Telecommunication companies start issuing green bonds

Telecommunication companies start issuing green bonds

Aaron Franklin, attorney and global coordinator for sustainable capital markets at Latham & Watkins, discusses recent activity by telecommunications companies in sustainable finance.

How have telecommunications companies been involved in sustainable finance?

Telecommunications companies did not issue any green bonds prior to the recent issuances by Telefónica and Verizon. These deals followed closely on one another in January/February 2019, but Vodafone published a framework for a future green bond issuance in 2018.

Why are telecommunications companies keen to participate in sustainable finance?

Companies that participate in sustainable finance (by issuing bonds or loans labelled as green, social, sustainable, etc) report several advantages. First, they further their organisational goals and strategy regarding corporate social responsibility and demonstrate their commitment to the sustainability outcomes targeted by their financing. Second, they increase investor interest in the financing. This can take the form of larger orders, less price sensitivity or more willingness to engage. Third, they build the internal infrastructure and culture necessary to manage and report on sustainability outcomes. These advantages are particularly helpful for telecommunication companies, which are often large, regulated companies that frequently tap the capital markets.

How are bonds issued by telecommunications companies ‘sustainable’?

Green bonds and other types of sustainable finance generally require that the issuer label the bond as such and that the bond is connected to some business activity associated with positive sustainability outcomes. Typically, the issuer will promulgate a framework for its sustainable financing, in which it states that it

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About the author:

Meet Emma:

1.  Banking and finance lawyer with experience in derivatives, debt capital markets, securitisation and structured finance in London and Paris

2.  Likes ballet, playing the harp and holidays

3.  Thinks the law is always changing!

Emma trained and qualified at Allen & Overy LLP and worked in their derivatives and structured finance teams in London and Paris.  She then joined the foreign exchange prime brokerage legal team at Deutsche Bank before spending 4 ½ years with Crédit Agricole CIB advising the fixed income and derivatives desk.