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MOL 1st Japanese Firm to Issue Green Bonds Targeting Individual Investors

Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) has unveiled a plan to issue green bonds through a public offering in the country’s domestic market.

To foster a deeper understanding of the MOL Group’s environmental initiatives among stakeholders, the bonds are targeted to both institutional and individual investors. This is the first time a company in Japan has issued green bonds aimed at individual investors, as explained by MOL.

The company’s 20th and 21st series unsecured corporate bonds are expected to be issued in August and September 2018, respectively.

The issued amount of each of the two series of bonds is JPY 5 billion (around USD 45 million). As informed, the funds will be used for MOL’s green projects including ballast water treatment systems, SOx scrubbers, LNG-fueled vessels, an LNG bunkering vessel, a new propeller boss cap fins (PBCF) and the Wind Challenger plan, a research project aimed at reducing vessels’ fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by maximizing the use of wind power.

In addition, MOL acquired a second opinion about eligibility from an organization evaluating and accrediting the ESG performance, Vigeo Eiris of France, to secure eligibility and transparency of the green bonds and increase their appeal to investors.

Green bonds are used to raise funds for businesses aimed at protecting and improving the environment. MOL established the MOL Group Environmental Vision 2030 in April 2017 and designated environment-related and emission-free businesses as core activities in its “Rolling Plan 2018” management plan.

The MOL Group also views responses to stricter environmental regulations and activities to reduce its environmental impact as opportunities to create new businesses and diversify its business portfolio, and address new challenges in technical innovation.

Earlier this year, another Japanese carrier, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), offered green bonds within the domestic market, becoming the world’s first shipping company to issue labeled green bonds in the sector.