$30 million Woolworths bond a world first

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The Clean Energy Finance Corp has invested $30 million in the first certified green bond issued by an Australian retailer and by a supermarket globally.

The $400 million green bond will help fund the Woolworths 2020 sustainability strategy, through the installation of LED lighting, energy efficient refrigeration, solar panels and other clean energy technologies.

CEFC Debt Markets Lead, Richard Lovell, said “This green bond has been instrumental in setting new standards and expectations across the entire retail industry. Woolworths’ work on a green bond framework has increased its business-wide focus on sustainability.

“This retail-focused green bond also provides a new asset class for institutional investors seeking opportunities that meet environmental, social and governance requirements. It creates a simple and highly transparent way for the private sector to invest in clean energy technologies.

“The CEFC’s investment in this bond enables us to continue our support for Australia’s emerging green bond market, actively monitor the secondary market for green bonds and gain useful insights into the emissions profile of Australia’s supermarkets.”

The Climate Bonds Initiative has certified the bonds and has developed a global low-carbon buildings criteria for supermarkets as a result of Woolworths’ commitment to green bonds. The Climate Bonds Initiative is an international, investor-focused not-for-profit organisation working to mobilise the $100 trillion bond market, for climate change solutions.

Woolworths Group Chief Financial Officer, David Marr, said “We’re pleased with our inaugural green bond transaction. The issue of the bonds is a further reflection of our ongoing work to improve our environmental impact and operate a more sustainable business.

“The transaction has given us the opportunity to build relationships with a number of new investors who focus on ESG investment such as the CEFC, supporting our objective of diversifying our investor base.

“We hope that the success of this transaction will drive the development of the Australian green bond market, delivering higher awareness of its benefits for corporate Australia and how funds are allocated.”

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