Social bonds, historically a small part of the broader sustainable-finance market, have grown significantly, led by multi-lateral organisations and banks.
“I think what's interesting about these bonds in particular is that if you look at green bonds, it has been really a climate discussion,” Saris Chow said. “But this [pandemic] has really brought that whole social discussion to the fore in terms of how we combat the inequality and reduce poverty.”
In New Zealand, the country’s largest issuer of sustainable bonds is government housing provider Kāinga Ora, with its wellbeing bond programme. This is expected to continue, according to Spicer, as the agency steps up its building program in response to increased demand for social housing.
The pandemic is having a significant impact on the public’s home and professional lives. How that ultimately will affect energy demand, government policy and commercial investment around infrastructure and commercial development remains to be seen.
“It will be interesting to see the long term implications of that come out of this pandemic in terms of how we work and whether that will reduce energy demand further,” Saris Chow said.
While the pandemic has some way to play out, many are rethinking long-held economic, business and social models.
“I'm hopeful that this experience will see some innovative thinking go into the way we do business, the way we operate, as well as how we recover economically from the setback,” Spicer said.
“I think there is a silver lining there. And I think as a bank [ANZ is] in a good position to try and help facilitate that discussion and find a way forward.”
You can hear more on the podcast above.
Sharon Klyne is an Associate Director, Communications at ANZ Institutional