June 19, 2019 – Ahold Delhaize is giving investors a new opportunity to support the company’s growth through health and sustainability. Today we issued our first Sustainability Bond, underscoring our ambition to be the leading sustainable retailer in our markets and highlighting our commitment to help accelerate the transition to sustainable food systems. Megan Hellstedt, VP of Sustainable Retailing, and Miguel Silva Gonzalez, SVP and Treasurer, discuss the new bond – and how it can help us achieve our long-term sustainability goals.
What is a Sustainability Bond?
Miguel: A Sustainability Bond is a bond whose proceeds are exclusively used to finance or refinance projects across the brands of Ahold Delhaize, focusing on protecting the environment, enhancing communities, or both. It is a great way to support these types of projects. This type of bond also helps to broaden our investor base and reach further like-minded investors. I’m very proud that Ahold Delhaize is the first retailer tapping the Eurobond market in the Green/Sustainability Bond universe.
Why do you need a Sustainability Bond to fund these projects?
Megan: Healthy and sustainable is one of the five growth drivers of Ahold Delhaize’s Leading Together strategy. By issuing this first bond, Ahold Delhaize is further committing to invest in projects that promote sustainable business goals while of course delivering a required rate of return. This way, the Sustainability Bond will help us to accelerate moving toward food systems that are healthier for people and the planet.
How will the bond support Ahold Delhaize’s sustainability goals?
Megan: We want to be the leading sustainable retailer in our markets, and are committed to making healthier choices easier for our customers, improving sustainability of our products, reducing food waste and plastic impacts, and reducing carbon emissions. The proceeds of the bond will help us achieve this by targeting investments in exactly these areas.
Can you give examples of projects Ahold Delhaize will invest in?
Megan: We have identified eligible environmental and community-focused projects in three categories where we believe we can make the most positive environmental and social impact: 1. Procuring sustainably produced certified products such as seafood, coffee, tea and cocoa. 2. Investing in green buildings, energy efficiency, renewable energy and waste prevention. 3. Expanding healthier eating initiatives while maintaining affordability.
How will you assure investors that you are using the proceeds to finance sustainable projects?
Miguel: We will publish yearly updates on our website so investors and other interested parties can monitor how we allocate the proceeds. We have also appointed Sustainalytics, an independent external partner, to conduct an annual review of the investments. This will help assure investors that the proceeds will be allocated to sustainable projects that are compliant with the criteria in our Sustainability Bond Framework.
Megan Hellstedt and Miguel Silva Gonzalez