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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

News and awards

31 March 2021

Global (all regions)

Clifford Chance has been named Law Firm of the Year at the Environmental Finance Bond Awards 2021. The firm has been recognised for its track record of advising on the most innovative and cutting-edge sustainability bond transactions. Over the past year we have led the way on COVID-19 response bonds and other ESG related transactions while reinforcing our commitment to environment related work by launching our ESG taskforce, to help our clients navigate and accelerate the global shift towards more sustainable businesses and societies.

Global Financial Markets partner Clare Burgess said: "Our sustainable bond practice truly spans the globe and it is fantastic that the work of the whole team has been recognised with this award.  We are particularly pleased as is judged by investors - our clients and those that see us in the market – and that beyond our work on innovative transactions, our roles within numerous industry groups to drive progress and share best practice has been highlighted."

We are also proud to have advised on two award-winning transactions. The winning Social bond of the year – Sovereign for the Republic of Guatemala was Central America and the Caribbean’s first social bond and finances social projects related to Guatemala’s Covid-19 prevention, containment and mitigation efforts, aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for zero hunger, good health and wellbeing and quality education. Environmental Finance praised the bond's broad impact categories and detailed impact reporting, while noting it could be a template transaction for other emerging market sovereigns and agreed that as the first sovereign bond of its kind in the region it may attract other issuers.

“We are delighted to be recognised for this prestigious award for what was a ground-breaking transaction in so many ways. We are proud to have worked collaboratively with the Bank of America ESG and DCM teams to assist the Republic of Guatemala on this novel transaction, making it the first Latin American country to include Covid-19 response efforts among other eligible social projects in the use of the proceeds of a sovereign social bond issuance,” said partner Hugo Triaca, who led the Clifford Chance team advising on this issuance.

 We also advised on the Green bond of the year in the local authority/municipality category, for MuniFin, being a long-standing advisor on their debt programme. They have been on a sustainable finance drive, and this issuance takes their euro green bond balance to an impressive €2 billion.

Senior Partner Jeroen Ouwehand comments, "We are very proud of our accomplishments in this area over the past year. The time to act for a more sustainable future is now, and I am proud to say that Clifford Chance is leading the way in the legal industry and for our clients."

Some of our highlight work encompassing across green, social and sustainable bond issuances includes:

  • Nordic Investment Bank on its EUR1bn Covid-19 response bond. The first Covid-19 targeted bond to come to market. The proceeds will finance projects that alleviate the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in NIB’s member countries.
  • Council of Europe Development Bank EUR500m Social Inclusion bonds due April 2027. In line with the CEB's commitment to support member countries affected by COVID-19, the proceeds will finance or refinance loans to MSMEs for the creation and preservation of viable jobs and expenditures related to the health sector.
  • Klabin S.A. on its issuance of US$500m sustainability-linked Notes. Klabin was an early starter in sustainability-related financings. We advised them in 2017 when the company issued its first USD500m green bonds.
  • New World Development Company Limited's issuance of USD200m Sustainability-Linked Notes, the first US dollar sustainability-linked bond by a real estate company.
  • Africa Finance Corporation's green bond, with proceeds allocated to projects such as the Djibouti Wind Farm and Singrobo Hydro Dam in Cote d'Ivoire.
  • LafargeHolcim on EUR850 million sustainability-linked bonds – the first of its kind from the building industry. The bond commits LafargeHolcim to reach its target of 475 kg net CO2 per ton of cementitious material by 2030.
  • Sovereign green bonds for The Kingdom of Sweden, the Republic of Poland (following advising on their debut green bond – the first of any sovereign) and The Republic of Hungary. We have also recently been appointed to advise on the first UK green gilt.