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Swedbank doubles down on green bonds

Swedbank has boosted its green credentials over the past week, firstly by publishing its Green Bond Impact Report 2019. This showed that the bank had continued to expand its Green Asset Register, which now includes assets worth nearly SEK14bn. Annual avoided emissions totalled 434,678 tonnes of CO2e, deriving from 266 wind power plants and 34 green buildings.

Swedbank established its Green Bond Frame­work in October 2017 to enable and support sustain­able investments. The Green Bond Impact Report accounts for the estimated environmental impact from the investments in eligible green assets on a portfolio basis. Assets included in the Green Asset Register as of 31 December 2019 totalled SEK13.958bn. The Green Asset Register increased by SEK3.639bn from 2018, and the share of new financing grew from 32% to 43%.

“Our role in running a sustainable bank is to create positive impact through our business and to promote sustainable finance by inspiring people and businesses to make smart sustainable choices,” said Fredrik Nilzén, head of Group Sustainability at Swedbank.

Green Bonds, financing sustainable real estate and renewable energy, is an important instrument in promoting sustainable finance. Swedbank’s green bonds serve as a means to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Avoided CO2e emissions amounted to 31 tonnes annually per SEK1m invested. Proceeds from the Green Asset Register were used to finance and re-finance green buildings and renewable energy production. The first Baltic asset, a wind park in Lithuania, was included in the Green Asset Register. Wind power generated annual renewable energy production of 1,725,000 MWh and green buildings generated annual energy savings of 13,161 MWh.

“Issuing Green Bonds creates opportunities for us and our customers to contribute towards a more sustainable society. Through these bonds we can connect our customers´ needs for green loans with the increasing demand for green investments. Each one of us is an important link in the chain of putting green money to work,” said Kerstin Ahlqvist, head of Long-term funding at Swedbank.

Swedbank says its Green Bond Programme is constantly evolving as the marketplace and the regulatory environment for sustainable bonds are rapidly developing. The bank says it is committed to be part of, to follow and to drive this transition.

Supporting Swedish Export Credit's green transaction

As recently as this Wednesday, it was also announced that subsidiary Swedbank Robur had participated as a key investor in the Swedish Export Credit Corporation’s latest green bond issuance. The investment of SEK1bn will provide financing for industry investments supporting a global environmental transition. 

Through issuance of green bonds, the Swedish Export Credit Corporation can offer green financing in form of green loans to exporting companies that are actively working to realign their operations to reduce emissions from fossil fuels. The green loans are classified in accordance with the Swedish Export Credit Corporation Green Bond Framework, which has a dark green shading from CICERO. Dark green is allocated to projects and solutions that correspond to the long-term vision of a low carbon and climate resilient future. 

“We are proud to have launched our third green bond transaction in the SEK market," commented Johan Henningsson, head of Sustainability at the Swedish Export Credit Corporation. "Issuing bonds with a dark green label is a way to disseminate knowledge about the importance of environmental efforts towards our counterparties in Sweden and the rest of the world.” 

The proceeds from this issuance will be invested in projects in Sweden and across the globe within key areas such as renewable energy and sustainable construction. 

“We believe that the Swedish Export Credit’s Green Bond Framework with a dark green shading is one of the strongest frameworks in the market," added Thomas Bäck, portfolio manager at Swedbank Robur. "We are therefore very pleased to invest in their green bond issuance supporting projects that promote renewable energy and the transition towards a low-carbon economy.”

Bringing APIs to FX

In other news from the past week, Swedbank has also been innovating with APIs and foreign exchange (FX), as it announced that currency conversion now available in Open Banking.

The new innovation, called RestFX, adds FX to the bank's collection of Open Banking APIs. RestFX is made up of two APIs:

  • RestFX Indicative Rates. This is a way to retrieve up-to date, indicative FX rates. The API is open for all users and not limited to customers of Swedbank. The service supports more than 100 different currency pairs and the rates are continuously updated. This is provided as a free service.
  • RestFX Market Orders. This is an API to place FX orders with Swedbank. Corporates can both execute orders and integrate and automate FX conversions in their business processes. Reports of executed trades can also be downloaded. This service is limited to customers of Swedbank in Sweden and Norway that are customers of the bank's FX Trade product.

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