BDO Unibank Inc., the country’s largest lender led by the Sy Group, issued $100 million worth of Blue bonds (about P5.2 billion) through an investment from International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group.
BDO said in a statement Tuesday the issuance would expand financing for projects that help prevent marine pollution and preserve clean water resources, while supporting the country’s climate goals.
“This marks another milestone for BDO, being the first private sector issuance in Southeast Asia to issue a Blue Bond,” the bank said.
“BDO’s issuance reinforces the bank’s commitment to sustainable finance, allowing the bank to provide more support to critical areas such as water conservation, wastewater treatment, plastic recycling, sustainable tourism, fisheries, and sustainable seafood processing among others,” it said.
It said the bonds would help BDO expand sustainable finance framework to include projects supporting the country’s blue economy, while establishing a new asset class in the Philippine debt market.
The pioneering Blue bonds have a tenor of seven years and will adhere to the International Capital Market Association Green Bond Principle and IFC’s recently launched Blue Finance Guidelines.
BDO Capital & Investment Corp. acted as the arranger in the transaction.
IFC earlier said its subscription to the Blue bonds would help increase access to finance for blue projects in the Philippines.
Solid waste management and marine plastics are key issues for the Philippines, threatening several elements of the blue economy and urban public health. The country is the third largest contributor, with an estimated 0.75 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic entering the ocean every year, according to the Market Study for the Philippines: Plastics Circularity Opportunities and Barriers (World Bank Group, 2021).
The nation is also combating water stress with rapid urbanization. According to Water.org, more than 3 million people in the Philippines rely on unsafe and unsustainable water sources and 7 million lack access to improved sanitation.