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SEB has updated its framework for green bonds

SEB has updated its framework for green bonds. The framework is broadly aligned with the EU Taxonomy and also opens up for lending in new areas such as biodiversity, transition to a circular economy and climate change adaptation.

“This is a framework that is in line with how our customers think and it supports our strategic goal to increase the share of sustainability-related financing,” says Hans Beyer, Chief Sustainability Officer.

In 2016 SEB established a framework for issuing green bonds and in connection with this raised 500 million euros which is being used to finance a pool of green loans.

At the time, the pool included green loans worth 12 billion kronor. Today SEB’s portfolio of green loans has grown to 29 billion kronor (in accordance with the updated framework).

“Over time the ambition is to issue more in pace with the pool’s growth,” says Johan Nyberg, responsible for financing and liquidity management in Group Treasury.

Updated framework broadly aligned with the taxonomy

The green bond framework has now been updated and is broadly aligned with the EU taxonomy. SEB’s customers, which are mainly in the EU, will for regulatory reasons need to report how large a share of their activities are in line with the taxonomy which hence will be a natural reference point for what is green or not.

SEB’s framework deviates from the taxonomy on a few points, however. To begin with, the bank's green framework refers to the accepted international certification standards for sustainable forestry, FSC and PFSC. SEB has chosen to adhere to these internationally recognized standards that are used by a vast majority of actors and that were also used in the bank’s previous framework

Another deviation from the taxonomy pertains to cars, where the EU’s position is that some hybrid vehicles are to be classified as green until 2025. Thereafter zero emissions will apply. On this point, in line with the customers’ views SEB has set the bar higher than the taxonomy and already now only approve fully fossil-free vehicles as green.

Covers more areas

The green framework has also been expanded to more categories compared to 2016. This means that loans for projects in support of biodiversity, transition to a circular economy and climate change adaptation also can be included in the pool of green loans that are financed by the bond.

SEB has received an independent external assessment of the framework from Cicero Shades of Green, which classifies the framework as “medium green”.

Read more about the framework here SEB's green bonds | SEB (sebgroup.com)