Westpac NZ has launched two new sustainable loans for farming and corporate business customers, including New Zealand’s first ever whole of farm sustainable loan.
Westpac NZ Chief Executive Catherine McGrath says the new Sustainable Farm Loan and Sustainable Business Loan provide practical pathways for customers to build resilience to climate change impacts, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver positive outcomes for communities.
“The recent damage from severe weather has reinforced the impacts climate change can have on our households, businesses and communities.
“We know that businesses and farms can play a key role in driving sustainability. Their efforts, with our support, will help farms and businesses become even more sustainable, and serve to protect New Zealand’s highly valued environment.”
Sustainable Farm Loan
Ms McGrath says the new Sustainable Farm Loan is the first loan in Aotearoa to accelerate sustainability across all aspects of farming and importantly covers all term debt associated with the farm.
“With our newly launched Westpac Sustainable Farm Standard, we are encouraging farmers and growers to improve sustainability practices and build more resilient farms.
“Our loan focuses on supporting our farming customers to assess and reduce on-farm vulnerability and risks that climate change and extreme weather events may have on the land, farming systems and infrastructure.
“We’re also keen to encourage increased focus on farm management, waterway biodiversity and nutrient improvements on the farm, and understanding and managing agricultural emissions.”
Ms McGrath says Westpac has worked with AsureQuality to ensure that the Westpac Sustainable Farm Standard is robust and equivalent to all applicable aspects of the industry-agreed Sustainable Agriculture Finance Initiative guidance.
“We’ve also designed our Westpac Sustainable Farm Standard to complement farm assurance programmes that many of our customers are already using on-farm, to reduce duplication and reporting commitments for our customers.
“Our standard defines requirements that farmers need to meet, with a view to improving sustainability outcomes in areas like water management, application of fertiliser, waste management, climate change mitigation, adapting to climate change and better outcomes for biodiversity and soil health.”
Farmers have two years to meet the Westpac Sustainable Farm Standard and are supported from day one with a competitive 0.20% discount off the existing loan interest margin across all term debt associated with farm.
Sustainable Business Loan
Ms McGrath says a new Sustainable Business Loan is also now available to support corporate and agribusiness customers to make progress on their sustainability initiatives, whether they are working to improve the environment or achieve positive social outcomes, or both.
“Our customers are telling us they are seeing strong sentiment for change from their customers, suppliers and shareholders.
“We know that being a sustainable business makes good business sense. It can help to build great teams, connect with consumers, reduce operating costs and support the community.
“So, we have designed a loan to provide tangible support for customers who are wanting to invest in sustainability initiatives.
“This Sustainable Business Loan will help our corporate and agribusiness customers invest in projects that improve the environment, help adapt to climate change, or deliver positive social outcomes for communities or particular groups.
“It complements the Sustainable Farm Loan but has a more targeted focus on specific assets and projects.”
Examples of assets and activities that may be eligible include green buildings, solar panels, electric vehicles, waste reduction, biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, affordable housing, and financial education programmes.
“We know as a lender we have real scope to help effect positive change and that is the clear goal with the two sustainable loans announced today.”
Like the Sustainable Farm Loan, the Sustainable Business Loan offers a competitive 0.20% discount off loan interest margin.
“These two new loans show Westpac is committed to working together with our customers for greater outcomes, and supporting Aotearoa to have a more sustainable, resilient, inclusive and successful future.”
Terms and Conditions
Eligibility and business lending criteria applies. Terms, conditions, fees and charges apply to Westpac products and services.