Baidu has announced an offering of $1 billion in bonds it plans to use towards its environment, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

The public offering consists of a 5.5-year tranche bond of $300 million due 2027 and a ten-year $700 million tranche due 2031.

As well as paying down existing debt, the company plans to finance or refinance ESG projects.

In a separately published Sustainable Finance Framework document, Baidu said eligible projects include green buildings, energy efficiency, and renewable energy, clean transportation and pollution prevention/control.

Activities could include replacing old servers and ‘high-consumption’ data centers; meeting green building standards; installing LED lighting, smart energy, or ‘innovative cooling’ systems; signing renewable energy deals through Power Purchase Agreement-type mechanisms; and installing on-site renewable energy generation systems.

In June, Baidu announced its operations would become carbon neutral by 2030. For its owned data centers, the Chinese cloud company said it would aim to achieve a PUE of 1.14 through ‘technological innovation practices, enhanced software and hardware integration, integrated artificial intelligence applications and more.’

The company said it would prioritize future data center locations in areas with available renewable power. For leased data centers, Baidu said it will reduce PUE by ‘outsourcing the technology and migrating the computing power requirements' in order to reduce total carbon emissions. The company also said it would utilize carbon offset measures where it can.

Aside from Chindata, most Chinese cloud providers haven't made carbon pledges. Greenpeace recently reported that under nine percent of Baidu's operations were powered by renewable energy.

Tencent released its first ESG report earlier this year. While it cited the Chinese Government’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2060, the company failed to set a firm target for its own operations, instead saying it will “strive to become a leading carbon-neutral corporation.”

“JD committed to reducing its Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions 50 percent by 2030 compared with 2019.”

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