The Île-de-France region in north-central France is the country's most prosperous. But it is not without its social and environmental challenges, particularly as it is densely populated – with a fifth of the country's population – and it surrounds the capital, Paris.
To tackle these challenges the regional authority issued a €700 million ($764 million) sustainability bond programme that Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges described as being a "great job on what is an impressive overall programme [of issuances]".
In particular, they praised the positive way that biodiversity was included in the bond's use of proceeds and that there were clear exclusions, as well as the fact that the bond was partly aligned with EU Taxonomy.
"Region Île-de-France has established themselves as a credible repeat issuer in the labelled bond market through their consistent best practices in issuance and reporting," one judge commented.
Proceeds from the sustainability bond were allocated according to a clear definition of eligible categories, which ensured that each project financed was aligned to either a green project category, or a social project category.
Green expenditures must finance projects that involve either green building, clean transportation, renewable energy, or terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation.
Social expenditure must cover projects that either help improve access to essential services (such as education or healthcare), improve social inclusion, fund affordable housing and infrastructure, or that work to create jobs and reduce unemployment.
Paul Bérard, deputy general manager at Région Île-de-France, said: "The competences vested in the Île-de-France Region place the institution at the heart of the sustainable development of the region.
"The region has been a pioneer in the field of sustainable finance and has been committed to exclusively using green and responsible financing since 2019.
"The Environmental Finance Bond Awards are for us a recognition of the Region's resolute commitment to address environmental and climate issues, in particular through its green and social bond issues."
Issuer: Region Île-de-France
Size: €700 million ($764 million)
Maturity: 19 July 2032
Coupon: 2.23 % per annum
Use of proceeds: Green buildings, clean transportation, renewable energy, or terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation, access to essential services (education or healthcare), social inclusion, fund affordable housing and infrastructure, or that work to create jobs and reduce unemployment.
External review: V.E.
Credit rating: Aa2 Stable / AA Negative (Moody's/ Fitch)