Today, ING has released a report focusing on sustainable finance and the benefits of engaging in ‘green finance’.
• The survey of corporates suggests that green issuance is a bigger ask of the Treasury team in terms of time and effort, but the implied benefits that come back dominate.
• When it comes to the actual effects of sustainable issuance, some 59% of respondents did see a reduction in the company’s cost of capital, and some 55% viewed the exercise as supporting communications on sustainability to investors and other stakeholders.
• 55% of corporate respondents viewed sustainable financing as a positive tilt for both investors and stakeholders. Benefits were also gleaned from the collaboration between the finance team and other business departments on sustainability issues.
Commenting on the report findings ING Regional Head of Research, Americas Padhraic Garvey notes:
One of the underlying circumstances at play here is the growth of awareness of ESG issues generally, from the stakeholder of all guises, whether that be shareholders, business partners or employees. In terms of the pure financing decision, there is no coercion coming from the official sector. Rather it is a bottom-up choice that has evolved as the right choice under the totality of circumstances.
The fact that there is a cost of funding improvement to boot is an added benefit; but more of a welcome outcome than a driver. The real test would be where the funding advantage disappeared completely or is even inverted. There would likely be a point where issuance plans would revert towards vanilla if the price point were severe enough. But that would likely require near-ubiquity in ESG bonds, and we are quite some way away from that.