Case studies

World first green bond supports Woolworths sustainability strategy

Woolworths Group has issued the world’s first green bond by a supermarket business to fund its sustainability strategy.

The $400 million green bond launched in April 2019 is backed by a Green Bonds Framework and funds initiatives such as LED lighting, energy efficient fridges and solar panels as part of the retailer’s 2020 sustainability strategy.

Woolworths Group includes well known Australian and New Zealand brands Woolworths, Countdown, Dan Murphy’s, BWS and Big W. It has over 3,000 stores, more than 200,000 employees. Since 2015 the group has reduced its emissions by 13 per cent.

The Climate Bonds Initiative has certified the bonds and has developed a global low-carbon buildings criteria for supermarkets as a result of Woolworths’ commitment to green bonds. The Climate Bonds Initiative is an international, investor-focused not-for-profit organisation working to mobilise the $100 trillion bond market, for climate change solutions.

The green bond, which sets new standards and expectations across the entire retail industry, creates a simple and highly transparent way for the private sector to invest in clean energy technologies. It provides a new asset class for institutional investors who have an increasing appetite for products that meet environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements.

The CEFC secured a $30 million tranche of the issuance. The CEFC’s investment in this bond enables the CEFC to continue its support for Australia’s emerging green bond market, actively monitor the secondary market for green bonds and gain useful insights into the emissions profile of Australia’s supermarkets.