SEC: PH issuers explore blue bond offerings
MANILA -The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rolled out rules for the issuance of blue bonds in a further boost to the country’s capital markets.
A subset of the more familiar green bonds, blue bonds are those linked to projects such as ecosystem management and natural resources restoration of coastal, marine areas, river and lakes; sustainable fisheries management; and sustainable aquaculture programs.
“Several issuers have since expressed their interest to take advantage of the new investment product,” the SEC said in a statement.
The guidelines for the issuance of blue bonds were formally rolled out last Dec. 5 “to promote sustainability while boosting participation in the capital markets.”
“As we unveil the guidelines on blue bond issuances, we take a giant leap towards fostering a sustainable blue economy and building a robust capital market in our country,” said SEC chair Emilio Aquino.
“Blue bonds, as a specialized class of debt securities, are emerging as a powerful tool globally to promote environmental sustainability, not only in the corporate sector but also at the sovereign level. These bonds provide a unique opportunity for us to channel investments into projects that support marine conservation, sustainable fisheries and responsible aquaculture,” he added.
The rules will be governed by SEC Memorandum Circular No. 15, Series of 2023 (MC 15), providing guidelines on eligible blue projects and activities.
The corporate regulator further stated that blue bonds must “substantially contribute” to objective numbers 6 and/or 14 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
These provisions are aimed at ensuring the “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, and conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, respectively.”
These contributions will be assessed and quantified, if possible, by the issuer, the SEC said.
“Quantifiable performance measures include greenhouse gas emissions reduced or avoided, ocean-based renewable power generation or energy savings, water savings, plastic waste reduced or avoided and wastewater treated or avoided, among others,” the corporate regulator said.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) welcomed the launch of the country’s blue bond framework.
“These guidelines will boost investors’ confidence by fostering transparency and systemization … ADB is delighted to support this important step in partnership with the SEC and the British government,” ADB finance sector director Xiaoqin Fan said in the same statement. INQ