Client stories

Investors welcome inaugural Sustainability Awareness Bond

We’re delighted to have been able to support the EIB with its inaugural Sustainability Awareness Bond (SAB) issued in the Sterling market.

A plan for the future of the planet

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the lending arm of the European Union and one of the largest providers of climate finance in the world.

In 2007, the EIB issued the world’s first green bond, the “Climate Awareness Bond” (“CAB”), with focus on climate change mitigation. Since 2018, the EIB has also been issuing “Sustainability Awareness Bonds” (“SAB”), with focus on other areas of environmental and social sustainability. Today, the EIB is the largest multilateral development bank issuer of green and sustainability bonds, with more than EUR 48bn raised across 21 currencies.

In November 2020, the EIB unveiled its EIB Group Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025, which provides details of EIB’s contribution to the implementation of the European Green Deal. Notably, the EIB has committed to:

  • dedicating at least 50% of its new annual lending to green finance by 2025;
  • aligning its green finance tracking methodology with the EU Taxonomy Regulation;
  • extending the scope of CAB/SAB eligibilities;
  • aligning with the upcoming EU Green Bond Standard.

The recently published 2020 CAB- and SAB-Frameworks, audited by KPMG with Independent Reasonable Assurance as per ISAE 3000, detail EIB’s strategy of early and stepwise application of the evolving EU Sustainability Taxonomy and EU Green Bond Standard Regulations.

SAB Sterling debut boosts demand to £1.4 billion

NatWest had been closely monitoring the market for issuance opportunities for the EIB, notably with the aim to raise market spotlight on the newly published 2020 SAB Framework ahead of the COP 26 in Glasgow. With yields having risen significantly higher, the NatWest team identified a real surge in interest, particularly from Central Banks, in the short end of the Sterling market.

Following a recent £700m December 2023 tap from KfW and a £500m December 2024 new line from German state North-Rhine Westphalia, both led by NatWest, the team recommended an inaugural Sterling Sustainability Awareness Bond for EIB to launch in October, which, due to its novelty in the Sterling market, would offer an excellent diversification angle for international portfolios.

Monitoring the Sterling market for a few more weeks, with a continued rise in yields further boosting investor demand, the EIB announced its £500 million “no-grow” SAB due 15th May 2026 to the market at the beginning of October. Indications of interest (IOIs) quickly grew when books opened, and orders rose to over £1.4 billion after the EIB fixed the spread at 23 basis points over the UKT 01/26 Gilt, equivalent to around SONIA +6bps - further driving orders from bank treasuries, who have a structural need for high quality liquid assets (HQLA) papers. The coupon for the Fixed Rate Notes was set at 0.875%.

UK investors made up 55% of the allocation, while investors from other European countries received 29%, followed by investors in Asia (10%) and North America (6%).

This new SAB also announces the extension of eligibilities to include “Access to Social and Affordable Housing”, which is key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11 ‘Sustainable cities and communities’. Technical screening criteria were by the EIB, applying the logic of the EU Sustainability Taxonomy.

The EIB’s press release on the SAB due 2026 can be found here, while the new 2020 SAB Framework is available here.

SAB showcases the EIB’s early application of the EU Taxonomy and expected EU Green Bond Standard

Eila Kreivi, Director and Head of Capital Markets at the EIB, commented: “Sustainability funding – the issuance of CABs & SABs – has become an area of strategic business development within EIB’s Climate Bank Roadmap. This inaugural Sterling SAB puts the spotlight on the 2020 SAB Framework, which provides a showcase for the EIB’s early application of the logic of the EU Taxonomy and the proposed EU Green Bond Standard. The deal’s strong oversubscription highlights the interest this exercise generates in the UK market at this point.”

Caroline Haas, Head of Climate and ESG Capital Markets, NatWest, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support the EIB’s debut SAB in the Sterling market. This issuance reflects NatWest’s commitment and focus on supporting sustainable development as well as advancing the sustainable finance market.”

Damien Carde, Head of FBG DCM, NatWest, added: “The incredible investor demand highlights the compelling sustainability credentials of the EIB and the climate mitigation and sustainability projects the bank supports financially. At NatWest we believe we have the duty to play a leading role in the transition towards a low-carbon and fairer society, and this transaction is another example of our purpose in action.”


This article has been prepared for information purposes only, does not constitute an analysis of all potentially material issues and is subject to change at any time without prior notice. NatWest Markets does not undertake to update you of such changes.  It is indicative only and is not binding. Other than as indicated, this article has been prepared on the basis of publicly available information believed to be reliable but no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance of any kind, express or implied, is made as to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness or reasonableness of the information contained in this article, nor does NatWest Markets accept any obligation to any recipient to update or correct any information contained herein. Views expressed herein are not intended to be and should not be viewed as advice or as a personal recommendation. The views expressed herein may not be objective or independent of the interests of the authors or other NatWest Markets trading desks, who may be active participants in the markets, investments or strategies referred to in this article. NatWest Markets will not act and has not acted as your legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment adviser; nor does NatWest Markets owe any fiduciary duties to you in connection with this, and/or any related transaction and no reliance may be placed on NatWest Markets for investment advice or recommendations of any sort. You should make your own independent evaluation of the relevance and adequacy of the information contained in this article and any issues that are of concern to you.

This article does not constitute an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any investment, nor does it constitute an offer to provide any products or services that are capable of acceptance to form a contract. NatWest Markets and each of its respective affiliates accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of this material or reliance on the information contained herein. However this shall not restrict, exclude or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

NatWest Markets Plc. Incorporated and registered in Scotland No. 90312 with limited liability. Registered Office: 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2YB. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. NatWest Markets N.V. is incorporated with limited liability in the Netherlands, authorised and regulated by De Nederlandsche Bank and the Autoriteit Financiële Markten. It has its seat at Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and is registered in the Commercial Register under number 33002587. Registered Office: Claude Debussylaan 94, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Branch Reg No. in England BR001029. NatWest Markets Plc is, in certain jurisdictions, an authorised agent of NatWest Markets N.V. and NatWest Markets N.V. is, in certain jurisdictions, an authorised agent of NatWest Markets Plc. NatWest Markets Securities Japan Limited [Kanto Financial Bureau (Kin-sho) No. 202] is authorised and regulated by the Japan Financial Services Agency. Securities business in the United States is conducted through NatWest Markets Securities Inc., a FINRA registered broker-dealer (, a SIPC member ( and a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of NatWest Markets Plc.

Copyright 2021 © NatWest Markets Plc. All rights reserved.

Related client stories

State Bank of India moves fast in fast-moving digital world

We’re delighted to have supported SBI UK in providing their retail and SME customers with 24/7 access to Faster Payments, through our API solution.

Tesco becomes 4th issuer to tap into Sterling market with a Sustainability-Linked Bond

We’re delighted to have supported Tesco with its successful Sustainability-Linked Bond (SLB) debut in the Sterling market, as it becomes only the 4th company to issue a Sterling SLB.

UK government’s second Green Gilt raises further £6 billion for decarbonisation projects

We’re delighted to have acted as Joint Lead Manager on the UK DMO’s second green gilt, the longest-dated sovereign green bond currently outstanding in the market globally.