Axis Bank commits to positive climate action and Sustainable Development Goals
Kolkata: Axis Bank, a private sector bank, announced a series of commitments aligned to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), supporting India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
As part of its commitments, the Bank has set a target of incremental lending Rs. 30,000 crore over the next 5 years, under Wholesale Banking towards pertinent sectors included in its Sustainable Financing Framework.
Axis Bank has now become the first financial institution in India to have set up a standalone Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) Committee at the Board level, underscoring the Bank’s strong intent to adopting ESG as a strategic driver for the organization’s plans and performance. The Bank has also established an ESG Steering Committee at the Management level, comprising senior business leaders to champion ESG integration across the organization.
The Bank has announced its commitments ahead of the upcoming 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) at Glasgow, UK from 31 October - 12 November, where the Parties are expected to talk about enhancing their commitments made at COP21 at Paris in 2015.
Commenting on this announcement, Rajesh Dahiya, Executive Director, Axis Bank said, ‘’As a financial institution, we are aware of our responsibility towards helping India move on the path of equitable and sustainable economic growth."
"Over the past two years, we have been working relentlessly on bolstering our holistic strategy, governance, and performance benchmarks around ESG. These commitments are part of our longer term ESG strategy woven around our purpose of ‘Banking that leads to a more inclusive and equitable economy, thriving community and a healthier planet’. We would like to think of this as only the beginning and we shall continue to explore scaling and strengthening our commitments over time.,' Dahiya said.
Recently, the Bank launched its Sustainable Financing Framework that articulates the Bank’s strategy for financing ESG-aligned sectors and defines the project categories that the Bank shall consider to be eligible as ‘Sustainable’.
The Framework has received a Second Party Opinion from Sustainalytics, thus providing the highest level of confidence on its alignment to global sustainable finance best practices.
The Bank has also set up an ESG Working Group towards managing the Bank’s obligations and commitments under the Framework.
In line with its ESG strategy, Axis Bank has successfully raised India’s first Sustainable USD AT1 notes of $ 600 million in the overseas markets on September 1, 2021. With this issuance, India is now only the second jurisdiction in Asia with an ESG AT1 issuance. The offering witnessed an overwhelming response from the investors, especially high- quality real money investors, with the order book being 3.8 times oversubscribed ahead of the Final Pricing Guidance announcement. Global investors, with their participation in this marquee transaction, have demonstrated confidence in the Bank's ability to positively impact India’s socio-economic and environmental landscape.