LCI and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing have developed the world's first Social Loan Framework for helicopter leasing, finance and operations, and it has received the highest rating of 'Social 1(F)' from the Japan Credit Rating Agency.
The framework has been established initially for LCI's joint venture leasing operation with SMFL and in accordance with the internationally agreed social loan principles developed in 2023 by the Loan Syndications and Trading Association. It will require funds to be used for eligible and verified social projects, which in LCI's case will include search and rescue, and emergency medical services.
LCI CFO Alan O'Rourke says: "This innovative Social Loan Framework builds upon our proven track record of financial innovation and will make a meaningful difference to our customers and the communities they serve. It will require our social loans to adhere to a number of core principles including fund usage, calibration, characterisation, reporting and verification, all of which will support our drive to attract new and efficient forms of capital to the helicopter sector, which have a positive social impact."
The sustainable finance market grew to reach $1.6 trillion globally in 2021, of which around $600bn was driven by the sustainability-linked loan (SLL) market, according to Refinitiv data.
The framework is an integral part of LCI's environmental, social and governance (ESG) programme, and reflects SMFL's long term commitment to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals as part of the company policy 'The SMFL Way'.
LCI is also a signatory of Aircraft Leasing Ireland's (ALI) Sustainability Charter, with a commitment to driving forward and achieving ESG related goals, centred around 10 priority sustainability principles including a commitment to achieving net zero by 2050.