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Alphabet issues $5.75 billion worth sustainability bonds

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In a bid to support environmental and social initiatives worldwide, Google has issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds, the largest sustainability or green bond by any company in history, as part of its $10 billion debt offering.

The proceeds from these sustainability bonds will fund ongoing and new projects that are environmentally or socially responsible and enable investors to join Google in tackling critical issues, the company said in a statement.

Although a number of companies have issued green bonds (directed solely to environmental uses), sustainability bonds differ in that their proceeds support investment in both environmental and social initiatives.

“Such bonds are an emerging asset class and we hope this transaction will help develop this new market. We’re encouraged that there was such strong demand for these bonds from investors — they were significantly oversubscribed,” said Ruth Porat, Alphabet and Google CFO.

Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and claims to have matched its entire electricity consumption with renewables for the past three years.

“For more than a decade, we’ve worked to make Google data centres some of the most efficient in the world by optimising our use of energy, water, and materials,” said Porat.

On average, a Google data centre is twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data centre.

“Compared with five years ago, we now deliver around seven times as much computing power with the same amount of electricity,” informed the Alphabet CFO.

To date, Google has committed approximately $4 billion to purchase clean energy from more than 50 wind and solar projects globally through 2034.

The company said it is committed to maximising the reuse of finite resources across its operations, products, and supply chains and to enable others to do the same.

“To date, we’ve shipped millions of devices made with post-consumer recycled plastic and 100 per cent of Nest products launched in 2019 include recycled plastics,” said Porat.

To address the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area, Google made a $1 billion commitment to invest in housing and expect to help build 20,000 residential units, of which at least 5,000 will be affordable.

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