BBVA and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced the launch of Colombia's first blue bond at the 2023 Banking Convention in Cartagena.
The first tranche is for $50 million, which will be used to support initiatives related to the protection of the country's water resources. The operation, subject to IFC board approval, seeks to finance projects for the construction of water and sewage treatment plants, ocean preservation, and the protection of lakes, moorlands, and mangroves.
“At BBVA, we are committed to helping the country meet the ambitious environmental goals it has set for itself, and in this regard, we seek to permanently promote sustainable financing. We are happy to be the first financial institution in Colombia to join this blue bond initiative, and we know that this is a commitment to the long term and to the environmental development of Colombia. We thank IFC for its support and guidance in this process,” said Mario Pardo, executive president of BBVA in Colombia.
Blue bonds are debt issues aimed at preserving and protecting aquatic biodiversity. This operation, subject to the approval of the IFC board, seeks, through the mobilization of public and private capital, to promote projects that will have a favorable impact on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the blue economy, which includes the conservation of the sustainable use, management and protection of marine resources.
Elizabeth Martinez Marcano, IFC’s manager for the Andean Region, said, “Since 2020, IFC has globally provided more than $1 billion in loans and blue bonds to financial institutions and private sector companies for water management, ocean plastic pollution reduction and marine ecosystem restoration. Today, IFC reaffirms its commitment to accelerate the momentum of the blue economy in Colombia and Latin America”.
Pardo meanwhile commented that “in the last five years BBVA has been increasing resources for green finance, committed to building a more sustainable future. Last year we mobilized resources for 3.3 billion pesos, 2.2 billion pesos of which were allocated to environmental impact programs, benefiting more than 3,000 clients. This year, between January and April, that figure already amounts to 400 billion pesos. Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world. This equals millions of hectares of ecosystems that require conservation upon which depend the generation of jobs for agriculture, tourism and increased productivity in the country, which drives BBVA's commitment to sustainability”.
The executive assured that this year they expect to reach 4.6 trillion pesos in sustainable financing, which represents a 40% growth compared to 2022. Between January and April 2023, 1.6 trillion pesos have already been raised.