BANK OF the Philippine Islands has formed a green finance framework. — BW FILE PHOTO

BANK OF THE Philippine Islands (BPI) has established a green finance framework to serve as a basis for future fund-raising activities for environmental projects.

The Ayala-led lender said in a regulatory filing Monday that it established a green finance framework in line with its “longstanding commitment to fund projects with clear environmental benefits.”

In particular, the framework details guidelines for the evaluation and selection of eligible projects, management of proceeds and reporting of any green bonds or loans to be issued by BPI.

“BPI is committed to contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the Philippines,” BPI President and Chief Executive Officer Cezar P. Consing was quoted as saying in the statement.

BPI said it is a consistent market leader in sustainable energy finance, with cumulative disbursements from its sustainable energy finance team as well as structured finance division worth P125.76 billion as of 2018.

“Green bonds and green loans pursuant to the Framework will further bolster this figure, in addition to financing projects in sustainable water and wastewater management, pollution prevention and control, and green buildings,” the bank told the stock exchange yesterday.

The framework is aligned with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Green Bond Standards, the Green Bond Principles of the International Capital Market Association as well as the Green Loan Principles of the Loan Market Association, BPI said.

BPI Capital Corp., Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup acted as green structuring advisers for the establishment of the lender’s green framework, while Sustainalytics provided the second party opinion.

In December, BPI Treasurer and Global Markets Head Antonio V. Paner said the bank is looking at returning to the offshore bond market this year as it is “contemplating” issuing green bonds.

Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in January established its green finance network. This served as a basis for the bank’s P15-billion 1.5-year green bonds raised also in January to support its expansion and initiatives in the green space.

RCBC also issued earlier this month P8 billion in fresh funds via two-year sustainability bonds to fund loans and projects that have environmental and social benefits.

BPI booked a P6.72-billion net profit in the first quarter, up 7.6% year-on-year, driven by robust net interest income growth.

Shares in BPI closed at P80.05 apiece on Monday, down 45 centavos or 0.56%. — K.A.N. Vidal