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Apple hits the market with largest ever US corporate green bond

A record green issue amid wider $12bn bond plan

Tech giant Apple has launched its first-ever green bond and the largest US corporate green bond to date with a $1.5bn (€1.3bn) seven-year issue as part of a $12bn nine-part bond sale to fund its share buyback programme.

Observers said it showed a “huge shift” in the US corporate market for green bonds.

Sean Kidney, CEO and co-founder of the Climate Bonds Initiative industry group, said: “A US record green bond by a global tech brand, with pre and post issuance consistent with the Climate Bonds Standard sends a big signal to corporate America.”

The new issue eclipses previous US corporate green bonds. The first green bond issued by a US company was by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2013 when it launched a $500m bond. Other large US corporate issues those from renewable energy firm Terraform.

Globally, there have been $11.5bn in green bonds issued in 2016 to date, including Apple’s, according to data from the Climate Bonds Initiative.The proceeds from Apple’s green bond will be used for environmentally friendly projects such as renewable energy, energy efficient buildings and recycling.

The underwriters for the bond sale include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Securities and J.P. Morgan according to an SEC filing.

CNBC reports that the green bond is likely part of Apple’s goal to only use renewable energy to power all its offices, shops and data centres.

Apple says it is powering 100% of its operations in China and the US, and more than 87% of its worldwide operations, with renewable energy.

It is also planning to build a new Apple campus in Cupertino, California that it says will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

In its bond prospectus the computer giant says the green bond – written in green text – will adhere to the Green Bond Principles, the set of voluntary, guidelines that recommend transparency and disclosure.