It is the Bank’s policy to promote sustainable practices that will minimize negative environmental, social and reputation impact of the Bank’s financing activities and its clients’ operation. The sustainable practices that the bank wishes to pursue aim to encourage borrowers to adhere to the preservation and development of the natural, social, and cultural environment. The bank believes that good sustainable practices eventually pay dividends and are in the best interest of the borrowers.
The ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (ESMS) of RCBC requires that all lending relationships/credits, both pipeline and portfolio, are vetted from an environmental and social risk perspective.
The environmental and social impact assessment process is a systematic way of identifying and assessing the type and scale of impact a project may have on the environment and communities. The ESMS assessment takes place before a lending decision is made, and continues during the life cycle of the loan agreement with the client.
A pioneering financial services organization, RCBC is recognized for employing industry best practices in the areas of environmental and social responsibility, and corporate governance, and has been awarded “The Asset Benchmarking Award for Excellence in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) – Titanium Award” by The Asset ESG Corporate Awards.
RCBC is rated “A” by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) ESG Ratings, citing financial stability and sound business organization as key components for effective risk management .
Climate change is real and its impact presents a clear and present danger to humanity. The Philippine archipelago is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. According to Global Climate Risk Index 2019, the Philippines is the fifth most vulnerable to climate change. Communities living in our coastal areas risk flooding due to rising sea level. Increasing frequency of extreme weather events, i.e., erratic and high rainfall, severe typhoons or rising temperatures causing drought are threatening normal life and endangering fragile ecosystems.
Under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Philippines committed to reduce 70% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees. We believe that the financial services sector has the opportunity to participate in achieving the targets set under the Paris agreement, and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals to support the fight against climate change.
At RCBC, we believe that understanding the effects of and managing climate change is prudent risk management. As a leading Domestic Financial Institution and a responsible corporate entity, we are committed to doing our part to reduce global warming and support the Government in its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
RCBC Sustainable Finance Strategy
RCBC is committed to uphold environmental and social responsibility in all its business activities. We recognize that balancing non-financial factors such as environmental and social safeguards with financial priorities is essential to being a good corporate citizen, and is fundamental to risk management and the larger interest of our stakeholders.
RCBC aims to embed awareness of environmental and social issues within the organization, with our clients, and in the communities that we serve. The Bank believes that good sustainable practices are a key pillar of responsible lending which can have a meaningful impact on the environment and communities.
Sustainable Finance Risks and Opportunities
We believe in understanding, measuring, and mitigating the risks associated with transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future. We will align our business strategy with national priorities and over time rebalance our portfolio mix that creates value and benefits our stakeholders.
We are also cognizant of the opportunities that will arise as we transition to this new world order. According to the International Energy Agency, a global transition to meet this goal will require more than EUR30 trillion to be invested in clean energy and efficient infrastructure by 2035. We want to be well-positioned to participate and finance this transition.
We have taken important first steps to reduce our corporate carbon footprint and finance the flow of funds into a low-carbon and climate-resilient future not only in the Philippines but also within ASEAN. Our initiatives to lower our carbon footprint support RCBC’s sustainable finance activities and the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the following ways:
RCBC’s Corporate Head Office in Manila is located in a LEED Gold certified building
Funded projects that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals – specifically, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and Reduced Inequalities
Participated in 12 renewable energy and energy efficiency financing deals including direct financial support to South East Asia’s largest solar power plant, and served as the biggest funder to the 132.5MW solar farm in the City of Cadiz, in Negros Occidental, Philippines
Channelled more than PHP30 billion to fund projects and loans that contribute to decreasing the environmental footprint of the Philippines
Channelled more than PHP10 billion to fund projects and loans that provide access to social needs, directly improving living conditions of Filipinos
We have voluntarily placed several economic sectors on our funding exclusion list. We will not finance (new) projects to fund Tobacco, Alcohol, and Gaming investments. Our existing exposure to these sectors remains considerably small relative to our total loans.
Over the coming months and years, we intend to do more, and where appropriate, we will set targets.
RCBC Sustainable Finance Framework
The RCBC Sustainable Finance Framework articulates our strategy to prioritize fund raising and lending to priority sectors. In February 2019, the Bank raised PHP15 billion (USD290 million) under its Green Finance Framework. The issue was the first Green Bond from the Philippines under the ASEAN Green Bond Standards, and proceeds were utilized to fund Eligible Green Assets. In June 2019, the Bank also raised PHP8 billion (USD160 million) under its Sustainable Finance Framework. The issue was the first peso-denominated Sustainability Bond under the ASEAN Sustainability Bond Standards, and proceeds were utilized to fund Eligible Green and Social Assets. In September 2019, the Bank raised an additional USD300 million under its Sustainable Finance Framework to fund Eligible Green and Social Assets. Investor response to these landmark transactions was extraordinary. All three transactions were oversubscribed in multiples and brought in investors from all major financial centers of the world.
RCBC was awarded “Best Issuer for Sustainable Finance – Financial Institution”, and “Best Sustainability Bond” by The Asset Asian Awards for its PHP8 billion ASEAN Sustainability Bond, the first ASEAN Sustainability Bond issued in the Philippines and upsized from the target offering of PHP5 billion.
The world faces unprecedented challenges on account of climate change. Achieving global goals requires the participation of all sectors of civil society. We are ready to do our part.