S&P greenlights new sustainable bond framework

RCB sustainability bond framework classifies social, green or sustainable bonds

S&P Global Ratings has confirmed the alignment of a new sustainable bond framework with the International Capital Market Association’s (ICMA) green and social bond principles.

Bond issuing platform RCB has created a new framework to classify bonds as social, green or sustainable.

Using this framework, RCB, which has so far issued more than £300m of bonds through 10 issues for seven charities, can support affordable housing projects, healthcare and care services, cultural and natural heritage activities, education and training, and programmes in disadvantaged communities.

For example, Allia C&C, which developed the RCB platform, recently arranged a £25m RCB issue for Greensleeves Homes Trust, a charity that provides care homes across parts of the UK, to aid its operations during the pandemic. This was in addition to the £50m RCB issue for the charity arranged in 2017.

S&P Global Ratings published its second opinion on the framework, which says it aligns with the ICMA’s principles.

Ana Maria Romero Ramirez, sustainable finance associate at S&P Global Ratings, said: “Based on our assessment of the contents of RCB’s sustainability bond framework, we regard this framework as being aligned with the four components of the principles, given that RCB has committed to allocate the full amount of the net proceeds of bonds to eligible green and social projects, use clear green and social criteria to select projects for funding, manage and track proceeds, and regularly report the environmental and social impact and use of proceeds.”

RCB can also issue green bonds to finance the creation of new energy efficient buildings or measures that reduce energy consumption, the installation and maintenance of renewable energy generation sources and conservation of the natural environment.

Adrian Bell, CEO of Allia C&C, said: “The RCB platform was created to accelerate and increase positive social and environmental impact by facilitating charities’ access to medium-term flexible debt funding. This framework, and its assessment by S&P Global Ratings, now provides greater transparency on how this is achieved and will help us reach an even wider audience of investors who are looking to buy social, green and sustainable bonds.”

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Natasha Turner

Natasha is global deputy editor at ESG Clarity, part of the Bonhill Group, and has been a financial journalist for six years. She has been shortlisted for Story of the Year and Investment Journalist of...