Major Paris loan goes green

Ivanhoé Cambridge and Natixis Assurances obtain Europe’s first Climate Bond Certified label for a €480m debt facility to fund the development of the DUO towers.

Ivanhoé Cambridge and Natixis Assurances, partners in the DUO development project in Paris, have gained the Climate Bond Certified label for the €480 million loan that is financing the construction of the mixed-use towers.

The certification makes this Europe’s first green commercial real estate loan accredited by the not-for-profit Climate Bonds Initiative.

The loan was provided last November by a banking syndicate consisting of BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank, La Banque Postale, Natixis and Banque Européenne du Crédit Mutuel, represented by Crédit Agricole as agent.

To obtain the CBI certification, sustainability research firm Oekom verified that DUO met the standard for low-carbon commercial buildings and established the structure for reporting the monitoring of environmental certifications, energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Ivanhoé Cambridge mandated Natixis to conduct the certification process as the bank seeks to play a dynamic role in the emerging green lending market.

“This benchmark reflects the ambition of our new strategic plan to become a major player in green finance,” said Louis Douady, head of environmental and social responsibility at Natixis.

“We are excited to be the first to obtain a commercial real estate loan in Europe certified green by CBI, making us part of the movement for responsible financing in our industry,” said Nathalie Palladitcheff, president at Ivanhoé Cambridge.

Other real estate lenders have also made attempts to tap the European green lending market. In the UK, Lloyds has issued around £900 million (€1 billion) of sustainable loans through its Green Lending Initiative, designed to subsidise loan-margin discounts of up to 20 basis points for borrowers that commit to energy-efficiency targets on the commercial properties underlying the loans. The scheme’s most recent financings in the UK have funded science parks, pubs and developments.

In the capital markets, the Climate Bonds Initiative reports that $156.7 billion of green bonds were issued during 2017, with $250 billion forecast for this year.