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Green Bonds Help Fix Shopping Centres And The Planet At The Same Time

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Green Bonds Help Fix Shopping Centres And The Planet At The Same Time
QIC's Canberra Centre

An Australian institutional investor has pulled off a unique financing deal which will allow it to upgrade its shopping centre portfolio and make it more sustainable.

The Queensland Investment Corp.’s real estate division said it raised A$300M (£169M, $204M) through a green bond where the proceeds would be used to finance the upgrading of its Australian shopping centres. The QIC said it had received demand amounting to $1.5B for the bond sale.

The upgrades will include intelligent automation of plant and equipment, and installation of LED lighting, which will reduce the running cost of its centres as well as improve the environmental impact.

“We have been on a pathway of environmental performance enhancement as we continue to evolve our assets into retail-led, mixed-use destinations,” QIC Global Real Estate Managing Director Michael O’Brien said.

The investor owns $15B of Australian shopping centres. It said this was the world’s first Climate Bonds-certified debt issued by a retail property owner.

The green bond market is booming, Moody’s said in a report this week. In the second quarter of this year $66.6B of bonds were sold, and the ratings agency said issuance would likely surpass $200B this year. 

In a real estate sense, green bonds and green loans are debt that can only be accessed by sustainable buildings or development schemes, and often reward the borrower with lower rates if certain environmental targets are met.