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Investors and banks financing Adani’s ‘green bond’ fail first litmus test post-Hindenburg

World’s biggest coal developer successfully issues green bond

The Toxic Bonds Network unequivocally condemns the investors and banks that have facilitated and invested in Adani’s first dollar-denominated bond issuance since the Hindenburg report. This so-called ‘green’ bond issued by Adani Green Energy, tainted by allegations of greenwashing, related party transactions and serious governance concerns, marks a significant test for the international financial community – a test that many have failed, effectively endorsing a facade of sustainability while enabling the world’s biggest private coal developer to continue its expansion of fossil fuel projects.

The withdrawal of investors including Norge, KLP, Temasek Holdings and Danske Bank since Hindenburg underscores a growing recognition within the financial community of the grave concerns surrounding Adani’s operations. Most recently, Zurcher Bank confirmed in an email to the Toxic Bonds Network that it has divested from Adani Green Energy bonds, in light of “governance related issues”, exemplifying the kind of prudent and ethical investment decision-making that the current participants in Adani’s bond issuance have unfortunately disregarded.

“To wrap up [Adani Green’s bond] in Green Bond taxonomy is an absolute abrogation… Investing in green bonds issued by a group that is one of the largest private fossil fuel developers in the world is total greenwash, a perfect example of investor fraud,” says Tim Buckley, Director of Climate Energy Finance.

“Adani’s reentry to global bond markets is a triumph of greenwash over sense. This bond simply frees up more capital for Adani to invest in its massive pipeline of coal expansion. Investors cannot claim ignorance of Adani’s plans. Adani Group companies operate as one with capital flowing freely between them. Make no mistake this green bond is anything but,” says Nick Haines, Senior Campaign Manager at corporate accountability group, Ekō.

The Toxic Bonds Network is deeply troubled by banks’ apparent willingness to overlook the significant environmental and governance risks associated with Adani Green’s operations. By underwriting this bond issuance, these financial institutions are not only implicated in Adani’s unethical behavior, but have also exposed their clients and the broader financial system to considerable reputational and financial risks.

“Banks have got their payday today: millions of fees for a dodgy deal that’s poured more money into the labyrinth of Adani’s greenwashing empire. Barclays, Deutsche, Standard Chartered, DBS have board-approved coal policies and make all the commitments to sustainability you can imagine, but they’re raising money for the world’s largest private coal developer, while labelling it a ‘green’ bond. They’re having their cake and eating it,” says Will O’Sullivan, climate campaigner at BankTrack.

The following banks were listed as bookrunners for Adani Green’s green bond issuance:
Barclays, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, Intesa Sanpaolo, Standard Chartered, ING Groep, Mizuho, MUFG, SMBC Nikko Securities, Societe Generale, Emirates NBD, and First Abu Dhabi Bank

Adani Barclays Deutsche Bank Mizuho Societe Generale Standard Chartered