Thailand’s National Housing Authority (NHA) Issues First Sustainability Bond for Affordable Housing
Pattanun Arunpreechawat and Peter du Pont
Thailand's National Housing Authority developed "thematic" social bond and successfully issued first sustainability bond for affordable housing.
Photo: National Housing Authority Affordable Housing Project with Eco-Village Standard Certify Level, Source: National Housing Authority
While housing is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases emissions globally, it is also a necessity for human survival and dignity and is an important element in social policies to tackle poverty. Faced with rapidly growing demand for affordable housing, Thailand aims to address this issue using a sustainable financing framework.
It lays out principles and guidelines to ensure that the affordable housing and basic services provided by the National Housing Authority (NHA). NHA are accessible by all gender groups and are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The framework is designed in compliance with the Social Bond Principles 2021 (SBP), Green Bond Principles 2021 (GBP), Sustainability Bond Guidelines 2021 (SBG), and others.
NHA, a state-owned enterprise attached to Thailand’s Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, has adopted a New Urban Agenda (NUA) to end poverty and leave no one behind by ensuring to provide safe and equal access for all, to physical and social infrastructure and basic services, as well as adequate and affordable housing. NHA is also integrating sustainable urban housing concepts and approaches into its assets for affordable and sustainable urban housing and community development for people, particularly from low-income households.
With assistance from Asian Development Bank (ADB), Thailand’s NHA developed its first “thematic” bond, a Social Bond in the amount of $200 million, and this was issued in August 2020. This was followed by the issuance of its first Sustainability Social Bond in September 2021 for B2.1 billion THB ($62 million) for affordable housing in September 2021.
The bond proceeds are being used to accelerate the construction of green housing units for low-, and middle-income dwellers through an integrated strategy including:
an energy-efficient green home design and labeling scheme;
incentive mechanisms for promoting energy efficient homes; and
awareness raising a capacity building for promoting energy efficient homes
The three main areas of focus outlined in NHA’s 2021 sustainability bond are affordable housing, socio-economic advancement and empowerment, and green buildings.
As part of the ADB consulting team, Asia Clean Energy Partners and EGS-Plan (Bangkok) worked with NHA management to review national and international certification systems for green buildings and to estimate the savings in a group of housing developments that NHA has built
according to a national efficiency standard called Label Number 5. The inclusion of this group of energy-saving houses in the asset pool for the bond was an important element in NHA’s issuance of its sustainability bond for the international financial markets.
As part of its national housing development plan, NHA aims to provide affordable housing for all groups of people, especially the 2.27 million low- to middle-income earners, and has the following mechanisms to ensure broad participation:
rental housing option;
sale/hire-purchase housing option;
housing for government officials option; and
public-private partnership option (called “baan pracha rat in Thai)
NHA will also provide financial assistance to about one-third of the targeted group of 2.27 million households, or approximately 650,000 households who cannot access housing financing from regular financial institutions. This will help bridge the gap for the low-income residents to access mortgages from financial institutions and banks.
NHA’s target population is: (a) low-income earners, (b) low- to middle-income earners, (c) excluded and/or marginalized populations and/or communities; (d) vulnerable groups, including victims of natural disaster, (e) people with disabilities; (f) migrants and/or displaced persons; (g) undereducated, underserved and unemployed.
NHA strives to ensure that the affordable housing and basic services provided by NHA are aligned with SDG 5. NHA’s initiatives will range from the empowerment of vulnerable groups through the provision of various vocational training courses to building capacity for income generation.
NHA has developed a Sustainable Finance Framework for affordable housing, with the aim to use its investments to reduce inequality in access to housing for Thai citizens, while contributing toward inclusive growth and support the development of a sustainable future. NHA’s Sustainable Finance Framework aligns with various SDGs shown in the table below:
Table 1: Alignment of Thailand National Housing Authority's Affordable Housing and Socioeconomic Empowerment Goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Source: National Housing Authority Social Bond Framework
Thailand is taking critical steps towards financing projects for environmental and socio-economic benefits. The country’s sustainability bond for affordable housing is a good example of realizing an opportunity for the governments to mobilize private sector funds through capital markets for social purposes like affordable housing for low-income residents.
Click here to read about NHA’s Sustainable Finance Framework.