shiok Meats is still a few years away from releasing a product, which it hopes will be available to a large market. Although the company is targeting seafood , its goal is not to replicate the look and feel of the meat. Instead, Ling and Sriram want to get the flavors right and hope to release something along the lines of a dumpling filling. “Definitely we can’t make seafood look like seafood that you catch from the ocean,” Sriram shared. “We can’t make the fish as a whole.” With its research well underway, Shiok Meats has secured funding from multiple sources. This includes firms like Boom Capital, AIIM Partners and Ryan Bethencourt. If the company is successful in producing cell-based seafood, Shiok Meats hopes to release its product around the world, starting in Asia. Shiok Meats is concentrating efforts on producing a shrimp alternative first, as this is more affordable and an easier meat to work with. If all goes well, then it will look into replicating other crustaceans. The company estimates that it can replace shrimp for around $5,000 per kilogram. Although this might seem like a hefty price, it is actually much more cost-effective than some of the beef alternatives currently on the market. For those interested in cell-based seafood, Shiok Meats plans to release its product in stores over the next three to five years, starting first in Singapore before expanding to other markets in Asia. + Shiok Meats Via CleanTechnica Images via Vedat Zorluer

Excerpt from: 
Cell-based meat could replicate and replace shrimp, lobster and crab

Trump orders Perry to take steps to curb coal plant shutdowns

June 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Trump orders Perry to take steps to curb coal plant shutdowns

It seems President Donald Trump doesn’t want to let coal die. Bloomberg reported he ordered Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to take steps to stem closures of nuclear and coal power plants. An emailed statement from White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders read, “Impending retirements of fuel-secure power facilities are leading to a rapid depletion of a critical part of our nation’s energy mix and impacting the resilience of our power grid .” Coal and nuclear plants are losing money as cheaper renewable energies and natural gas gain steam. Trump’s administration alleges that declines in nuclear and coal power jeopardize America’s security. According to the White House statement, the president told Perry “to prepare immediate steps to stop the loss of these resources and looks forward to his recommendations.” The Department of Energy’s strategy, as detailed in a memo Bloomberg obtained , could be to draw on power given by federal laws to create a “strategic electric generation reserve” and compel grid operators to purchase power from plants that are at risk. The National Security Council was to meet last week to talk over the idea. Related: Biggest grid operator in US attacks Perry’s proposal to prop up coal One purpose of this draft plan, Bloomberg reported, is to buy time for a two-year study probing vulnerabilities in the country’s energy delivery system. Administration officials have already used up a year of this time. Following an Energy Department grid reliability study, Perry suggested a rule that would have compensated nuclear and coal plants — and federal regulators killed the proposal. Major grid operator PJM Interconnection said in a statement its grid “is more reliable than ever” and “there is no such need for any such drastic action.” The company said it has analyzed planned deactivations of nuclear stations and found no immediate threat to reliability. PJM said, “Any federal intervention in the market to order customers to buy electricity from specific power plants would be damaging to the markets and therefore costly to consumers.” Electric Power Supply Association president John Shelk said, “National security is being invoked by people who once favored markets. Everybody loses in a fuels war.” Via Bloomberg Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

See the rest here: 
Trump orders Perry to take steps to curb coal plant shutdowns

Gorgeous barn is built of reclaimed, century-old oaks from the site itself

June 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Gorgeous barn is built of reclaimed, century-old oaks from the site itself

In 2017, Dutch design firm HilberinkBosch Architects found out that seven of their century-old oak trees were in ailing health and would need to be cut down. Instead of sending the oaks to the paper mill, the architects decided to try their hand at building a timber barn using traditional construction techniques. The result—called the Sixteen-Oak Barn—was a stunning success that combines modern and rustic features with large panels of glazing and untreated timbers. The idea for a barn came from the local building vernacular in the Dutch region of Meierij van ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which features gabled farmhouses traditionally built from locally available materials . In a design the architects describe as “haphazard aesthetics,” the Sixteen-Oak Barn was constructed of the locally felled, century-old oak trees in addition to a couple of oaks sourced from the nearby Wamberg estate. The barn comprises a carport, storage room, and a workshop / meeting room for office use. There is also an addition loft space located above the storage room. A mobile sawmill brought on-site was used to cut the core sections of the felled oak tree trunks into structural timber for the frames, roof, and siding. The transverse-frame barn involves tie rod trusses and roof rafters to hold up an asymmetrical shingled roof clad in cleaved soft sapwood. Stanchions with bark serve as solar fins to shield the glazed facade from unwanted solar heat gain. Board-formed concrete complements the timber palette indoors. Leftover timber was chopped and stored as firewood in the barn’s recessed north facade. Related: Traditional barn raising techniques bring a modern cost-effective farm to life “The barn’s aesthetics have been strongly influenced by coincidence,” wrote the architects. “It lends this contemporary building a vital expression that merges old and new in a wonderful and extraordinary way. Untreated timber, concrete and glass have been intermingled in various ways. The irregular dimensions of the wood used to build the formwork resulted in far from perfect concrete surfaces.” + HilberinkBosch architects Images by René de Wit

Read the original post:
Gorgeous barn is built of reclaimed, century-old oaks from the site itself

Australia now generates enough renewable energy to power 70% of homes

August 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Australia now generates enough renewable energy to power 70% of homes

Renewable energy is taking over Australia . New figures reveal the sector generated enough electricity for 70 percent of Australian homes during the last financial year, according to Green Energy Markets . But even better than that, once 2016-2017 clean power projects are completed, renewable energy might actually be able to power 90 percent of homes. Green Energy Markets just launched their first Australian Renewable Energy Index this week, and the findings were thrilling for the renewable energy industry. Between July 2016 and June 2017, the country generated enough clean power for 7.1 million homes. Related: Australia announces massive $1B solar farm with the world’s largest battery At the end of 2016-2017, Green Energy Markets found 46 large-scale clean energy projects were under construction. They estimated these projects would employ 8,868 people full-time for a year. They also found nearly 150,000 rooftop solar systems had been installed, and could provide enough energy for more than 226,000 houses. From design to sales to installation, these rooftop systems supported 3,769 full-time jobs. They’ll provide about $1.6 billion in power bill savings during the next 10 years. Hydro-electricity offered the largest source of renewable energy at 40 percent; wind provided 31 percent while rooftop solar generated 18 percent. Renewable sources comprised 17.2 percent of all the electricity generated in the country, helping Australia avoid the same amount of carbon pollution as if 8.1 million cars, over half the cars in the country, were taken off roads. Tristan Edis, analyst at Green Energy Markets, said renewables have launched a “construction jobs and investment boom.” Advocacy group GetUp provided funding for the report, and the groups plan to publish a new Australian Renewable Energy Index each month. GetUp energy campaigns director Miriam Lyons said, “everyday Australians are voting with their rooftops” in a move heralding “the end of the era of big polluting energy companies dominating the market and manipulating prices to fill their own pockets.” Via The Guardian and Green Energy Markets Images via Lawrence Murray on Flickr and CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Read more:
Australia now generates enough renewable energy to power 70% of homes

Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags

August 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags

Kenya has been a major plastic bag exporter to the nearby region. But now the country is cracking down on the polluting bags with the toughest law of its kind in the world. Kenyans selling, producing, or just using plastic bags could face a $40,000 fine or imprisonment for as long as four years. Kenya’s plastic bag law came into effect just this week. According to Reuters, the country in East Africa joins over 40 countries worldwide that have either banned, partly banned, or put a tax on single-use plastic bags, such as Rwanda, Italy, and China. Under Kenya’s new law, police can target any person carrying a plastic bag, although environment minister Judy Wakhungu told Reuters enforcement would initially prioritize suppliers and manufacturers, and that the common man “will not be harmed.” Related: Morocco just officially banned plastic bags Not everyone is happy with the new law, which took Kenya more than 10 years – and three attempts – to pass. Kenya Association of Manufacturers spokesperson Samuel Matonda said 176 manufacturers will have to close, with around 60,000 jobs lost. But other people point to the environmental cost of plastic bags: it can take between 500 and 1,000 years for them to break down. And the bags have been showing up in cows intended for human consumption. In slaughterhouses in Nairobi, some of these cows had 20 bags taken out of their stomachs. County vet Mbuthi Kinyanjui said, “This is something we didn’t get 10 years ago but now it’s almost on a daily basis.” Kenya borders the Indian Ocean, and plastic bags can drift into the ocean and end up consumed by whales and dolphins, who ultimately die as their stomachs fill up with trash. The bags can strangle or suffocate marine creatures like turtles and seabirds. Plastic also ends up in fish later eaten by humans. Marine litter expert Habib El-Habr, working with the United Nations Environment Program in Kenya, said, “If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish.” Supermarket chains in Kenya such as Nakumatt and Carrefour have begun offering cloth bags as alternatives to plastic for customers. Via Reuters Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

See more here:
Kenya introduces world’s harshest law on plastic bags

China added half of new global wind power capacity in 2015

May 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on China added half of new global wind power capacity in 2015

China is making massive investments in clean energy as the government works to meet climate targets and clean up polluted cities. According to a new report , China installed 30.5 gigawatts of wind power in 2015 – which accounts for nearly half of all new global wind energy installations. The most populous country in the world beat the United States in second place by a wide margin — the U.S. installed 8.6 GW, while third place Germany installed 6.1 GW. Brazil and India each installed 2.6 GW. “After focusing on increasing its installed capacity, China’s 13th Five Year Plan has raised the 2020 wind target to 250 GW, and aims to shift the focus from scale expansion towards quality and efficiency,” said Ankit Mathur, GlobalData’s Practice Head for Power. “Indeed, the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) market in China, and all over the world, is poised for a growth phase.” Related: China puts the brakes on construction of 200 coal-fired power plants GlobalData predicts that China will maintain its position as the top nation for wind energy, installing 23 GW in 2016. The firm also predicts that China’s installed wind capacity will triple by 2030, increasing total capacity from 149 GW last year to 495 GW. But China is not just installing huge amounts of wind in its borders. The country is venturing into other markets, including the U.S. and U.K. Goldwind, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, recently announced that it bought the Rattlesnake Wind Project in Texas. The wind farm will consist of 64 of Goldwind’s 2.5-megawatt wind turbines. The U.K.’s first Chinese-backed offshore wind farm is moving forward . And the 588-megawatt Beatrice project off the northwest coast of Scotland is expected to be completed in 2019. + GlobalData report Via Climate Action News Images via Wikipedia

Here is the original: 
China added half of new global wind power capacity in 2015

A2OFFICE transforms Porto townhouse into a modern daylit residence

May 31, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on A2OFFICE transforms Porto townhouse into a modern daylit residence

The building, comprising a basement, two floors, attic and small patio , is located in the central part of Porto . A single staircase connects all levels. In order to facilitate a spatial flow and openness, the architects introduced an interconnected social area on the lower levels. Related: The Outerio House is a 3 Meter Wide Modernist Renovation Two bedroom suites were placed on the top floor. In order to preserve the memory of a lantern on the first floor, the team formed three new clerestory windows . These openings provide additional natural light for the entire space, including the attic area. A minimalist lighting system was integrated into the walls, cabinets and ceilings. + A2OFFICE Photos by AL.MA Fotografia | Alexandra Marques

View post:
A2OFFICE transforms Porto townhouse into a modern daylit residence

How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

January 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Comments Off on How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

If you want your own hip and zippy Gogoro electric scooter , now is the time to voice your demand. They’re enormously popular in Taiwan and heading to Amsterdam, and have potential in pretty much any densely-populated urban center in the world. In fact, Gogoro has sold 4,000 of their battery-swapping scooters to date. But because different countries have varying regulations when it comes to scooters, according to CEO Horace Luke, the company has to surmount certain legal hoops before introducing the scooters to further markets. In the meantime, Luke and others devised a clever way to ensure they pursue only the most relevant markets. Which is where you come in. Learn more about the Gogoro OPEN (Owner Proposed Energy Network) Initiative, which allows consumers and businesses to nominate themselves and their communities to be a part of the next market expansion. Read the rest of How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

Go here to see the original:
How Gogoro will deliver electric scooters to the people who really want them

Green-roofed Casa Magayon offers energy-smart tropical luxury in Costa Rica

January 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Green-roofed Casa Magayon offers energy-smart tropical luxury in Costa Rica

Read the rest of Green-roofed Casa Magayon offers energy-smart tropical luxury in Costa Rica

Go here to read the rest:
Green-roofed Casa Magayon offers energy-smart tropical luxury in Costa Rica

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 5433 access attempts in the last 7 days.