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Green Bonds 

Sustainable issuance of Helaba

Acting sustainably is one of Helaba's core strategic objectives. Issuing Green Bonds is the next step on the way to becoming an integrated sustainable bank. Helaba experts Dirk Mewesen and Petra Sandner explain what developments are currently under way in this area on the market side and within Helaba.

Sustainable Bond Market: Three Questions to Dirk Mewesen

Dirk Mewesen, Head of Treasury at Helaba, outlines current trends in the green bond market and investors’ interest in such products.

Mr. Mewesen, what is your current assessment of the sustainable bond market?

Many institutional investors are already committed to the “UN Principles for Responsible Investments” and are aligning their investment decisions according to ESG criteria. At the same time, the trend towards further regulation will intensify. The EU is working on an action plan for sustainable finance, which is intended to establish a uniform classification system that will define the obligations of institutional investors to an even greater extent, eventually. I expect this will lead to further increases in investment demand and a corresponding rise in demand for sustainable investment products. To be specific, savings banks are reporting an increased need for sustainable securities for their own investment portfolios due to the growing awareness of this issue in society.

„Green bonds currently dominate the market for sustainable bonds with a share of around 85 %.”

Dirk Mewesen
Head of Treasury at Helaba

Which investors do you intend to target with your sustainable issues?

There is a wide spectrum of potential investors for sustainability bonds including asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies and banks as well as private investors. They range from "pure" green bond investors to investors who still want to acquire classic senior bank bonds but from sustainable issuers. On a regional perspective, investors are spread all across Europe with a focus on the Netherlands, France, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany and the UK.

What role do Green Bonds play in Helaba’s product portfolio?

Green bonds, where the proceeds of the issues are used to finance sustainable loan portfolios, currently dominate the market with a share of around 85 percent. However, feedback from many investors indicates that going forward they will increasingly focus on the integrated sustainability performance of the respective issuer. Stable and good sustainability ratings are playing an increasingly important role here. Therefore, our funding strategy aims to establish Helaba as an integrated sustainable issuer across all funding instruments in line with our sustainability strategy.

Dirk Mewesen, Head of Treasury at Helaba
Dirk Mewesen, Head of Treasury at Helaba

ESG criteria

Environmental, Social and Governance criteria are a set of standards for a sustainable company's operations. That is why we offer pro­duct so­lu­tions that ad­dress ESG as­pects through­out the Group and in all areas of our busi­ness ac­tivi­ties.

„Our funding strategy aims to establish Helaba as an integrated sustainable issuer across all funding instruments in line with our sustainability strategy.”

Dirk Mewesen
Head of Treasury at Helaba

Funding

Helaba's funding activities are covering a wide range of products, currencies and investors.

Integrated Sustainability: Three Questions to Petra Sandner

Petra Sander, the Helaba Group’s Chief Sustainability Officer, explains Helaba’s approach to implementing sustainability within the organisation, how truly sustainable Helaba Green Bonds are, and which support Helaba can offer to assist its clients to master the transition.

Ms. Sandner, since sustainability as an integrated concept is playing an increasingly important role for investors, what is the current focus of your activity?

We are refining our sustainability profile in all dimension of ESG - Environment, Social and Governance in a coordinated group wide approach. We aim to contribute to mitigating climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. We are furthermore aligning our overall business to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, we support women on their career path, and we are investing in our employees as well as in the society. These targets will be linked to measurable performance criteria that will be incorporated into the management and control processes. This way we ensure that our targets are binding and the achievements on our path to sustainability are measurable.

How sustainable are Helaba's Green Bonds?

Foremost, all eligible green loans are fully compliant with the EU Taxonomy. We are applying current best-practice market standards and will continuously adapt to new developments. This way we ensure the highest possible sustainability quality of our assets for investors. In addition, our sustainability selection criteria are not only applied to the existing portfolio, but they will also systematically be applied to all new business. Hence, our sustainable product portfolio will increase naturally. It is therefore fair to say that we have established the infrastructure needed to integrate the stringent EU Taxonomy standards in our lending activities as well. This is an important first step towards a complete transition in all business processes. After final publication of the Taxonomy Regulation and further assessment, we will be able to include additional portfolios of the bank in the same way. This means that future growth is already built into our concept.

„All eligible green loans are already fully compliant with the EU Taxonomy. We are applying current best-practice market standards and will continuously adapt to new developments. This way we ensure the highest possible sustainability quality of our assets for investors.”

Petra Sandner
Chief Sustainability Officer at Helaba

How does Helaba support the transition process of its customers towards sustainability?

This is one of our main priorities. We see a clear increase in demand for both, sustainable products and corresponding advisory services. Consequently, we are currently developing new ESG-related asset and liability products in collaboration with various divisions. At the same time, we are intensifying our advisory services regarding new regulatory requirements. Helaba wants to play an active role in shaping the transition of the economy and the financial service industry towards sustainability.

The same is true for the entire Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe, which we form part of. There are good reasons, why Helaba, Frankfurter Sparkasse and Frankfurter Bankgesellschaft, together with 172 savings banks and other S-Group affiliated companies, have signed the "Voluntary commitment to climate-friendly and sustainable business practices". With this statement, we have committed ourselves to reducing the CO2 emissions of our own operations to zero by 2035 at the latest, to aligning our credit products and our own investments towards climate targets and to supporting our customers in the sustainable transformation of the economy.

„Helaba wants to play an active role in shaping the transition of the economy and the financial service industry towards sustainability.“

Petra Sandner
Chief Sustainability Officer at Helaba

Petra Sandner, Chief Sustainability Officer at Helaba
Petra Sandner, Chief Sustainability Officer at Helaba

Sustainability

We regard it as our cor­por­ate duty to take re­sponsi­bility for the pre­serva­tion of our natural en­viron­ment, the wel­fare of our society and the lives of cur­rent and future gen­era­tions.

Relevant documents

For more detailed information on Helaba's Green Bonds, please refer to the following downloads.

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