(Bloomberg) -- Canada Pension Plan Investment Board plans to issue green bonds in Canadian dollars for the first time, joining a growing list of borrowers selling the debt to finance environmentally friendly investments.
“The issuance of green bonds is a logical next step to CPPIB’s investment-focused approach to climate change, and we are pleased to be a pioneer among pension funds in this regard,” Poul Winslow, senior managing director and global head of capital markets and factor investing, said in a statement Monday. “The capital raised will help support strong, long-term investments in eligible green assets that position the fund for continued success.”
CPPIB’s statement doesn’t specify the timing or size of the sale, but says the Toronto-based fund engaged the Centre for International Climate Research, which specializes in providing second opinions on the qualification of debt for green bond status.
CPPIB’s green-bond framework allows for investments in wind and solar energy, sustainable water and wastewater management, as well as green buildings. It plans to invest more than C$3 billion ($2.3 billion) in renewable energy as it prepares for an expected global transition to a lower-carbon economy.
Canada’s green bond issuance, totaling C$8 billion according to data compiled by Bloomberg, has recently been dominated by provincial governments, yet an increasing number of other issuers such as insurers and municipalities have been making forays into the market in recent months.
Manulife Financial Corp. in November became the world’s first life insurer to sell green bonds when it priced securities in Singapore dollars, and followed that transaction in May with the first corporate green bond in Canadian dollars since 2015. The city of Ottawa sold green bonds in November, while Toronto seeks to follow suit in the second half of this year.
The province of Ontario is the country’s biggest green borrower with C$3.05 billion of securities outstanding that were sold in five transactions, including the country’s largest -- C$1 billion of seven-year bonds -- sold in January.
CPPIB invests on behalf of the Canada Pension Plan. The C$356.1 billion pension fund, which boasts the highest credit score at the three largest rating firms, started issuing debt in 2015. It has sold debt in the loonie, U.S. dollar and the euro.
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