Environmental Finance Bond Awards 2023 highlight NatWest’s sustainable finance capabilities

NatWest wins three prestigious Environmental Finance Bond awards.

The panel awarded the bank:

  • “Lead manager of the Year, sustainability bonds – corporate”
  • “Lead manager of the Year, social bonds – financial institution”; and
  • “Lead manager of the Year, social bonds – supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA)”

It was noted that the 2023 Bond Awards had an exceptionally large number of high-quality entries. The panel of 50 independent judges praised NatWest’s “quality of leadership and its commitment to being a sustainable bank that uses its purpose-led model to ensure it is resilient to future environmental and social shifts and is better able to capitalise on the commercial opportunities that these shifts can also present.” 

Lead manager of the Year, sustainability bonds – corporate

The Environmental Finance panel recognised NatWest’s leadership role for sustainability bonds for corporates, noting our track record in this asset class for a range of sectors, including housing associations, consumer and education.

The bank has been at the forefront on helping housing associations access the sustainable finance market, including acting as ESG structuring advisor for five housing associations - MORhomes, Places for People, Peabody, Hexagon, and Jigsaw

NatWest also prides itself on introducing new sectors to the market. This is apparent in our role in structuring Compass Group’s sustainable framework, one of the first from a food services group. Similarly, we have issued the first sustainability debt instruments for European universities, including the London School of Economics.

Lead manager of the Year, social bonds – financial institution

The panel based its decision to award NatWest the “Lead manager of the Year, social bonds – financial institution” on NatWest’s role in inaugural and innovative transactions such as Yorkshire Building Societies’ (YBS) £500 million inaugural Social SONIA Covered Bond in January 2022, which represented their first Social SONIA Covered Bond and also the first SONIA issuance with a GSS label, as well as DKB’s EUR 500m 10-year Berlin Social Housing Mortgage Pfandbrief in April 2022, the first-ever social mortgage-backed covered bond (“Pfandbrief”) out of Germany. 

The judges also took into consideration NatWest’s bespoke analysis and support for issuers’ social bond transactions, including investor mapping (e.g. ‘target’ social bond investors) and facilitating live transaction investor Q&A which provided enhanced investor engagement during the book-building.  

In 2022, NatWest was ranked #1 amongst bookrunners for supporting Western Europe Financial Institutions with social bond issuance as well as #1 in UK FI social bond issuance (compared to #7 and #6 respectively in 2021)*.

*Source: Dealogic 30/03/2023

Lead manager of the Year, social bonds – supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA)

The panel recognised NatWest’s strong presence in the social bond market for SSA, supporting  major social issuances across Europe such as CADES’ two social bonds in 2022: a EUR 5 billion bond maturing in May 2027, and CADES’ US Dollar 3.5 billion Social Bond. The activity illustrates our continuous support for the issuer that has seen its social need issuance grow significantly to a record 40 billion social funding program.  

NatWest was also mandated for the US Dollar 1 billion Social Inclusion (Refugee) bond for Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). For this landmark transaction, NatWest demonstrated its commitment to help the CEB, the first multilateral development bank to disburse grants to provide immediate aid to refugees from Ukraine. 

In addition, the judges took into consideration the substantial resources NatWest dedicates to supporting clients on their ESG journey – from non-deal investor engagement with social bond fund managers and advisory on their ESG rating to sharing insight and updates on the regulatory environment (such as the developing social taxonomy) and support regarding post-issuance reporting.

Supporting corporates, financial institutions and SSAs on every step of their sustainability journey

Caroline Haas, Head of Climate and ESG Capital Markets highlighted that “It is such an honour to have been recognised by the Environmental Finance panel across all customer segments – corporates, financial institutions and SSAs for NatWest’s ongoing focus on social and sustainability issuance, alongside climate and environmental financings. Together with the investing community, we strive to build out social impact metrics and methodologies to assist the social and sustainability bond market to achieve maximum endorsement, and beneficial results. At NatWest, we are proud to support our customers with innovative social and sustainability bond transactions to create a more equal society and ensure a just transition, in line with our purpose of helping people, families and businesses to thrive.”

Dr. Arthur Krebbers, Head of Corporate Climate & ESG Capital Markets, commented on winning “Lead manager of the Year, sustainability bonds – corporate”: “Winning this award is a fantastic achievement. As the corporate sustainability bond market continues to gather momentum with companies seeking investor support for a broad range of environmentally and socially impactful projects, we are committed to support these firms on all stages of this journey – from benchmarking of their ESG strategy through to framework drafting, positioning and post-issuance reporting. We are proud to have helped a variety of customers in this way. We are also determined to help grow the sustainable finance market and to promote best practices through engagement with peers and industry bodies.”

Commenting on winning “Lead manager of the Year, social bonds – financial institution” Doug Shuffman, Vice President Climate & ESG Capital Markets, Financial Institutions, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the Environmental Finance panel has yet again recognised our dedication to make our customers’ sustainable finance transactions a success for them. Financial institutions have a powerful role to play in creating social impact – this was first shown very prominently during the COVID-19 pandemic, when banks supported healthcare facilities and helped maintain employment levels and has again become an important theme with the ongoing cost of living of living crisis. Furthermore, given financial institutions’ breadth across sectors, their social impact can also be seen in achieving equality across gender and ethnicities, and promoting affordable housing and financial inclusion.”

Nathalie Larrousé, Head of SSA Climate & ESG Capital Markets, commented on winning “Lead manager of the Year, social bonds – SSA”: “We are delighted and very proud to be awarded the Lead manager of the Year award for social bonds in the SSA category and for the trust placed in NatWest by our customers in helping them progress their sustainability agenda, especially in these challenging times. Social considerations have taken a central role in the recent years, with the realisation that a green transition had to go hand in hand with a just transition. We aim to continue to support social issuers and bring such critical matters to the forefront of discussion.” 

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