Verizon Communications Inc. settled its fourth green bond offering of $1 billion, with the net proceeds expected to be allocated entirely toward renewable energy investments. This is the fourth green bond issued by Verizon since 2019, for a total of $4 billion.
Verizon made use of its second green bond, which was issued in 2020, by entering into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with Lightsource bp. This investment enabled the construction of the 173MW Bellflower solar farm near Indianapolis. The project is expected to be operational in 2022 and will be part of university research on the benefits of co-locating pollinator habitat and solar installations.
“Working together, we’re reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation for the overall grid while delivering substantial local economic benefits. Adding initiatives to enhance local biodiversity further multiplies solar’s contribution to preserving our planet for future generations,” said Kevin Smith, CEO of Lightsource bp in the Americas.
In 2021, Verizon deepened its commitment to fostering diversity, inclusion and equity in economic opportunities in the capital markets by including a pledge in its Green Financing Framework to only engage underwriters for its green bond transactions that have established clear and impactful commitments in support of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and/or are a diverse-owned firm or have a core mission of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion.
The company has partnered with BofA Securities and once again three minority- and women-owned firms as lead underwriters for its fourth green bond: Loop Capital Markets, Ramirez & Co., Inc. and Siebert Williams Shank. Verizon reports that it paid over $20 million in underwriting fees to minority- and women-owned firms in 2021 and over $5 million in fees to such firms in 2022 in connection with its fourth green bond.
“We are all very aware of the urgency and need in pursuing sustainable solutions and we are committed to our ESG strategy, knowing there is still a great deal of work ahead of us. It is my hope that Verizon’s leadership will inspire others to take action as well,” said Matt Ellis, Verizon’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.
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