Environmental Finance's Sustainable Debt Awards 2024

Lead manager of the year, green bonds - financial institution; Lead manager of the year, social bonds - supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA): NatWest

For the second year running, NatWest has won awards in both the Lead manager of the year, green bonds – financial institution and Lead manager of the year, social bonds – supranational, sub-sovereign and agency (SSA) categories.

On the green bonds side, the bank supported the market's expansion by assisting issuers to launch green bonds - such as Swedish bank Länsförsäkringar Bank's debut EUR benchmark bond - as well as bringing Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo to the market for the first time in GBP. In addition, NatWest assisted institutions in issuing green bonds in new asset classes, such as Rabobank which came to market with its first green-covered bond – only the second Dutch institution to issue one.

Throughout the year, NatWest assisted dozens of financial institutions with their ESG ratings in 2023 as well as advising many on updates to their green bond frameworks.

Jake Hallam"At NatWest, we aim to help our financial institution customers in every step of their climate transition journeys, from advancing their sustainability strategy, disclosures and ESG ratings to structuring green, social and sustainability financing frameworks and impact reporting," said Jake Hallam, vice president of Climate & ESG Capital Markets, Financial Institutions.

"This award is a testament to our lifecycle approach. This deep understanding of our clients' sustainability stories, combined with our close connections to ESG investors underpins our delivery of strong outcomes during green bond execution."

The bank also assists issuers with aligning their green and social frameworks with various global classifications and frameworks, such as the EU taxonomy.

"Good focus on developing practical solutions and tools for investors and customers to better manage ESG data and strategies," commented one Sustainable Debt Awards judge on NatWest's green bonds entry.

Another judge applauded the bank's "work on structuring and updating frameworks to meet investor expectations and adhere to emerging market best practices is expected to improve the quality of offerings in the market".

On the social bond side, NatWest supported social SSA issuers across framework development, post-issuance reporting, ESG regulation, ESG ratings advisory and ESG investor mapping. In 2023, it was awarded mandates from the African Development Bank (AfDB) in its inaugural GBP social bond, as well as Unédic, France's social benefit agency for its sole social bond mandate of the year.

One judge commended NatWest's social bonds application for its "broad social impact including [emphasising] the global south".

Kerr FinlaysonNatWest also hosted its inaugural ESG SSA Issuer & Investor event in 2023, where over 80 meetings were held between major European green, social and sustainability SSA issuers and ESG investors.

"Our ambition is to support social issuers and bring critical matters such as the just transition to the forefront of investment discussions," said Kerr Finlayson, head of NatWest's Frequent Borrowers Group (FBG) Syndicate.

"We have been able to deliver strong social bond execution through our understanding of key social themes and our deep network of ESG investors who are actively looking for social impact investments. We are proud of the trust placed in NatWest by our SSA customers".