Silver Fern Farms Ltd today announced the company has entered into one of New Zealand’s largest sustainability-linked working capital financing facilities (SL Financing).
At $320 million (NZD) the SL Financing has been carefully tailored to the challenges faced by the red meat industry, and will further enable Silver Fern Farms to grow while delivering on the company’s transformative sustainability agenda.
Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive, Simon Limmer said the country’s largest red meat company is committed to leading food system-change and supporting a just transition to a low carbon economy.
“Our commitment, and follow-through, on sustainability issues is a key way we’re making sure we do the right thing by our customers who increasingly want their red meat sustainably produced and processed.
“Sustainability-linked financing of this size is a significant step for Silver Fern Farms and emphasises our commitment to respond to the rise of conscious consumers and create new forms of value for farmers.
“The targets associated with the facilities will hold us to account as we accelerate towards a nature positive business model that incentivises low emissions, biodiverse and regenerative farming practice,” Simon Limmer said.
As part of the SL Financing, Silver Fern Farms will receive financial incentives as it delivers pre-agreed and pre-defined sustainability targets including:
- Adoption of the comprehensive New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme Plus (NZFAP+) by Silver Fern Farms suppliers
- Reduction of processing emissions in line with our Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) target of 42% Scope 1 and Scope 2 Greenhouse Gas emissions reduction by 2030 from 2020 baseline year
- Reduction of total waste to landfill (incl. organic waste) from processing sites
- Reduction of water used at processing sites
- Enhanced environmental monitoring and reporting.
Silver Fern Farms Chief Financial Officer, Vicki McColl, said the SL Financing would add another strong incentive for the company to achieve the targets set out in its newly adopted Sustainability Action Plan.
“The Sustainability Performance Targets (SPTs) set out in the sustainability-linked financing give us real clarity in terms of what we need to be investing in year on year and make plain our responsibilities.
“A strong performance against our targets saves us money, while under performance costs us. This means the incentives for operating in a more sustainable way are very tangible in a commercial sense,” said Vicki McColl.
Silver Fern Farms Chief Sustainability & Risk Officer, Kate Beddoe, said securing sustainable finance at scale was a key component of Silver Fern Farm’s Sustainability Action Plan.
“At Silver Fern Farms we have recognised that to deliver and grow as a business we need to take action to thrive today and shape tomorrow in a way that creates long term sustainable value.
“Aligning our sustainability ambition with financing demonstrates how serious we are about leading change not only in the red meat industry, but for Aotearoa more broadly. We’re backing our farmers to lead the world in nature positive food production; that’s a pretty exciting space to be operating in,” said Kate Beddoe.
The SL Financing is provided by a syndicate of lenders comprising ANZ, Bank of China, BNZ, Citibank and Rabobank.
ANZ, BNZ and Rabobank, who together acted as Joint Sustainability Coordinators (JSCs) on the transaction, recognised Silver Fern Farms market-leading approach to sustainability.
“With the support of the JSCs, we have achieved a Sustainability-Linked financing facility that is customised for the sustainability challenges, and opportunities, in the red meat industry and one that aligns with international best practice.
“Silver Fern Farms is now extremely well positioned to play a leading role in nature positive food production globally and we thank all those involved in this significant milestone for agribusiness in New Zealand,” said Silver Fern Farms, Chief Financial Officer, Vicki McColl.
The transaction was externally reviewed by EY and aligns with the Sustainability-Linked Loan Principles (2022).
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