Corporate ESG Investor Q&A – Q4 2021 trends

04 January 2022

Dr Arthur KrebbersHead of Corporate Climate and ESG Capital Markets

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Dan BresslerVice President, Sustainable Finance Corporates

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Jyoti ShekarAnalyst, Sustainable Finance Corporates

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Niceasia Mc PerryCorporate Financing & Risk Solutions

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Saakshi AroraDebt Capital Markets Team, India

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Other insights

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“Where do we start?” and “What do we prioritise?” are typically the first two questions the management team of any business about to embark on its sustainability journey, or about to prepare for its first sustainable debt issuance, will ask. Knowing how investors think and their expectations can help to answer those questions. So, we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions heard from investors during NatWest Markets-led roadshows and deals in Q4, for issuances in the Housing Association, Industrials, Utilities, Consumer, Chemicals, and REIT1 sectors. We will be releasing updates on investor questions each quarter, so please do look out for these.

The questions indicate what’s important for investors to know when looking to invest in ESG transactions and offer issuers valuable insights into what they need to deliver in order to satisfy investors. Equally, the overview of “Example Questions” is a helpful guide for any corporate to consider and to answer for their own business while formulating and/or refining their sustainability strategy.

Source: NatWest, ESG-related investor feedback for corporates in Q4 2021 [4]

Example Questions

  • Are you already discussing your hydrogen strategy with the government?
  • Do you have a clear view on how your hydrogen investment will be remunerated in the future?
  • Will there be a change in the standpoint for the use of natural gas, and on which suppliers (i.e. countries) you are dependent?
  • Does the project produce carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases and will there be a report on emissions (or carbon savings)?
  • Are customers actively transitioning towards lower carbon footprints?
  • Are there ESG-specific requirements in procurement processes to drive sustainable procurement?
  • Have you considered the risk of pollution from discharges to waterways (including groundwater)?
  • What is the timeline to EPC5 rating C on 100% of the assets?
  • With new regulatory developments, will there be an increased need to demolish more buildings that don’t meet the EPC criteria and how do you view this need, given the negative environmental impact of demolition versus redevelopment?
  • Are the targets SBTi-aligned6? How ambitious are these?
  • Please confirm that you intend to follow best-in-class green bond standards, such as those formulated by the ICMA Green Bond Principles and EU green bond standards.
  • How are the KPIs of the SLB7 framework linked to the strategy?
  • Can you elaborate on the historical performance of the KPIs?
  • Is it correct that your sustainability targets are not linked to senior management pay?
  • There’s no language around changing the KPIs/SPTs8 over time, do you anticipate a change of the Framework?
  • Does the project report on gender and diversity?
  • Does the project report on biodiversity and habitat? (e.g. wildlife fatalities, habitat removed or maintained, enhanced/restored or protected).
  • Does the project consume a large amount of energy from non-renewable sources, and will there be a report on energy performance?
  • Do you intend to issue green bonds in the future? If so, which projects will be eligible for the use of proceeds?
  • What are the key pillars of your ESG story and net-zero strategy?
  • What are the specific actions that you have taken towards improving circularity (circular products)?
  • Can you provide an overview of your sustainability programme?
  • Can you talk about how the Green Finance Framework works in relation to this transaction?
  • How was the framework created? Which steps were considered during the process?
  • What was the reason to choose the SPO9 provider? Please comment on recent discussions with ESG agencies and concerns raised.

We’ll provide regular updates on frequently asked questions posed by investors, to keep you up-to-speed with their most current views. So, please check our Insights Hub regularly for updates.



Real estate investment trust


Includes both Sustainability-Linked Bond structure & company Key Performance Indicators


Includes equal proportion of questions related to energy sources & ESG-related training


Includes feedback obtained during deal and non-deal related roadshows


Energy Performance Certificate


Science Based Targets Initiative


Sustainability-Linked Bonds


Sustainable Performance Targets


Second Party Opinion


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