Canada’s Manulife Financial Corporation is the first life insurance company to enter the green bonds market.
Manulife has completed its previously announced offering in Singapore of 500 million Singapore dollars principal amount of 3.00 per cent subordinated notes due November 21st, 2029 and having a first call date of November 21st, 2024 (The Notes). The offering was made pursuant to an offering circular dated November 14th, 2017.
The Notes are Manulife’s first green bond issuance, with an amount equal to the net proceeds intended to be used to finance or re-finance, in part or in full, new and/or existing eligible assets consistent with Manulife’s recently released Green Bond Framework. The Framework is aligned with the International Capital Market Association’s Green Bond Principles 2017 and directs the use of proceeds towards renewable energy, green buildings, sustainably-managed forests, energy efficiency, clean transport, sustainable water management and/or pollution prevention and control.
The framework outlines eligible water assets as those that offer the “development, construction, acquisition, installation, operation, and upgrades of projects that reduce water consumption or improve the efficiency of resources.” Further, Manulife has aligned its goals with the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stating that proceeds from the bonds invested in sustainable water management will aim to advance the goals:
- By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
- By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
The Notes are the first green bond issuance by a life insurance company and by a Canadian issuer certified as Climate Bonds by the Climate Bonds Initiative, an investor-focused not-for-profit organization, promoting large-scale investment in the low-carbon economy.
Manulife, and its subsidiaries, are signatories to several international sustainability initiatives, including Accounting for Sustainability, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, the Equator Principles, and the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment.
DBS Bank Ltd., The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, Singapore Branch, and Standard Chartered Bank were joint lead managers for the offering.