Google’s parent company Alphabet announced today that the issuance of $5.75 billion of sustainability bonds, the largest ever of its kind. The issue was part of a $10 billion debt offering by the company. The company reported strong demand for the offering, with the issue “significantly oversubscribed,” despite its unprecedented size.
Alphabet stated that the proceeds from the sustainability offering will support investment in both environmental and social initiatives, and that the company hopes that today’s announced issue will help develop the emerging sustainability bond market.
The issuance will likely give a significant boost to the market for sustainability-linked bonds. The market has been growing steadily for years, led primarily by green bonds, which grew 45% to $250 billion of issuance in 2019, but has experienced a sharp drop this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The drop in green bond issuance, however, has been largely offset by an increase in social bonds, often issued this year to help fund COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
According to Alphabet, the funds from the offering will go towards projects focused on 8 sustainability-linked areas, including energy efficiency, clean energy, green buildings, clean transportation, circular economy and design, affordable housing, commitment to racial equity, and support for small business and COVID-19 response.