The CEFC has invested $30 million in the Woolworths Group green bond, the first certified green bond issued by an Australian retailer and by a supermarket business globally, and an exciting milestone in the continued development of Australia’s green bond market.
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. It sends a strong message to participants of Woolworths’ extensive supply chain and makes a clear statement about its sustainability and emissions reduction objectives to the estimated 30 million customers who shop the Woolworths brand each week.
“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 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.”
Woolworths Group includes well known Australian and New Zealand brands Woolworths, Countdown, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Big W. It has over 3,000 stores, more than 200,000 employees. Since 2015 the group has reduced its emissions by 13 per cent.
Click here to view the Woolworths Group Green Bond Framework.