RIZAL Commercial Banking Corp. set up a green finance framework for future fund-raising activities. — BW FILE PHOTO

RIZAL COMMERCIAL Banking Corp. (RCBC) has established a green finance framework to serve as a basis for future fund-raising activities to support domestic environmental and climate projects.
In a disclosure to the local bourse on Monday, the Yuchengco-led lender said it established its green finance framework, which will be the basis for any issuance of green bonds or loans denominated in Philippine peso or any other currency.
RCBC’s green funding framework is the first in the Philippines to be aligned with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Green Bond Standards 2018 by the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum, the bank said.
The framework was also aligned with the Green Bond Framework 2018 of the International Capital Market Association, as well as the Green Loan Principles 2018 of the Loan Market Association and Asia Pacific Loan Market Association.
“Proceeds from any green financing under the framework will be used to finance or refinance a portfolio of green eligible projects relating to renewable energy, green buildings, clean transportation, energy efficiency and pollution prevention and control that contributes to the reduction of the environmental footprint in the Philippines,” RCBC told the local stock exchange.
RCBC Chief Executive Officer Gil A. Buenaventura said the bank sees the value of developing greater environmental awareness and social responsibility through its operations and businesses it serves.
“The bank believes that balancing non-financial factors such as environmental and social issues with financial priorities is essential to good corporate citizenship and is fundamental to risk management and the protection of its investors and shareholders.”
Local lenders have been slowly venturing into the green financing market.
In the previous years, Sy-led lenders BDO Unibank, Inc. and China Banking Corp. raised $150 million each worth of green bonds to sole investor International Finance Corp.
Bank of the Philippine Islands, on the other hand, has said it is looking at returning to the offshore bond market this year, as it is “contemplating” on issuing green bonds.
RCBC has mandated ING Bank N.V. as the sole green structuring adviser for its green finance framework. ING Bank Country Manager Hans B. Sicat said the Dutch financial giant is honored to support the Yuchengco-led bank in pursuing its sustainability goals.
“By having a green finance framework, RCBC is now able to integrate its sustainability ambitions into its business activities and access green financing,” Mr. Sicat said.
Sustainalytics, a global provider of environmental, social and governance research and ratings, said the bank’s green funding framework is “credible, robust and transparent,” and that it supports three of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
RCBC posted a P3.2-billion net profit in the first nine months of 2018, down 5.9% from a year earlier. The country’s 10th biggest bank runs 509 branches and 1,593 automated teller machines nationwide as of end-September.
Shares in RCBC stood at P27.15 apiece on Monday, up 75 centavos or 2.84% from the previous session. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal