Sustainability is a broad policy and ethical concept that is commonly considered to have three dimensions: the environmental, economic and social dimension. It stresses intergenerational equity. The concept can be used to guide decisions at all scales: at the global, national and individual consumer level scale.
Pinsent Masons LLP has advised University College London on its debut issue of £300m 1.625% sustainability bonds due 2061 – the first publicly listed sustainability bonds in the higher education sector.
The bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody’s and were priced at a spread of 0.50% over the relevant reference gilt.
Pinsent Masons is an international law firm which specialises in the energy, infrastructure, financial services, real estate and advanced manufacturing and technology sectors. The firm ranks among the top hundred law firms in the world by turnover.
UCL will allocate an amount equivalent to the net proceeds of the bonds to the acquisition, financing, or refinancing of new or existing eligible sustainable projects in accordance with its sustainability finance framework.
The team at Pinsent Masons was led by debt capital markets and sustainability bond finance expert Alexis Hayworth, with governance advice from partner and higher education expert Gayle Ditchburn and assistance from higher education finance solicitor Katy McBride.
Commenting on this, Alexis Hayworth said: “We are delighted to have advised on UCL’s debut sustainability bond, which showcases the strength and depth of Pinsent Masons’ higher education finance practice.
It is great that we are seeing higher education providers positively embrace sustainability products and we anticipate this trend continuing within the sector given the focus on the environment across campuses and the momentum of ESG as an asset class in the market this year.”
Commenting on the issue, Dr Michael Spence, UCL President & Provost, said: “We are delighted by the success of this issue, and by the strong support shown by investors in UCL’s history and future. I am particularly proud that this is the sector’s first Sustainability Bond.
It demonstrates our deep commitment to sustainability as an organisation and to addressing the global impact of climate change through our world-leading research.”