Environmental Finance's Sustainable Debt Awards 2024

Sustainability project bond of the year: Aegea

In July 2023, Brazilian sanitation firm Aegea raised BRL5.5. billion ($1.1 billion) via a two-tranche bond for improvements to the country's water supply and sewage treatments. It claims to be the largest sustainable and blue issuance in the Brazilian sanitation sector to date.

The proceeds of the 11-year Águas do Rio 1 tranche, which raised BRL3.4 billion will go towards investments in water networks, water treatment plants, and supply systems.

The 19-year Águas do Rio 4 tranche goes towards improvements to sewage services and networks, such as treatment stations, as well as transport and treatment of wastewater and industrial outflows.

The bond has been labelled as a 'blue bond' as it aligns with the International Finance Corporation's Blue Finance guidelines. This requires all blue bonds to contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 'clean water', and Goal 14 'life below water'.

Until the maturity date, Aegea will annually disclose against a number of metrics linked to the bond's proceeds, including the volume of water treated or population served as well as social metrics such as average hospitalisation rate of waterborne diseases in covered municipalities.

Award judges recognised the bond for its recognition of the acute social need for sanitation improvements and the interplay between "natural resources, environmental requirements, and social needs".

Deal highlights:

Issuer: Aegea
Size: BRL5.5 billion $1.1 billion)
Maturity: Tranche one: 2034 (11 years) Tranche two: 2042 (19 years)
Use of proceeds: Affordable basic infrastructure, pollution prevention and control, renewable energy, socioeconomic advancement and empowerment, sustainable water management, terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity conservation
External reviewer: Sustainalytics