Baidu, Inc. Sustainable Finance Framework Second-Party Opinion (2021)
Use of Proceeds
Sustainalytics is of the opinion that the Baidu, Inc. Sustainable Finance Framework is credible and impactful and aligns with the Sustainability Bond Guidelines 2021, Green Bond Principles 2021, Social Bond Principles 2021, and Green Loan Principles 2021. This assessment is based on the following:
USE OF PROCEEDS
The eligible categories for the use of proceeds – Green Buildings, Energy Efficiency, Clean Transportation, Renewable Energy, Pollution Prevention and Control, and Access to Essential Services (Healthcare) – are aligned with those recognized by the Green Bond Principles, Social Bond Principles and Green Loan Principles. Sustainalytics considers that investments in the eligible categories will improve the environmental performance and social impact of Baidu’s operations in China and advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 3, 7, 9, and 12.
PROJECT EVALUATION / SELECTION
Baidu’s Sustainable Financing Working Group (SFWG), composed of representatives from the Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility, Finance, Treasury and Investor Relations teams, will select Eligible Projects in accordance with the Framework’s eligibility criteria. In addition, the Chief Financial Officer will be responsible for the final approval of Eligible Projects. The Company’s environmental impact assessments and ongoing environmental and health and safety requirements are applicable to all allocation decisions under the Framework and is viewed as adequate risk management systems. Sustainalytics considers the project selection process in line with market practice.
MANAGEMENT OF PROCEEDS
The SFWG will manage and track the net proceeds from the issuance of each Sustainable Finance Transaction using internal tracking processes. Pending allocation, net proceeds will be temporarily invested in cash equivalent, deposits, structured deposits, money market funds and other high liquidity products. This is in line with market practice.
Baidu intends to report on the allocation and impact of proceeds on its website on an annual basis until full allocation. Allocation reporting will include information on eligible projects financed, proportion of financed and refinanced projects, unallocated proceeds and details on temporary allocation. In addition, Baidu is committed to reporting on relevant impact metrics. Sustainalytics views Baidu’s allocation and impact reporting as aligned with market practice.