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PIMCO’s Best Practice Guidance for Corporate Sustainable Bond Issuance

PIMCO’s ESG (environmental, social, and governance) analyst team outlines the following best practices for issuers of green, social, sustainability or sustainability-linked bonds.
Executive Summary

PIMCO’s ESG (environmental, social, and governance) analyst team outlines the following best practices for issuers of green, social, sustainability or sustainability-linked bonds. This document is published in conjunction with the Viewpoint, “Sustainability Linked Bonds: Coming of Age”.

The best practice guidance covers such topics as:

  • Best practice guidance for green, social and sustainability bonds
  • Sustainability-linked bonds
  • Background on PIMCO Sustainable bond and climate engagement frameworks

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Disclosures

Environmental (“E”) factors can include matters such as climate change, pollution, waste, and how an issuer protects and/or conserves natural resources. Social (“S”) factors can include how an issuer manages its relationships with individuals, such as its employees, unitholders, customers and its community. Governance (“G”) factors can include how an issuer operates, such as its leadership, pay and incentive structures, internal controls, and the rights of equity and debt holders.

ESG Labeled Bonds are defined as green, social, and sustainable bonds and sustainability-linked bonds. Green Bonds are any type of bond instrument where the proceeds will be exclusively applied to finance or re-finance, in part or in full, new and/or existing eligible Green Projects. Social Bonds are use-of-proceeds bonds earmarked to finance new and existing projects or activities with positive social impacts. Sustainability Bonds are use-of-proceeds bonds earmarked to finance new and existing projects or activities with positive environmental and social impacts. Sustainability-Linked Bonds (SLBs) are structurally linked to the issuer’s achievement of climate or broader sustainability goals, such as through a step-up in coupon if key performance indicators (KPIs) are not met. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Bonds are issuances whose proceeds are mapped to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

PIMCO is committed to the integration of Environmental, Social and Governance ("ESG") factors into our broad research process and engaging with issuers on sustainability factors and our climate change investment analysis.  At PIMCO, we define ESG integration as the consistent consideration of material ESG factors into our investment research process, which may include, but are not limited to, climate change risks, diversity, inclusion and social equality, regulatory risks, human capital management, and others.  Further information is available in PIMCO’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Investment Policy Statement.

With respect to comingled funds with sustainability objectives (“ESG-dedicated funds”), we have built on PIMCO’s 50-year core investment processes and utilize three guiding principles: Exclude, Evaluate and Engage.  In this way, PIMCO’s ESG-dedicated funds seek to deliver attractive returns while also seeking to achieve positive ESG outcomes through its investments. Please see each ESG-dedicated fund’s prospectus for more detailed information related to its investment objectives, investment strategies and approach to ESG.

There is no assurance that the socially responsible investing strategy and techniques employed will be successful.

A word about risk: All investments contain risk and may lose value. Investing in the bond market is subject to risks, including market, interest rate, issuer, credit, inflation risk, and liquidity risk. The value of most bonds and bond strategies are impacted by changes in interest rates. Bonds and bond strategies with longer durations tend to be more sensitive and volatile than those with shorter durations; bond prices generally fall as interest rates rise, and low interest rate environments increase this risk. Reductions in bond counterparty capacity may contribute to decreased market liquidity and increased price volatility. Bond investments may be worth more or less than the original cost when redeemed. Sovereign securities are generally backed by the issuing government. Obligations of U.S. government agencies and authorities are supported by varying degrees, but are generally not backed by the full faith of the U.S. government. Portfolios that invest in such securities are not guaranteed and will fluctuate in value. Investing in foreign-denominated and/or -domiciled securities may involve heightened risk due to currency fluctuations, and economic and political risks, which may be enhanced in emerging markets.  ESG investing is qualitative and subjective by nature, and there is no guarantee that the factors utilized by PIMCO or any judgment exercised by PIMCO will reflect the opinions of any particular investor, and the factors utilized by PIMCO may differ from the factors that any particular investor considers relevant in evaluating an issuer’s ESG practices. In evaluating an issuer, PIMCO is dependent upon information and data obtained through voluntary or third-party reporting that may be incomplete, inaccurate or unavailable, or present conflicting information and data with respect to an issuer, which in each case could cause PIMCO to incorrectly assess an issuer’s business practices with respect to its ESG practices. Socially responsible norms differ by region, and an issuer’s ESG practices or PIMCO’s assessment of an issuer’s ESG practices may change over time. There is no standardized industry definition or certification for certain ESG categories, for example “green bonds”; as such, the inclusion of securities in these statistics involves PIMCO’s subjectivity and discretion. There is no assurance that the ESG investing strategy or techniques employed will be successful. Past performance is not a guarantee or reliable indicator of future results.

PIMCO as a general matter provides services to qualified institutions, financial intermediaries and institutional investors. Individual investors should contact their own financial professional to determine the most appropriate investment options for their financial situation. This material contains the opinions of the manager and such opinions are subject to change without notice. This material has been distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. PIMCO is a trademark of Allianz Asset Management of America L.P. in the United States and throughout the world. ©2022, PIMCO.

CMR2022-1115-2581642

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