Indonesia has become the first Asian country to sell “green” bonds internationally in a $1.25bn deal as one of the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters tapped into investor interest in climate-friendly investments.
Globally, $155.5bn of so-called green bonds were sold last year, according to the London-based Climate Bonds Initiative. But only a handful of governments have themselves sold such deals, where the proceeds are earmarked for investment in environmentally friendly projects.
Indonesia on February 23 sold $1.25bn in five-year green sukuk bonds – which means the deal conforms to Islamic finance norms as well. The deal carried a coupon of 3.75% compared with the 4.05% rate that bankers initially used as guidance for investors.
Indonesia is considered one of the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, particularly due to its regular devastating forest fires blamed on clearing land for agriculture. President Joko Widodo has committed to cut emissions by at least 29% by 2030 and approved a two-year extension to a moratorium on issuing new licences to use land designated as primary forest.
Indonesia has also set targets to cut the use of dirty coal in energy and aims for renewables to make up nearly one-quarter of its energy mix by 2025 from around 12% at present, with around 1,800MW of wind projects targeted for completion.
But despite such commitments, environmentalists say more needs to be done to meet its targets and prevent repeats of the massive forest fires in 2015, often blamed on the draining of peatland forests and land clearance for crops such as palm oil.
Documentation for the new bonds said Indonesia had confirmed no financing would go to fossil-fuel based infrastructure, nor projects involving the burning of peat. But it did warn that some projects may still include “an element of deforestation.”
Global green bond issuance hit a record for the fifth consecutive year in 2017 and bankers expect further growth in the market this year.
In Asia, Chinese and Indian companies have led the way in tapping the green market to finance environmentally friendly projects but governments had until now stayed away. Worldwide, countries to have sold sizeable amounts of green bonds include Poland – the first-ever – and France.
Luky Alfirman, head of the Budget Financing and Risk Management office at Indonesia’s Finance Ministry told reporters last Friday the proceeds from its green bonds would be used to finance projects such as renewable energy, green tourism and waste management.
The government has also said it will take up more projects to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, which requires alternative financing. CIMB, Citigroup, Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC, HSBC and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank were bookrunners on the deal.
Indonesia also on Friday raised $1.75bn selling a 10-year sukuk at the same time as the green sukuk deal. The longer-dated paper sold with a coupon of 4.4%, down from initial guidance of 4.7%.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Renault-Nissan leaders to meet amid alliance crisis
Twitter tumbles on concerns about hacking activity
Global benchmark Brent posts a weekly loss of almost 2.3%
Major Europe stock markets stumble at start of busy week
Xi facing scepticism to position himself as champion of reform
‘Japan can temporarily boost spending to ease sales tax pain’
IMF: Trade war is hurting Asia, may cut global growth forecasts
One of most indebted countries could be in for more pain
China’s $20bn new Egypt capital project talks fall through