NatWest was praised by one Environmental Finance Bond Award judge for its "excellent" work in ESG bonds, with issuances showing "good performance and function" as the bank picked up three awards this year.
In 2022, NatWest was ranked number one bookrunner supporting UK Financial institutions (FI) with social bond issuance, according to Dealogic, as well as number one in Western Europe FI social bond issuance.
Social issues of note in 2022 include Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB)’s bond which focused on Berlin social housing and was the first social pfandbriefe – a type of bond that is based on money earned from mortgages invested in other financial products – issued in Germany, and Allied Irish Banks (AIB) bond which raised €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in the first social bond issuance by an Irish bank.
Another Environmental Finance Bond Award judge said: "NatWest's expertise is very strong which placed them in a good position with regards to social bonds and their in-depth knowledge was extremely clear in their interactions with social bond issuers and investors. This also helped them support corporate sustainability bond issuers, which finance a combination of green and social projects."
Caroline Haas, head of climate and ESG capital markets, commented: "Financial institutions have a powerful role to play in creating social impact – this was first shown very prominently during the Covid-19 pandemic, with banks supporting healthcare facilities and supporting employment levels. This has again become an important theme with the ongoing cost of living of living crisis.
"But given financial institutions' breadth across sectors, they can have a much broader impact including equality across gender and ethnicities, affordable housing and financial inclusion.
"At NatWest, we are proud to support our financial institution customers with innovative social bond transactions to create a more equal society and ensure a just transition, in line with our purpose of helping people, families and businesses to thrive."
Arthur Krebbers, head of corporate climate and ESG capital markets, added: "The corporate sustainability bond market continues to gather momentum, as companies seek to partner with investors to support a broad range of environmentally and socially impactful projects.
"At NatWest we aim to support firms on all stages of this journey – from benchmarking of their ESG strategy through to framework drafting, positioning and post-issuance reporting.
"We are proud to have supported a broad variety of customers in this way – including Compass Group, Places for People and the London School of Economics and Political Science. And we strive to promote best practices through engagement with peers and industry bodies."
Nathalie Larrousé, director of climate & ESG Capital Markets at NatWest Markets, also commented: “We are delighted and very proud to be awarded the Lead manager of the year award for social bonds in the SSA category and for the trust placed in Natwest Markets by our customers to help them progress their sustainability agenda, especially in these challenging times. Social considerations have taken a central role in recent years, with the realisation that a green transition had to go hand-in-hand with a just transition."