September 28, 2020

ADB Supports Thailand’s Green, Social, and Sustainability Bonds for COVID-19 Recovery

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting the Government of Thailand in designing, issuing, and monitoring innovative capital market initiatives as part of the country’s recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in a manner aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

ADB’s technical assistance through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) includes bond framework development and external reviews to help Thailand’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) and National Housing Authority (NHA) design green, social, and sustainability bonds based on global and ASEAN standards and best practices. ADB is also helping the government develop internal systems to monitor the use of bond proceeds and prepare post-issuance reports. These measures will help lay the groundwork for more green, social, and sustainability bond issuances.

The initiatives include support for Thailand’s first sustainability bond, a first-of-a-kind issuance by a sovereign in Southeast Asia. Issued by MOF’s Public Debt Management Office in two tranches totaling THB30 billion (about $964 million) on 13–14 August, the bond was oversubscribed three times, and its proceeds will be used to finance green infrastructure through the Mass Rapid Transit Orange Line (East) Project. It will also fund social impact projects supporting the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, such as public health measures, job creation through small and medium-sized enterprises, and local public infrastructure development with social and environmental benefits.

ADB also supported the NHA’s maiden social bond, which was issued on 23 September in three tranches totaling THB6.8 billion. It is among the first social bonds issued by a state-owned enterprise in Southeast Asia. The bond will finance affordable housing in Thailand and promote sustainable communities. Other green and sustainability bonds are in development.

“We are delighted to support these pioneering initiatives by the Government of Thailand,” said Country Director of ADB Thailand Resident Mission Hideaki Iwasaki. “These social and sustainability bonds will help the country recover from COVID-19 by focusing on long-term, green, and inclusive infrastructure.”

“As countries face an increasing financing gap for climate-resilient infrastructure, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential for governments to tap into domestic and global capital markets with green and sustainability bonds,” said ACGF Unit Head Anouj Mehta.

ADB is preparing a new country partnership strategy to support Thailand’s economic recovery with a pipeline of green and climate-resilient infrastructure projects. The strategy will also focus on rebuilding regional cooperation through the Greater Mekong Subregion program and other platforms.

ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department has been supporting green finance development in Thailand. Projects include a THB5 billion purchase of B.Grimm Power Public Company Limited’s initial 5-year and 7-year green bonds in 2018. These were the first certified climate bonds to be issued in Thailand. ADB purchased a THB3 billion tranche within Energy Absolute Public Company Limited’s first green bond issuance of THB10 billion in 2019.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.