• The bank reaches record figures in sustainable financing in 2020, with a rise of 79% in loans and 63% in bond issues.
• It has created a team specialised in Sustainable Finance within its Corporate, Institutional and International Banking Division (CIB&IB), to promote this type of operation.
CaixaBank, Spain’s leading retail bank, has this year closed out 52 sustainable financing operations, valued at €12 billion. The figure marks a record for the bank in this area of activity, with a year-on-year rise of 79% in transactional loans and products and 63% in bond issues.
These figures make CaixaBank one of Europe's leading banks in sustainable financing. According to the Refinitiv ranking, at the close of the third quarter of 2020, CaixaBank is ranked as the 4th bank in Europe for ESG & Green Lending. Its sphere of activity is chiefly focused on Europe, with operations formalised in five countries, as well as on the American continent.
Different sustainable financing solutions
A major part of the sustainable financing in 2020 has been formalised under the format of ESG-linked sustainable loans, which link the interest rate of the borrowing to sustainable targets (KPIs or ESG Ratings). A total of 23 operations have been closed out in this category, valued at €2.03 billion. These notably feature a sustainable syndicated loan to Naturgy, one of this year's biggest operations in terms of volume, and the syndicated loan to Ferrer, which became the first sustainable loan in Spain in the pharmaceutical sector. In both transactions, CaixaBank has acted as the sustainability agent and structurer. The first ICO-backed sustainable operations in Spain are also noteworthy, such as funding to El Corte Inglés and Intermas.
Furthermore, during the first nine months of the year CaixaBank has granted 15 green loans valued at €750 million. Green loans are characterised by the financing of projects with a direct positive environmental impact. This category features the operation that was formalised in March with Aguas Industriales de Tarragona that was the first Green Project Finance for a water treatment plant. It also includes the financing granted in August to a new logistics centre operated by Amazon, which boasts Breeam sustainability certification.
Concerning the transactional field, CaixaBank is leading innovation in Spain in this product sector. In 2020 it mobilised €1.85 billion, notably featuring the first two sustainable factoring operations in Spain carried out with Siemens-Gamesa and Endesa, as well as the green guarantee facility formalised with Siemens-Gamesa. It should also be noted that the Asian Development Bank has awarded CaixaBank the “Best Green Deal confirming bank 2020” for a KDS Textile Mills water treatment project in Bangladesh with a multilateral guarantee.
Green and sustainable bond issues
In terms of capital market activity, CaixaBank has participated as bookrunner in the issuance of eleven bonds classed as green or sustainable, resulting in the placement of €7.4 billion, a figure that is 63% greater – in terms of volume – than in the first nine months of last year. These issues notably include the Inaugural Green Bond to Red Eléctrica, the Green Bond to EDP and the Sustainable Bond to the Basque Autonomous Community.
In addition, in 2020 CaixaBank has issued a green bond for €1 billion euros to finance renewable energy projects and energy efficient buildings and a social bond also of €1 billion to curb the effects of COVID-19 by funding SMEs and micro-enterprises located in Spain's most disadvantaged areas. In 2019, CaixaBank became the first Spanish bank to issue a social bond to support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
CaixaBank, committed to sustainable financing
CaixaBank is one of the financial institutions most committed to sustainability, given that its Socially Responsible Banking Plan covers four significant principles of action that include a direct contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through its initiatives, the Bank is supporting environmentally friendly initiatives and projects that contribute to preventing and mitigating climate change, to encourage the transition to a low-carbon economy and social development.
Since 2017, the bank has mobilised a total of €27.3 billion in sustainable financing, with a total of 116 operations, thus consolidating itself as one of Europe's leading banks in sustainable financing.
Along these lines, the bank led by Gonzalo Gortázar has created the Sustainable Finance department within its Corporate, Institutional and International Banking Division. The goal of the new department is to champion this type of borrowing and develop new sustainable products in other areas, such as Transactional Banking and Cash Management, thus, consolidating a global value proposition in terms of the environment, society and corporate governance.