Seaspan Sustainability-Linked Bond Second-Party Opinion
Sustainability Linked Bond or Note
Sustainalytics is of the opinion that the Seaspan Sustainability-Linked Bond aligns with the Sustainability Linked Bond Principles 2020 and considers the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) to be relevant and material to the issuer and the Sustainability Performance Target (SPT) to be impactful and moderately ambitious. This assessment is based on the following:
Selection of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Seaspan has selected one KPI – the aggregate financial value of binding commitments towards vessel acquisitions, new buildings, and vessel retrofits, which can be powered by Alternative Fuel Sources – for its Sustainability Linked Bond (SLB). This KPI measures the dollars spent on upgrading and acquiring ships that have the ability to run on alternative fuels. Alternative fuels are defined as those with lower carbon emissions than conventional technologies; Sustainalytics has assessed the potential fuel options cited in the Framework and anticipates reductions could range from up to 25% for LNG to near 100% for some other alternative fuels. Sustainalytics considers the KPI chosen to be relevant and material for Seaspan and considers the KPI to be clear with regards to its objectives, while noting the wide variety of potential applications and the fact that it is not a direct measure of sustainability outcomes.
Calibration of Sustainability Performance Targets (SPTs)
Seaspan has established an SPT related to its qualifying expenditures. At the end of three years from the date of issuance of the Bond, Seaspan has set the target to have binding commitments for a minimum of USD 200 million on such upgrades and acquisitions. Sustainalytics considers the SPT to be moderately ambitious and aligned with the issuer’s sustainability strategy.
Seaspan has disclosed that its SLB will contain the characteristics of a conventional bond, with the added clause that failure to achieve its SPT will result in the Company paying a penalty of 0.5% (50 basis points) on the principal payment upon maturity. Sustainalytics highlights that the bond structure is binary, contains only a potential negative adjustment, and is aligned in magnitude with other sustainability-linked bonds in the market.
Seaspan commits to report on an annual basis on its performance on the KPI against the SPT. The company will publish an annual Sustainability-Linked Bond Performance Report, which will contain up-to-date information on its KPI performance as well as examples of investments undertaken during the year. Sustainalytics finds this to be in line with the market expectations.
Since the KPI is a measurement of the Company’s expenditure and investment, it is captured within the Company’s financial statements. Seaspan has committed that its spending on retrofitting and purchasing upgraded ships will be verified annually by an external auditor or other third-party reviewer, until the maturity of the bond. This is in line with market expectations.