Adani, SBI among trendsetters as green financing picks up the pace in post-pandemic India

Green financing in post-pandemic India takes precedence as players like ReNew Power, Adani and SBI look to explore new opportunities

Ahmedabad, November 5: A new form of financing has taken over in the post-pandemic world. Green financing has become the ‘next big thing’, attracting the attention of investors across the globe. The temporary disruption of the economy has revamped its outlook as terms like sustainability become more prevalent.

Data from the Economic Survey 2019-20 revealed India to be the second-largest emerging green market. Transactions worth $10.3 billion were recorded in the first half of 2019 alone, highlighting the fast pace at which companies are taking to green investment. This is evident in the way heavyweights like Reliance, Tata, Adani, SBI, ReNew Energy, etc., are adopting green financing as part of their business practices. The ensuing paradigm shift is expected to open new opportunities worth $3.1 trillion to investors and companies alike.

Green financing is not new to India. Numerous green bonds and similar fund raising strategies have been employed by both companies and banks in the past. The historic importance of banks in India’s economic growth has, however, put the onus on them to increase their contributions towards the country’s sustainable growth. Dinesh Khara, Chairman, State Bank of India (SBI), said that the banking sector needs to accelerate green lending. Emphasizing the need to sensitize India’s financial sector to the importance and benefits of green finance, Khara pushed for a formal definition of green finance which would help design effective policy regulations for the green sectors.

Green bonds have become a firm favourite for entities looking to finance their renewable projects and garnered a lot of traction in the recent past. ReNew Power, Adani, SBI, IDBI, Axis Bank and many more players have already issued green bonds worth millions. Adani, for example, raised a whopping USD750 million to finance the construction of its renewables projects. With over 11GW in its pipeline, Adani is one of the leading renewables company in India. The company has already overhauled its set target of 25GW renewables capacity this year even as it aims to become the world’s largest renewables company by 2030.

SBI was also one the many Indian banks that offered green bonds. It listed green bonds worth $100 million on India INX’s Global Securities Market Green Platform in April this year, having already listed its maiden green bond issuance of $650 million on the same platform earlier. Green bonds issued by financial institutions provide a valuable addition to the ones issued by companies like Adani. Loans are another way SBI is approaching the subject of green finance. The lender has already adopted new policies that will ensure borrowers are keeping up with the latest ESG practices. For example, loans exceeding Rs.50 crores would be issued to a borrower only after an evaluation on the basis of various ESG parameters.

Although the sudden thrust towards green financing is a huge positive, it is not without its own challenges. Studies show that while assets under ESG funds have grown by 27 per cent in Q1 2020, a massive funding gap still exists. Bridging this gap will be paramount to unlocking new avenues for growth. What remains to be seen is if stakeholders like Adani and SBI are willing to go all out and accelerate India’s transition to a truly green economy.

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