The City of Sydney has invested in the world’s first independently certified scheme for ‘green’ investments that address climate change through renewable energy, sustainable transport, waste and water projects.
Westpac’s new Green Tailored Deposit Scheme, being launched this week, is associated with green products that support Australia’s efforts to get to a zero-emissions economy.
The City is the first organisation to invest in the scheme, committing $10 million over a five-year term.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore launched the product with Westpac Institutional Bank CEO, Lyn Cobley, today.
“Over the last 14 years, the City of Sydney has been reducing our environmental footprint and investing in sustainability programs to empower residents, businesses and industry,” the Lord Mayor said.
“In line with our robust investment strategy, which allows us to maintain a strong financial position and deliver the high quality, well designed facilities and infrastructure our communities are accustomed to, we have called on our financial partners to create new and sustainable products.
“This is a significant step forward and will allow the City to more responsibly invest Council funds in sustainable projects, while meeting our regulatory obligations.”
The commitment is part of the City’s ongoing efforts to boost its investment in environmentally and socially responsible funds while managing a balanced and diverse financial portfolio to ensure it has future funding available for important projects and services for the local community.
This is in addition to the City’s commitment to its own environmental projects, including one of the largest urban stormwater recycling schemes in Green Square, the largest Tesla battery in metropolitan Sydney at our new, sustainable Alexandra Canal depot, and the ongoing installation of solar panels on City-owned buildings.
The Green Tailored Deposit Scheme meets global benchmarks set by the Climate Bonds Initiative, a not-for-profit organisation with standards used by governments, investors and financial markets to highlight green investments.
Under the scheme, the City’s $10 million investment will only be available for projects that have been certified by the Climate Bonds Initiative, including renewable energy, low-carbon transport, low-carbon intensity emitting buildings, forestry and land rehabilitation, waste and water projects.
Westpac Institutional Bank CEO, Lyn Cobley, said: “This is a great example of Westpac’s customer-driven innovation. The new green tailored deposit delivers an innovative solution for customers seeking an independently certified green investment product.
“Westpac has long recognised that climate change is one of the most significant issues we face as a society. We know it will impact the long-term prosperity of our economy and we are committed to playing a leading role in supporting the transition to net zero emissions”.
Under the Local Government Act, councils in NSW are limited in where they can invest their funds – they are only able to invest in bank deposits or bonds in federal, state or local governments and authorised deposit-taking institutions.
The City first included social and responsible investment criteria in its investment policy and strategy in 2008, and has progressively strengthened this within the limits of the Local Government Act since.
In 2016, Council approved a revised policy that further enhanced the City’s approach to social and responsible investment, including not investing in environmentally harmful activities including coal, gas and oil where possible.
The City regularly meets with its financial institutions to advocate for new investment vehicles and products that will allow it to increase its commitments to social and responsible investment.
The City’s chief financial officer, Bill Carter, said the City would continue to explore investment opportunities like Westpac’s Green Tailored Deposit Scheme.
“The City is proud to be the first to participate in this scheme and take action on climate change through environmentally responsible investments,” Mr Carter said.
“We regularly meet with the banking industry to advocate for sustainable products and investment opportunities, and we are pleased Westpac has responded to a need for this scheme.
“We hope this will kick-start many more green investment opportunities across Australia while demonstrating leadership among local government agencies.”
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