Financing tailored to challenges

Silver Fern Farms has entered into one of New Zealand’s largest sustainability-linked working capital financing facilities.

At $320million, the sustainability-linked financing had been tailored to the challenges faced by the red meat industry and would further enable Silver Fern Farms to grow while delivering on the company’s transformative sustainability agenda, the company said in a statement.

As part of the sustainability-linked financing, Silver Fern Farms would receive financial incentives as it delivered 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 the company’s Science Based Target initiative (SBTi) target of a 42% reduction in scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from a 2020 baseline year.

- Reduction of total waste to landfill (including organic waste) from processing sites.

- Reduction of water used at processing sites.

- Enhanced environmental monitoring and reporting.

Chief executive Simon Limmer said the company was 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,” he said.

The sustainability-linked financing was provided by a syndicate of lenders comprising ANZ, Bank of China, BNZ, Citibank and Rabobank.

Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris said the new facility was one of the first of its type for New Zealand’s red meat processing sector.

Last month, Silver Fern Farms launched its USDA-approved Net Carbon Zero By Nature 100% Grass-Fed Angus Beef at an event in New York attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Ms Ardern was joined by the visiting New Zealand trade mission, Silver Fern Farms US customers and in-market partners, and New York and US national media.

The event was to celebrate the successful introduction of the beef to the US; it was already being sold in supermarkets in the New York tri-state area, the Midwest and California.

The Net Carbon Zero Beef programme incentivised farmers to invest in, and maintain, on-farm carbon sequestration such as native and riparian planting.

sally.rae@odt.co.nz

 

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