Companies have doubled down on ESG commitments due to the pandemic, the banks noted.
DBS Bank has raised its sustainability finance target to S$50b by 2024, expanding from its earlier commitment of $20b.
The expanded target stems from more companies reportedly seeking to advance their corporate sustainability agendas through sustainable financing, highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to DBS.
“We thought our earlier target of S$20b for renewable and other green financing would be a stretch and were greatly heartened at the level of customer interest in moving from business-as-usual mode to adopting sustainability in their strategies,” said Tan Su Shan, group head of institutional banking, DBS.
“Since COVID-19 hit, many companies have actually doubled down on their ESG commitments and we saw a marked increase in the number of corporate interest in sustainable financing,” she added.
Since 2018, DBS has concluded over 100 sustainable financing deals worth about S$17b.
Tan further noted that the “never normal” world has become an opportunity for companies to see how they can tackle an expanding range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges, as well as integrate the social and sustainability agenda into their corporate strategy and business practices.
Tan added that increasingly, stakeholders also want to understand and measure the value companies create beyond profits and ESG considerations are very much at the forefront now.
In capital markets, notable sustainable and green financing transactions by DBS in 2020 include the US$1.11b dual-tranche green project bond by Star Energy Geothermal; PSA Marine’s three-year €30m equivalent sustainability-linked loan; and a €500m Korea Housing Finance Corporation COVID-19 social bond.
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