Green & Sustainable Finance

With continuing concerns on climate change risks and social disruptions on financial systems and economic activity, there is greater interest by investors and various stakeholders in green and sustainable investments, and with that, green and sustainable finance. In line with this growing trend, many financial institutions (FIs) have signed on to the United Nation's Environment Programme Financial Initiative (UNEPFI) - Principles for Responsible Banking, and are committed to align their business strategy to be consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the Paris Agreement and the relevant national and regional frameworks.

In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore is looking to make sustainable finance a defining feature of Singapore's role as an international financial centre.

At Rajah & Tann, we understand that the provision of green and sustainable finance involves many responsible risk decision-making processes to balance the objectives of promoting positive environmental and social change and robust corporate governance while achieving sustained financial and economic returns.

Our sustainability financing specialist lawyers have a keen understanding of the Green Loan Principles (GLP) and the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles (SLLP). We have acted for banks and corporates in green and sustainability linked financing in Singapore across sectors, ranging from real estate and hospitality to energy and agriculture, and in many "first of its kind" transactions.

Our experience and expertise in this area mean that we will be able to address the commercial aspects and economic objectives of the transactions, and at the same time assist the parties to fulfil the legal and technical requirements set out in GLP and SLLP. For banking clients, this would also include checking that such transactions are in line with their lending criteria and policies.

On the broader front, we can help you understand what "green" and "sustainable" mean, and its impact on businesses and processes. We can help you unpack and reconcile the different global standards and regulations on green and sustainable finance. We can also advise you on the adaptation of your business to take into account these factors, to facilitate your transition to refreshed modes of operation.

On the macro front, sustainable finance is a new and evolving growth area in Singapore and in the region, and there will be new laws, regulations and best practices guide to set the parameters. We have strong advisory teams on financial regulations, environment and healthcare related laws, which would be able to support you in addressing legal and compliance issues that may arise.

Experience

The team has vast experience acting for lenders and borrowers in numerous green and sustainable linked financing transactions, including several “first-of-its-kind” transactions in Singapore and the region, and just to name a few:

  • in 2018, in Indonesia's first sustainability blended finance facility taken by PT Royal Lestari Utama in collaboration with Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (a multi-stakeholder partnership consisting inter alia, The World Agroforestry Centre, UN Environment and International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and other parties) to finance sustainable natural rubber production;
  • in 2019, in one of the first conversions of a conventional loan to a green loan for a residential property development in Singapore, and in another transaction, the first green loan in Southeast Asia’s hospitality industry; and
  • in 2020, in the first sustainability-linked loan for Singapore’s energy sector, and in another recent transaction, the largest sustainability-linked bilateral loan in the Singapore real estate sector.

In addition, the team has also recently provided feedback on the Monetary Authority of Singapore's Consultation Paper on Proposed Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management (Banks), environmental risk management being one of the four key strategies of the Green Finance Action Plan as road mapped by MAS.

Do reach out to us to find out more.