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HDB Raises S$1 Billion Through Inaugural Green Bond Issuance
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has raised S$1 billion through the issuance of our inaugural green bond yesterday (15 Mar 2022), marking HDB’s first step into green finance transactions. The proceeds from the green bond will be used exclusively to finance HDB’s green building projects, as guided by HDB’s new Green Finance Framework. For the projects to be eligible for financing, the necessary provisions must be put in place right from the design stage, to ensure that they can be rated among the top green building performers in Singapore, with robust levels of energy and water efficiency, greenery provision and active mobility considerations, among others. Beyond the parameters and process for assessing the projects that can be financed with the bond proceeds, the Green Finance Framework also sets out the structure for transparent reporting on the allocation of proceeds towards the eligible green projects.
2 The launch of HDB’s Green Finance Framework and inaugural green bond will support the Whole-of-Government move to intensify sustainable development in Singapore, even as HDB seeks to reduce energy consumption and lower carbon emissions in our developments under the Singapore Green Plan 2030’s Energy Reset pillar.
3 As Singapore’s largest developer, HDB plays a key role in driving sustainable development in the built environment sector. Over the years, we have intensified our efforts in sustainable development, as we continually seek to address challenges such as climate change, while creating a cleaner and more comfortable living environment for our residents. For example, all HDB developments are designed to embrace local tropical climatic conditions through various design strategies. These include strategically orienting residential blocks to reduce heat gain from solar radiation, maximising natural lighting and ventilation in flats and around the estate and harnessing renewable energy, among others.
4 In 2010, HDB reached a key milestone in our sustainability journey, when Punggol was designated as the first eco-town, and a ‘living laboratory’ to test-bed ideas and technologies that promote sustainable development. That same year, we completed the first eco-precinct Treelodge@Punggol. A culmination of HDB’s green innovations, Treelodge@Punggol was designed with a host of sustainable features such as regenerative lifts, energy-saving light fittings in common areas, rooftops integrated with solar photovoltaic panels and a rainwater collection system, as well as eco decks and green roofs. The impact of these features garnered Treelodge@Punggol a Green Mark Platinum Award – the pinnacle award under the Building & Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark certification system which evaluates a building’s environmental impact and performance.
5 In 2011, HDB developed a holistic and comprehensive Sustainable Development (SD) Framework to steer the development of HDB towns. The framework sets out 10 broad desired outcomes in terms of environmental, economic and social considerations, and is aligned with the national sustainability objectives in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint. In particular, the environmental sustainability strategies include reducing carbon emissions, optimising the use of resources and achieving effective energy, water and waste management. Guided by this framework, HDB extended the eco-features at Treelodge@Punggol to all new housing projects in Punggol from 2011, and subsequently to all new housing projects across Singapore from 2014. Today, all new public housing developments come with a suite of eco-features to reduce energy consumption, lower carbon emissions and promote eco living. These include:
More details on HDB’s sustainability journey can be found at the Annex.
6 HDB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tan Meng Dui said, “In our quest to build green and sustainable homes, HDB actively carries out research & development to create and test new designs and solutions that can bring about a more liveable and sustainable living environment for our residents. Over the years, our innovations have ranged from state-of-the-art environmental modelling techniques, to renewable energy and resource circularity, as well as new and more sustainable methods of construction. The issuance of green bonds to finance current and future green projects in HDB’s building programme is thus timely and a natural progression of HDB’s sustainability journey. More than just a means of funding building projects, HDB’s entry into green financing underscores our commitment to make every HDB town not only liveable, but also green and sustainable.”
7 HDB has issued S$1 billion, 5-year Fixed Rate Green Notes under our existing S$32 billion Multicurrency Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme. The Notes have a coupon of 1.845% per annum payable semi-annually in arrear. The Notes, rated AAA by Fitch Ratings, have been issued yesterday (15 Mar 2022) and will mature on 15 Mar 2027. The Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners are Bank of China Limited, Singapore Branch, DBS Bank Ltd., Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited, and United Overseas Bank Limited.
8 The Notes are in denominations of S$250,000 and were offered by way of placement to investors pursuant to Sections 274 and 275 of the Securities and Futures Act and (where applicable) Regulation 3 of the Securities and Futures (Classes of Investors) Regulations 2018. Approval in principle for the listing of the Notes on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (SGX-ST) has been obtained. Admission of the Notes to the Official List of the SGX-ST and quotation of any Notes on the SGX-ST is not to be taken as an indication of the merits of HDB, its subsidiaries or the Notes. The Notes are cleared through The Central Depository (Pte) Limited.
9 The proceeds from this green bond and upcoming green bonds/loans will be used exclusively to finance/re-finance projects that meet the following criteria:
10 For a start, HDB has identified 30 eligible projects for our Green Projects Register. These are new residential projects which are planned to achieve the Green Mark certification of GoldPlus or higher, and whose construction tender were/will be awarded from financial year 2020 to 2022 (Mar 2020 to Mar 2023). HDB will review the Green Projects Register annually to keep track of the projects eligible to be financed/re-financed by green bonds/loans. As the largest housing developer in Singapore, and with 80% of our resident population living in public estates, HDB plans to issue at least 1 green bond per year, subject to market conditions, to sustain our portfolio of green and sustainable developments going forward.
11 Some examples of projects that are eligible to be financed with the proceeds from green bonds/loans include Parc Residences@Tengah and Heart of Yew Tee:
12 HDB is committed to the transparent reporting of our sustainability performance. We will endeavour to allocate the proceeds to eligible green projects on a portfolio basis no later than two years from the issuance date of the relevant green bond/loan, subject to market conditions and unforeseen circumstances. For green bonds, we will publish an annual green finance report, or as and when there are any material developments. The annual green finance report will be audited by an independent assurance provider and will be available on HDB’s website. For green loans, HDB will provide a green loan report to the lender(s) upon request, or as and when there are any material developments.
1 BCA’s Green Mark certification scheme is a green building rating system designed to evaluate a building’s environmental impact and performance. It provides a comprehensive framework for assessing the overall environmental performance of new and existing buildings to promote sustainable design, and best practices in construction and operations in buildings.