Telecom giant Verizon announced today that it is issuing its second $1 billion green bond, with proceeds expected to be used primarily for long-term renewable energy purchase agreements. The offering comes shortly after Verizon announced that it had completed the allocation of the nearly $1 billion raised in its first green bond issue last year. The company also stated that the lead underwriters of the offering included two minority-owned investment banks.
Matt Ellis, Verizon’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said:
“Verizon’s second green bond affirms our commitment to take responsibility for protecting the environment, and Verizon remains the only U.S. telecommunications company to have completed a Green Bond. While Verizon has had a long history of partnering with diversity firms on capital market transactions, today marks an important milestone as we partner with minority- and women-owned firms as lead underwriters to execute such an important transaction for Verizon. Verizon is very committed to promoting racial equity across all spectrums, including in the capital markets. We hope that other issuers follow our lead and take action to address structural inequity and economic disparity faced by African-American and other minority- and women-owned businesses.”
African-American-owned investment banking firms, Loop Capital Markets and Siebert Williams Shank served as lead underwriters of the deal, along with BofA Securities and Citigroup.
Jim Reynolds, Chairman and CEO, Loop Capital Markets, said:
“I applaud the bold actions of Verizon’s Board and management to live out the company’s ESG values through this second Green Bond issuance, but also through the company’s business diversity efforts by including Loop Capital Markets, an African-American-owned investment bank, as a joint bookrunner on the transaction. Verizon recognizes that minority-owned firms attract the most diverse talent on Wall Street, and their support of that is evident in this bond transaction.”
Chris Williams, Chairman of the Board of Siebert Williams Shank, said:
“Verizon’s $1 billion Green Bond issuance, is the most recent example of the company’s longstanding holistic approach to ESG as it relates to the sustainable environment and the recognition of the social value of diversity and inclusion. Notably, Verizon’s decision to allocate equal responsibility and compensation to each of the minority-owned, and global bank underwriters, is evidence of the company’s commitment to providing meaningful economic opportunity on the basis of merit and equity.”
Last month, Verizon announced the completion of the allocation of funds from its 2019 green bond offerings, with nearly two thirds of the proceeds going towards renewable energy, and more than $300 million allocated to green buildings.
For the new offering, most of the proceeds will be allocated to long-term renewable energy purchase agreements which support the construction of solar and wind facilities that will bring new renewable energy to the grids that power the company’s networks, supporting the transition to a greener grid. Verizon stated that it has set two ambitious goals: to source or generate renewable energy equivalent to 50% of its total annual electricity consumption by 2025 and be carbon neutral in its operations by 2035.
John Utendahl, Vice Chairman of Bank of America, said:
“By awarding Siebert Williams Shank and Loop Capital Markets equal leadership roles alongside large financial institutions, Verizon is sending a strong message about its commitment to equality and financial empowerment and is paving the way for other Fortune 500 issuers to do the same. This aligns with Bank of America’s long-standing commitment to the people and communities it serves and our commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. Verizon is a leader in ESG issuance and we look forward to partnering with them on future transactions.”
Ray McGuire, Vice Chairman of Citigroup, said:
“We congratulate Verizon for taking a leadership role in establishing new and highly achievable benchmarks for diversity and inclusion. With today’s transaction, Verizon sends a powerful message of progress towards equal economic opportunity by engaging minority-owned investment banks Loop Capital Markets and Siebert Williams Shank on an equal basis with Citi and BofA. Verizon’s leadership in Green Bonds, where proceeds are used to fund important initiatives for a healthier, cleaner future, should inspire companies in the United States and globally to pursue similar objectives. We thank Verizon for its leadership and I am encouraged that Verizon shares Citi’s values and an unwavering commitment to diversity, inclusion and economic opportunity.”