Reed Smith Client Alerts

Sustainability-linked bonds, or SLBs, are debt instruments structured with the issuer’s achievement of sustainability-related targets built in. Unlike so-called “green bonds” or straight “sustainability bonds,” the use of proceeds from an SLB are not typically required to be applied to any particular environmentally-conscious purpose; however, the issuer will covenant to achieve stated sustainability performance targets. Shipping companies can utilize SLBs to creatively engage in balance sheet management, or finance capital expenditures, while at the same time demonstrating their commitment to de-carbonization and ESG principles.

Authors: Robert Lustrin

IMO targets for emissions reductions

All eyes in the shipping industry are fixed on de-carbonization and environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns. Mileposts have been set by the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), requiring reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from shipping worldwide from 2008 levels by at least 40 percent by 2030, and at least 70 percent by 2050.1 In addition, to measure the energy efficiency and carbon footprint of ships, shipowners will need to calculate (among other measures) efficiency and carbon emission indexes, enabling the IMO, other government regulators and industry participants to rate ships as part of an overall carbon emissions compliance program.

With the COP26 climate conference currently underway among nations that signed the UN convention on climate change, many nations are setting targets for net zero carbon emissions, led by the United States and the European Union, which have indicated their intention to achieve this goal by 2050.2 The MEPC will be meeting at the end of this month (November 2021), which may result in further refinements to the IMO’s own 2050 target or the implementation of interim targets. It has also been reported that the Poseidon Principles initiative may amend its own zero emissions target date to 2050 in light of the results of COP26 and forthcoming pronouncements of the MEPC.3