Officials of Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) aim to grow their sustainable financing loans by 20 percent from the current PHP130 billion by next year.
During the launch of the bank’s sustainable finance development program, BPI Business Banking head Junie Veloso said they want loans for sustainable projects to account for half of their loans book.
But Veloso said since sustainable projects are just starting, there are limited projects being submitted for financing.
“Our problem is less our desire to grow it but actually the availability of projects or financeable projects,” he said.
He added awareness on these kinds of projects is still low in the Philippines and in Asia compared to Europe.
BPI Chief Financial Officer Maria Theresa Marcial said appreciation for this kind of project financing is low in the country since it is still new unlike in Europe where the demand is high.
She said take-up on green bonds in Europe is at par as those with regular debt papers.
“There is a minimal distinction on whether we issue a green bond or not the regular securities,” she added.
Marcial said it is not cheaper to issue a green bond compared to regular bonds since this entails a lot of framework and assessment of the projects.
She, however, is optimistic that local investors will eventually embrace sustainable financing as investors become more knowledgeable on this topic.
Jo Ann Eala, BPI Vice President for Sustainable Energy Finance, said companies are increasingly becoming more aware of green financing as regulators push for this.
“It does help a lot that you have a central bank and a SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) that are engaged in sustainability,” she added. (PNA)