23 January 2014

Westpac to boost its $1bn investment in the New Zealand CleanTech sector

Westpac is partnering with the CleanTech industry to establish a certification programme as it targets a 15 percent increase in its lending to the New Zealand CleanTech sector over the next two years.

The news comes on the back of the announcement that Westpac Group has been ranked number one in the ‘Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World’ at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Westpac sees CleanTech as a sector of the New Zealand economy with strong growth prospects. It is also a sector that is vital to supporting the transition we must make to a low-carbon economy,” says Simon Power, General Manager Business Bank and Wealth.

“As one of New Zealand’s largest financial institutions, Westpac recognises it has an important part to play in enabling New Zealand CleanTech businesses to succeed locally and internationally and in helping its customers to prosper and manage environmental outcomes.

“We currently lend more than $1 billion to the New Zealand CleanTech sector and we are aiming to add at least $150m in new lending by the end of 2015.

“However, for the New Zealand CleanTech sector to grow, we not only need creative, practical ideas from business, we also need an innovative approach to financing these businesses.

“That is why we are working with The Greenhouse and The New Zealand Clean Tech & Environment Network (NZCEN) to understand how we can develop the financial solutions to help grow the CleanTech sector,” says Power.

Westpac and The Greenhouse are undertaking a survey of up to 500 NZCEN members to provide a basis for establishing a New Zealand CleanTech certification programme.  This will give potential clients, investors, and equity partners of these businesses a robust standard for benchmarking CleanTech opportunities.

Westpac is also looking to develop specific financial solutions and support for certified organisations and to promote these organisations to its own key clients, suppliers and partners.

”Our joint aim is to grow the CleanTech industry by allowing home, farm and business owners  to access financial products which can be used to purchase CleanTech goods and services from certified providers.  This is an exciting market-led approach which will help to grow an innovative New Zealand sector whilst making businesses and households more sustainable and efficient,” says Duncan Stewart, Director of The Greenhouse.

‘CleanTech’ encompasses a range of technology-based organisations, products and services that take advantage of renewable materials and energy sources, reducing the use of natural resources, and limiting or eliminating emissions and wastes.  Examples include renewable energy, lower emissions from transportation, Green Star-rated property, forestry, energy efficient fuels, waste processing and agritech solutions.

Westpac has made two clear commitments as part of its sustainability strategy – to develop financial solutions for customers that address environmental challenges, and to grow its lending and investment in the CleanTech sector.

Westpac has already begun to explore product opportunities that support the renewable energy sector. Last year it launched Solar Shed in partnership with Meridian Energy, giving farmers easier access to solar energy and potentially helping them save thousands each year on their power bills.

Westpac’s existing CleanTech clients include renewable energy, Green Star-rated property, sustainable forestry and recycling operations.

More information on Westpac’s approach to sustainability can be found in the Sustainability and Community section of Westpac New Zealand’s website at www.westpac.co.nz/who-we-are.

More information about Westpac’s Global 100 Number One Ranked Most Sustainable Corporation can be found here:  global 100 announcement

Caption: Westpac's Managing Director, Business Bank & Wealth Simon Power with Duncan Stewart from The Greenhouse

simon power and duncan stewart