Insights on investors’ ESG considerations from Q2 2022

What are investors thinking, and what are they looking for from companies issuing sustainable debt? Read our summary of the investor questions most frequently asked during our Q2 roadshows and deals.

I. Key Themes

  • In Q2 2022, the top categories of focus for investors were: sustainability KPIs (19%), reporting (17%), bond characteristics (17%), alignment with standards (12%), and sustainability strategy (12%).
  • Questions under reporting increased for repeat Use of Proceeds issuance by 13%, with more investors keen to understand company commitment towards annual report disclosures for allocation, planned strategy for allocation, and the use of actual data or estimations under impact information.
  • The total share of questions under sustainability strategy, alignment with standards, and sustainability projects reduced compared with the previous quarter. Two themes under sustainability strategy remain a popular concern for investors as seen in Q1: reduction of scope 3 emissions and tackling inefficiencies arising from ESG assessments or fatalities.

Split of questions by different topics

Notes: Based on 60 questions and feedback received in Q2 2022 for deals in electric-transmission, water, electric-generation, and gas-distribution. “Others” includes verification, ESG assessment, and sustainable finance framework categories.
Source: NatWest, ESG-related investor feedback for corporates in Q2 2022.

Percentage of questions under each topic: Q1 2022 and Q2 2022

Notes: Based on 106 questions and feedback received in Q1 2022 and 60 questions and feedback received in Q2 2022.
Source: NatWest, ESG-related investor feedback for corporates in Q1 2022 and Q2 2022.

II. Example Questions

Issuer focused

Sustainability strategy

  • Does it remain your key focus to reduce the emissions from all the spheres of operations e.g., level 3?
  • For electric-transmission: What are the key tools you use to reduce grid losses?

Instrument focused

Sustainability KPIs

  • Your safety metrics seem to not be in line with your targets? What measures are you taking to reduce these issues?
  • Specify what happens once targets are met considerably earlier than bond maturity?
  • Estimate the magnitude of expected results to be achieved through the financed projects.


  • Have you previously disclosed an annual report containing project level reporting?
  • Do you commit to disclosing an annual report containing IMPACT information using actual data or estimations?

Bond characteristics

  • Thoughts on sustainable bonds vs green bonds?
  • Is this the first issue green, social, sustainable, or sustainability-linked or the latest issue within the last 12 months? Was the latest green, social, sustainable, or sustainability-linked bond issuance more than 12 months old?

Alignment with standards

  • Does the framework restrict OPEX to R&D, maintenance costs, training, or other kinds of activity aligned with the EU Taxonomy?
  • Does the framework abide by the ICMA principles and/or the Climate Bonds Initiative?

Management of proceeds

  • What’s the indicative breakdown of the allocation (breakdown across categories, any specific projects, share of new vs refinancing) and share of their firm-wide expenses deemed as aligned with this revised framework?
  • Are eligible assets related to refinancing disclosed?

Second Party Opinion (SPO)

  • Have the numbers for the KPIs in scope been verified?
  • Which SPO provider did you choose to give the ESG score which is needed for the internal ESG rating part of the investment process?

Sustainability projects/assets

  • Do they have a public measurable target in its sustainability strategy which is associated with at least one Use of Proceeds category mentioned in the issue framework?
  • It was mentioned that the proceeds are allocated for the purpose of acquiring companies/assets. Would it be possible to get the list of companies that has been acquired, or aimed to be acquired, as part of their Green Bond framework?

We’ll provide regular updates on frequently asked questions posed by investors, to keep you up-to-speed with their most current views. So, please do regularly check our Insights Hub for updates

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