Amazon raises $1bn sustainable bond to invest in low-carbon projects

The proceeds will be spent on renewable energy, clean transportation, sustainable buildings and affordable housing, the company said

Solar panels  in front of an Amazon distribution centre in Germany. The company's new bond is part of its Sustainable Bond Framework, which aims to advance new technology that 'decarbonises and preserves the natural world'. Reuters
Solar panels  in front of an Amazon distribution centre in Germany. The company's new bond is part of its Sustainable Bond Framework, which aims to advance new technology that 'decarbonises and preserves the natural world'. Reuters

Amazon issued its first sustainability bond, raising $1 billion to invest in projects that could help to reduce carbon emissions around the world.

The proceeds will be largely used to fund projects in renewable energy, clean transport, sustainable buildings, cheap housing and socioeconomic advancement and empowerment, the company said.

Proceeds from sustainability bonds are used to finance or refinance a mix of green and social initiatives.

“Sustainability bonds enable investors to join us in tackling critical social and environmental issues. We are committed to using our scale for good,” the company said in a blog.

“Amazon continues to stimulate investment in the development of green technology and low-carbon products and services that will enable companies of all sizes to decarbonise their operations.”

Sustainable finance has become popular over the past year as some of the world's biggest companies and fund managers commit to environmental, social and governance policies in an effort to reduce emissions.

The issuance of sustainable finance bonds doubled last year to a record $554.3bn, according to Refinitiv data.

Demand surged in every quarter last year, from less than $70bn in the first three months to $180bn in the October-December period. It marked the highest quarterly total since records began in 2015.

Amazon's new bond is part of its Sustainable Bond Framework, which aims to advance new technology that “decarbonises and preserves the natural world”, the company said.

However, the money raised through the sustainability bond is only 5.4 per cent of $18.5bn of debt the company issued on Monday, according to the Financial Times and Bloomberg.

The company took advantage of the low interest rate environment and raised the debt through bonds of eight different maturities, ranging from two to 40 years, according to the reports.

In October 2019, the e-commerce company also co-founded the Climate Pledge to encourage organisations to achieve net-zero annual carbon emissions by 2040, a decade before the Paris Agreement’s 2050 deadline.

Amazon, which recorded strong growth as the Covid-19 pandemic boosted online shopping globally, last week posted an annual increase of 44 per cent in first quarter revenue to $108.5bn.

This was the second consecutive quarter of sales of more than $100bn. Net profit more than tripled to $8.1bn.

The company had $33.8bn in cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter.

Updated: May 11, 2021 02:44 PM

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