As a leading bank in Asia, UOB strives to play a part in driving the sustainable development of economies, industries and communities. We work with local governments, businesses and individuals to provide funding to green and social projects across the region. Together, we hope to build more sustainable cities and to help improve quality of life for everyone, which will create long-term value for our clients.
In 2021, we provided
in sustainable financing including green loans and sustainability-linked loans, as well as loans for green-certified buildings.
In 2021, we launched the UOB Green Trade Finance and Working Capital Framework, the fourth of such frameworks that we developed to help companies transform their businesses.
The other three sustainable financing frameworks are:
UOB Smart City Sustainable Finance Framework;
UOB Sustainable Finance Framework for Green Building Developers and Owners; and
UOB Green Financing Framework for Circular Economy.
Through these frameworks, companies can apply for financing without having to develop their own sustainable financing framework, which can take time and resources.
The Green Trade Finance and Working Capital Framework provides a clear and guided process for us to assess our clients’ eligible green activities and the recognised industry certifications within targeted sectors. The criteria include:
a clear sustainability strategy;
documents that show how the funds will be used; and
records that demonstrate the positive sustainability outcomes from the companies’ business activities or trades related to the green trade financing.
Sectors supported by this framework are:
Building materials suppliers
Climate change adaptation
Circular inputs design
Material resource recovery
Sustainable water management and treatment
We extended our first green trade finance facilities to Musim Mas Group, a global leader in the merchandising and distribution of palm oil and its derivative products, and Barramundi Group Pte Ltd, an aquaculture company.
"At Musim Mas, sustainability is at the core of everything we do and we firmly believe that doing good for the environment and society translates into positive returns for the business. UOB has been actively supporting our financial needs and reached out to us on the opportunity to use green trade financing to accelerate our sustainability agenda, such as in our procurement of certified sustainable palm oil. We will continue to work with responsible suppliers and business partners in different areas of our business and in doing so, we also hope to raise awareness of the benefits of going green and encourage others to adopt more sustainable business practices.”
Mr Alvin Lim
Group Chief Financial Officer, Musim Mas Group
“Since 2017, we have been working closely with UOB on the financial solutions that best suit the needs of our company. Transitioning the relatively traditional aquaculture industry to a path of sustainability comes with its challenges. However, with the support of the green trade finance facility granted by UOB, we are able to inject more funds into accelerating the deployment of technologies that will help make fish rearing more sustainable. We look forward to the continued collaboration with UOB and together, we can contribute towards strengthening Singapore’s food security.”
Mr Andreas von Scholten
Chief Executive Officer, Barramundi Group
Other notable sustainable financing deals in 2021 included:
a $2 billion sustainability-linked revolving credit facility for Changi Airport Group. We were also the joint sustainability adviser for the club loan;
a $750 million sustainability-linked club loan for Singapore Telecommunications Limited. We were also the joint sustainability adviser for the club loan;
a $418 million green loan for an executive condominium project located at Tengah Garden Walk, the first government land sales private residential project that will be awarded the Building and Construction Authority Green Mark Gold
Plus (super low energy) certification;
a $330 million green loan – one of Singapore’s largest – to South Beach Consortium;
a $150 million sustainability-linked loan to CapitaLand China Trust, the first Singapore-listed real estate investment trust to secure a loan linked to the sustainability performance of a China portfolio;
a $130 million green loan to Boustead Projects to refinance ALICE@Mediapolis, a smart eco-sustainable business park development;
a joint $85.8 million green loan to Sunseap Group to install solar photovoltaic systems across more than 1,200 public housing blocks and 49 government sites. This is Singapore’s largest clean energy project to date;
a 675 million baht green loan to Asia Capital Real Estate to develop HOMA Phuket Town, an environmentally-friendly affordable residential rental apartment complex in Phuket, Thailand;
a US$700 million sustainability-linked loan to logistics company ESR Cayman Limited, provided by a consortium of banks and coordinated globally by UOB. This is one of the largest sustainability-linked loans in the Asia Pacific; and
a £450 million syndicated green loan issued by a consortium of five lenders, including UOB, to Qatari Diar to finance the construction of The Chancery Rosewood in London’s Grosvenor Square.
Creating impact through private equity investments
Other than bank loans, we also offer companies access to alternative financing such as private equity financing and venture debt financing. Our private equity arm, UOB Venture Management (UOBVM), invests in high-growth, privately-held companies in Southeast Asia and Greater China through the ASEAN China Investment Funds (ACIF) and the Asia Impact Investment Funds (AIIF).
In 2021, UOBVM:
launched the fifth series of its flagship ACIF, building on its previous track record of supporting businesses to create sustainable change. There were strong deal flows across key themes such as Industry 4.0, happiness, well-being, technology, as well as green technology and supply chain;
started deploying the Asia Impact Investment Fund II, which was also invested by the International Finance Corporation, the largest global development institution and a member of the World Bank Group. The fund focuses on investing in companies in Southeast Asia and China that prioritises positive social outcomes with financial returns;
divested its stake in Bitexco Power Corporation, a leading renewable energy firm in Vietnam’s private sector, to a buyer that aims to contribute to improving Vietnam’s carbon-neutrality goal; and
saw the public listing of Appier Group Inc., one of its investee companies, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Appier offers artificial intelligence-based marketing technology solutions that are used by customers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Estee Lauder.
Driving green and sustainable businesses with financing programmes
UOB launched two integrated financing programmes – U-Energy and U-Drive – in 2021 to help businesses access funding and know-how in retrofitting their buildings with energy-efficient features and switching to electric vehicles (EVs).
The U-Energy programme was rolled out in Singapore and Malaysia, and it covers buildings such as:
U-Drive, which is available in Singapore, includes the following financing options:
“Sustainability is at the heart of our core values at M&V, where we believe that we can help to make a difference to the environment. With the common goal to reduce carbon emissions, we can help to ensure that you enjoy maximum returns on your investments. Together with UOB, under the U-Energy programme, we aim to support more businesses as they embark on their sustainability journey.”
Mr Steven Kang
Managing Director, Measurement & Verification Pte Ltd
“We have been banking with UOB since 1970. The Bank has been supportive of our foray into EVs, in particular our venture into commercial EVs, which we expect will continue to grow in demand. We are expanding as a one-stop electric vehicle hub spanning sales, leasing and even charging infrastructure and we look forward to continued support from UOB under the U-Drive solution.”
Mr Edward Tan
Other than loans, we were also active in facilitating our clients’ bond issuances to support green and sustainability projects. They included:
Nanyang Technological University’s $650 million sustainability-linked bond with a 15-year tenor, the world's first such bond by a university. We were a joint lead manager and bookrunner; and
National University of Singapore’s $300 million second green bond to fund green projects and energy-related initiatives. We were the sole lead manager and bookrunner.
In 2021, we also led industry efforts to enable data-driven decision-making for green trade financing standards across industries.
UOB led a consortium of four banks to work with Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex), a digital infrastructure to develop digital solutions for banks to support their clients’ green trade financing needs better. A pilot with key industries such as agriculture, real estate and construction was started in 2021. The initiative seeks to facilitate a more seamless and trusted environmental, social and governance data exchange between financial institutions and the projects they are financing in the real economic sectors.