NAB Launches Gender Equality Social Bond
14 March 2017 at 11:30 am
The National Australia Bank has announced a new bond to support Australian organisations that champion gender equality in the workplace.
Called an Australian first, the NAB Social Bond (Gender Equality) also gives institutional investors the option to put their money towards addressing pressing social issues.
NAB’s acting chief customer officer of corporate and institutional banking, Cathryn Carver, said the bond would raise awareness of standards needed across corporate Australia to foster gender equality.
“NAB is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive culture because we know it leads to better outcomes,” Carver said.
“[The recent] parity report from Chief Executive Women and Bain & Company showed that 60 per cent of men were promoted twice or more in the past five years compared with only 41 per cent of women, and that gap only increases with seniority.
“There is clearly a lot of work to be done to help women find more equal footing in the workplace.”
NAB’s Eva Zileli said, through the bond, institutional investors could finance or refinance organisations with a demonstrated commitment to workplace gender equality.
“It’s essentially loans that have been made to corporates that have the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s citation as employers of choice for gender equality,” Zileli told Pro Bono News.
“So we’re using the proceeds to refinance loans made to entities that are employers of choice for gender equality per the government agency, so it’s not a determination NAB’s making, but we’re using this government citation as the first filter for the one’s who make it into the pool.
“The second filter is a negative one, so we’re excluding any businesses involved in major environmental, social or governance controversies as well as industries whose primary activities involve, for example, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, military weapons, fossil fuels etc.”
The organisations included in the initial portfolio are Lend Lease, Mirvac, Stockland, Monash University, Australian Catholic University, PwC, KPMG Australia, King & Wood Mallesons, Clayton Utz, Gilbert + Tobin, Minter Ellison, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Ashurst Australia and Henry Davis York.
Zileli, the only female head of group funding at any of the big four banks, said it was important for NAB to champion gender equality in the workplace.
“We’re hoping this demonstrates NAB’s commitment to standing up and being accountable when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, and really standing behind, in a positive way, companies that do promote gender equality,” she said.
She said the gender equality bond formed part of NAB’s suite of socially responsible investments.
“Essentially, NAB’s looking to build its fleet of debt securities around the SROI space, so we have a commitment to sustainability agenda in general,” she said.
“We were the first major bank to issue a climate change agenda in December 2014. We followed that up [recently] with a Euro green bond.
“This is an extension of that agenda, [we’re] now looking at our third social bond, and it’s really to hopefully provide an alternative for socially responsible investors to invest in a debt security that not only gives them the benefit of NAB’s credit rating… but also enables them to invest in a security that offers a social return as well.
“So it’s really aligned to NAB’s agenda of doing good in the community and contributing to the communities in which we do business.”
It is expected that the bond will be formally launched this week.