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Finance & Investment
BNP Paribas, JetBlue to Close Aviation Industry’s First ESG-Linked RCF

JetBlue’s amended $550 million RCF includes a “sustainability-linked” provision, to align its strategic initiatives with its environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance goals — which the airline has been doing for years, in various ways.

BNP Paribas has closed a sustainability-linked loan (SLL) with JetBlue Airways, through an amendment to its existing Senior Secured Revolving Credit Facility (RCF).

“Our owners, many of whom are also crewmembers, want to see how ESG initiatives are connected to our financials,” said Sophia Mendelsohn, Chief Sustainability Officer for JetBlue. “As the first airline to accomplish this type of transaction, we are directly linking our commitment to addressing environmental and social issues with our bottom line. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but also understand we have more to do in reducing our carbon footprint and meeting the needs of our stakeholders.”

JetBlue has been an industry leader on sustainability — beginning in 2014, when it partnered with The Ocean Foundation on a groundbreaking report that correlated the long-term health of ecosystems in the Caribbean, one of its most popular destinations, to the health of the airline’s bottom line. In 2016, it became one of the largest renewable jet fuel purchasers in aviation history; in 2017, it released a SASB-aligned sustainability report.

Last year, JetBlue teamed up with The Nature Conservancy to examine the connection between natural resources and tourism in the Caribbean — and the resulting opportunities for tourism operators (hotels, cruise lines, airlines) to work together to ensure the health of ecosystems in such prime destinations. And earlier this year, it became the first US airline to announce that it was ramping up its carbon offsets, in order for all of its domestic flights to be carbon neutral (though Delta is now hot on its heels).

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“We couldn’t be happier to continue our partnership with JetBlue as the Company progresses on its sustainability journey. JetBlue’s SLL is just one element of the airline’s comprehensive ESG and sustainable finance strategy, which is incredible to see. BNP Paribas is dedicated to working with our corporate clients to identify tailored solutions that align with their specific efforts and commitments toward achieving their ESG goals,” said Florence Pourchet, Co-Head of Global Banking Americas at BNP Paribas, who also oversees the Bank’s Sustainable Finance strategy in the Americas. 

Read more on JetBlue’s sustainability strategy and BNP Paribas’ role in sustainable finance transactions