BofAML wins Best ESG Bank amid growing ESG influence in capital raising
Credit Agricole accepts award for Best Green adviser
Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) won the Best ESG Bank Award for the second year running at last night's The Asset Triple A Regional Awards against tough competition.
BofAML continued to make strides in ESG, working closely with Chinese companies looking to expand their renewable assets. In 2017, the bank helped China State Grid Corporation acquire Brazil’s largest renewable energy company, CPFL Energia. Moreover, the bank worked with the likes of Korea Development Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in their respective green bond issuances last year.
The bank also supports more than 60 charities in Asia-Pacific through philanthropic grants and volunteering. It has been very active in supporting women’s rights and LGBT equality in Asia. The bank triumphed over nominees Credit Agricole and Societe Generale for the same award.
Credit Agricole received the year's Best Green Adviser Award following solid green bond mandates last year.
The emergence of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in capital raising is reflected in the growth of the green bond market, which reached a total issuance amount of US$155.4 billion in 2017 - a 78% climb from 2016, according to data from the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI).
The significance in Asia was underpinned by China, whose 2017 green bond issuance stood at US$36.4 billion in total – coming second only to the US. Chinese issuance came mostly from banks, which comprised 74% of issuance, slightly less than the 80% in 2016, according to CBI.
Furthermore, bonds aligning to the Certified Climate Bonds standard from Chinese issuers amounted to US$6 billion in 2017 – signaling China’s commitment to comply with international practices, and close the alignment gap, according to CBI. The Asean Capital Markets Forum also launched the Asean Green Bond standards in November 2017 to contribute to transparency and the unification of the market.
Success in the capital markets has been driven by the increasing demand for ESG products by investors. A survey conducted by Asset Benchmark Research (ABR) found that over half of fixed-income investors in Asia were already incorporating or planning to incorporate ESG factors into their investment decisions.
Banks have not only been providing support for ESG-related capital market transactions, but also been implementing ESG changes internally to their own businesses.