2020 began the Decade of Action to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We believe that businesses can play a critical role in supporting the achievement of the SDGs by leveraging corporate investments and finance activities as catalysts for sustainable growth and social impact.
In 2020, we adopted a Green Financing Framework, which articulates how our sustainable finance strategy aligns with the UN SDGs and supports our progress on our environmental commitments.
In 2021, we deepened our commitment to foster diversity, inclusion and equal economic opportunity in the capital markets by amending our Green Financing Framework to include a pledge for our green bond transactions to only engage underwriters that have established clear and impactful commitments in support of the SDGs, and/or are a diverse-owned firm or have a core mission of promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Our actions to promote the growth of DEI firms, including Black-, Hispanic-, women- and veteran-owned firms, include a commitment to allocate at least 10% of eligible unsecured debt capital markets fees to these firms annually and to elevate their roles and responsibilities on our transactions.
Working with DEI firms has long been embedded in Verizon’s approach to selecting underwriters on debt capital market transactions. We engaged DEI firms to lead the last two green bond issuances, sharing equally in responsibilities and economics with leading global investment banks. In 2021, Verizon paid approximately $20 million in underwriting fees to minority- and women-owned firms, including $4.5 million in connection with the third green bond offering.
As we continue to demonstrate our leadership in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the debt capital markets, we strive to improve the share of fees paid to DEI firms and to elevate their roles and responsibilities on our transactions, providing more meaningful economics and distribution opportunities for these firms. This enables them to support more and larger capital markets transactions, hire and promote people from underrepresented groups, expand the pool of qualified candidates from such groups through programs such as internships, and invest in their communities, including through partnerships with non-profit organizations.