Singapore Green Bond Framework Introduced for Upcoming Inaugural Singapore Sovereign Green Bond Issuance
The Singapore Government today published the Singapore Green Bond Framework (Framework), a governance framework for sovereign green bond issuances under the Significant Infrastructure Government Loan Act 2021 (SINGA).
The Framework details the Singapore Government’s (i) intended use of green bond proceeds, (ii) governance structure to evaluate and select eligible projects, (iii) operational approach to manage green bond proceeds, and (iv) commitment to post-issuance allocation and impact reporting, MAS said in a press release.
Key Features of the Framework
In line with the Singapore Government’s commitment to ensure that the green bonds issued by public sector agencies adhere to market best practices, the Framework has been designed with the following principles:
- Alignment with internationally recognised market principles and standards: The Framework is developed and structured in alignment with the core components and key recommendations  of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Green Bond Principles 2021  and the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum ASEAN Green Bond Standards 2018.
- Stringent governance and oversight of project selection and allocation of proceeds: The Second Minister for Finance chairs the Green Bond Steering Committee, which assumes overall responsibility for proper governance and implementation of the Framework. The Singapore Government commits to annual post-issuance allocation reporting and impact reporting on environmental benefits and, where possible, social co-benefits of the Eligible Green Expenditures. This provides transparency and accountability for investors and other interested parties.
- Technical screening to evaluate and identify green projects: The eligibility criteria for the Green Categories have been developed with reference to internationally recognised market principles and standards such as the ICMA Green Bond Principles and the Climate Bond Initiative (CBI) Taxonomy and Sector Criteria.
Proceeds from green bonds issued under the Framework will be used to finance expenditures in support of the Singapore Green Plan 2030. This facilitates the transition to a low-carbon economy in Singapore, and advances the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The following are the categories of Eligible Green Expenditures:
- Renewable Energy
- Energy Efficiency
- Green Building
- Clean Transportation
- Sustainable Water and Wastewater Management
- Pollution Prevention, Control and Circular Economy
- Climate Change Adaptation
- Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Land Use
Morningstar Sustainalytics, an independent ESG research firm, has completed an external review (Second-Party Opinion) on the green credentials of the Framework, and is of the view that the Framework is credible, impactful and aligns with internationally recognised market principles and standards.
Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah said at the Singapore Sustainable Investing and Financing Conference 2022, “We are committed as one Government to taking bold and decisive actions to tackle climate change, finance sustainable infrastructure, and catalyse the green economy. The publication of our Singapore Green Bond Framework is yet another important step forward in this regard”.
DBS Bank served as adviser to the Singapore Government on the development of the Framework. DBS Bank’s Global Head of Fixed Income, Clifford Lee, said, “As a leading financial hub with an AAA rating, Singapore is well-placed to lead the development of the Green Bond Framework, which will serve as a good reference point to help further develop, grow and deepen ESG financing in Asia. We are heartened to support the Singapore Government in the structuring and development of the framework which will provide a robust foundation for Singapore to further cement its position as a global green finance hub, and drive more high-quality public and private green bond issuances to fuel the nation’s climate ambitions.”
You can read more on the Singapore Green Bond Framework and the Second-Party Opinion at https://go.gov.sg/greenbonds
Inaugural Issuance of Singapore Sovereign Green Bond
To support Singapore’s transition to a low-carbon economy and spur Singapore’s development as a green finance hub, the Singapore Government has announced at Budget 2022 that the public sector will issue up to S$35 billion of green bonds by 2030. This will include bonds issued by the Singapore Government as well as its Statutory Boards, to finance public sector green infrastructure projects.
The Singapore Government will be issuing its inaugural sovereign green bond under the SINGA in the coming months. Known as Green SGS (Infrastructure) bonds, these bonds will be used to finance nationally significant infrastructure which meet the green criteria under the Framework. Such infrastructure projects are expected to provide long-term environmental benefits to both the current and future generations.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will undertake the issuance and management of SGS on behalf of the Government. The MAS will provide more details about the upcoming issuance of the Green SGS (Infrastructure) bond closer to its issuance date.