The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, on October 8 awarded Cambodia’s first EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) green-building certification for commercial office projects to Phnom Penh’s VTrust Tower, owned by Golden Tree Co Ltd (GT).

This comes just three days after GT received approval in-principle from the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) to issue the Kingdom’s approximately $3 million inaugural “green bond” on the local bourse, and is seen as a boost for the company’s pre-issuance preparations. CSX CEO Hong Sok Hour believes that the debt security could be issued as soon as next month.

According to “EDGE is a green building certification system focused on making buildings more resource-efficient.”

Citing an IFC report, GT commented in a statement that “28 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions originate from buildings”, and suggested that “the development of green buildings presents an enormous opportunity to reduce global carbon footprint and environmental impact”.

The report, “Green Buildings: A Finance and Policy Blueprint for Emerging Markets”, indicates that “market potential for green buildings in cities in developing countries is astronomical – an estimated $24.7 trillion by 2030”, the statement highlighted.

The Grade B VTrust Tower is located on Street 169 across the street from Bak Touk High School in Prampi Makara district’s Veal Vong commune.

According to the website, the building was given “Predicted Savings of EDGE Certification” ratings of: 24 per cent in “energy savings”; 52 per cent in “water savings”; 84 per cent in “less embodied energy in materials”; and a 232.04-tonne reduction in CO2 emissions per annum.

Speaking in the statement, GT executive vice-president Judy Tan stated that the international certification was a testament to her company’s dedication in aligning with the government in cutting CO2 emissions.

“Beyond environmental stewardship, GT is further committed to [the] ESG [environmental, social and governance] standard. We would like to do more, keep on improving ESG issues that we and the industry as a whole are currently facing.

“We believe this initiative would help us design and implement long-term, sustainable policies that are able to support GT’s growth and strengthen our competitive advantages in term of improvement in risk management, service quality and excellence in operation for our tenants, teammates, partners and all stakeholders. ” she said.

The statement said that GT plans to increase its distinct portfolio of green commercial office buildings and “develop, manage and invest in green residential projects and eco-industrial parks”.

And without elaborating further, the statement added that the company also seeks to build a synergised “community of businesses” geared towards jointly managing resource risks and improving performance in criteria specific to the environmental and socio-economic fields.

Meanwhile, the CSX’s Sok Hour told The Post last week that GT’s green bond is planned to carry a coupon rate of seven per cent and a tenor of five years. He explained that the issuance process of this class of debt security would be largely the same as that for regular bonds, but with climate and environmental considerations added to the eligibility criteria.

“Eco-friendly and climate-forward investments are becoming popular, and that’s why Golden Tree Co Ltd and a number of other companies are looking for accreditation from experts among independent parties, such as international institutions like the World Bank.

“I believe that these securities could be more special than previously-available ones, in that it will be open to individual investors as well,” he said.