Danone announced recently the successful launch of a €300 million bond to finance and refinance projects that include positive social impacts. This innovative Social Bond is the first to be issued by a multinational aligned with the new Social Bond Principles, as set out in June 2017 by the International Capital Market Association.
A few weeks after the integration of ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) criteria in the payable margin of its €2bn syndicated loan, this pioneering bond issuance continues to support Danone’s long-term ambition to leading the way to creating and sharing sustainable value. It attracted significant appetite from investors focused on ESG and was subscribed at attractive market conditions.
Proceeds will be allocated to projects promoting positive social impact on Danone’s stakeholders, including:
- Suppliers and agricultural partners by supporting responsible farming and agriculture. The company is strongly committed to supporting farmers and dairy producers at a local level, for instance in the U.S. where Danone pledged to develop a non-GMO offer;
- Communities: Danone has been pioneering in social inclusiveness through funds supporting local projects dedicated to empowering communities and social entrepreneurs;
- People with specific nutritional needs, through medical nutrition research in areas including pediatric neuro-disabilities and adult malnutrition and oncology. Danone provides tailored nutritional solutions to patients around the world;
- Healthy foods entrepreneurship, by financing investments in small and medium size enterprises in the health and nutrition sector. Since its launch in 2016, Danone Manifesto Ventures, for example, has invested in a number of companies bringing unique concepts and business models that help drive forward the Food Revolution;
- Employees, with enhanced employee health care coverage and extended maternity, parental leave and post-natal care. Danone’s new Parental Policy, to be rolled out globally by 2020, has been recognized by UN Women, the global champion for gender equality, which has named Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber as a HeForShe Thematic Champion.
Cécile Cabanis, Chief Financial Officer, said: “By issuing this social bond, Danone has made another step in leading the way in creating and sharing sustainable value for all stakeholders. Creating positive impact on our ecosystem is a key enabler to drive sustainable value. And I’m very proud that after integrating ESG criteria in our €2bn syndicated loan, we are now the first multinational to issue a social bond under new social bond principles. I would also like to thank all the teams and partners that have made this possible. This bond issuance has attracted significant interest from ESG Investors, as we continue our journey embracing the Food Revolution supported by our ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision.“
The bond issue consists of a €300 million euro-denominated senior note with a 7-year maturity and offering a 1.00% coupon, due March 2025. The settlement is expected to take place on March 26, 2018 and the bond will be listed on Euronext Paris.
Vigeo Eiris, a leading ESG rating agency, has delivered an independent second opinion on the sustainability credentials and management of this social bond. The projects selected and the allocation process will be overseen by Danone’s Sustainability Integration Committee. Allocation of the proceeds will be annually audited until completed and yearly update on the social impacts of investments will be provided to the investors