Law firm of the year: Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance worked on an impressive array of deals in 2020, spanning green, social, sustainability and sustainability-linked (GSSS) bonds from a wide range of issuer types.

Highlights of its year include advising on the first ever Covid response bond – a €1 billion ($1.2 billion) deal from Nordic Investment Bank – and Covid-related issuances from IDB Invest, Council of Europe, Cassa depositi e prestiti, the Republic of Ecuador, the Republic of Guatemala, and New Development Bank.

It also worked on other types of structures, including the UK's first 'transition bond' for gas network operator Cadent, sustainability-linked offerings from cement firm Lafarge Holcim – the first of its kind in the building industry – and the establishment of cutting edge ESG-linked Euro Commercial Paper programmes for a number of issuers.

It worked on a number of sovereign issues, including Sweden's SEK20 billion ($2.3 billion) green bond, Poland's green bonds, and Hungary's green bond.

One of the Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges commented that, as well as participating in "some very interesting deals including the Covid-19 response bonds", the law firm was appointed to ICMA's advisory council of the Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles Executive Committee, and is "playing an important role in several working groups to demonstrate leadership and best practice sharing".

The judge was also impressed that in 2020 it launched a firm-wide ESG taskforce to help clients navigate and bring about the global shift towards more sustainable businesses and societies.