Australia’s first sustainability-linked loan for Agriculture

In a first for Australia’s agriculture industry, premium Queensland beef producer Stockyard Group has entered into a sustainability-linked loan (SLL) with Commonwealth Bank.

Stockyard’s three-year loan with Commonwealth Bank sets out clear parameters that will see Stockyard stretching towards sustainable outcomes in emissions reduction, animal welfare and people wellbeing that are significantly beyond its existing, strong baseline performance.

Stockyard has strong alignment to the beef industry’s priorities such as the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework and the Carbon Neutral 2030 strategy.

The deal ties the facility pricing to five metrics, grouped into three sustainability performance targets, including: reducing Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions; improved animal welfare outcomes; and workplace health and safety innovations.

Managing Director of Stockyard, Lachie Hart said CBA’s new loan structure incorporates their strong commitment to continuously strive for even better care of their animals, the environment, the community, and their people.

“We have welcomed the opportunity to participate in this innovative financing structure and make a commitment to tie important sustainability targets to our financing costs. To us, as a third-generation family business, it is our responsibility to pass on a viable, responsible, and sustainable business for future generations and this loan will allow us to utilise interest savings to ensure this is the case.

“It also provides opportunities to access internationally recognisable ESG credentials to assist with securing capital and customers in the future,” Mr Hart said.

Commonwealth Bank’s Group Executive for business banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle, said this landmark transaction will be a game changer for the business and demonstrates the bank’s ability to develop innovative finance solutions to support the sustainability of the industry through improved ESG outcomes.

“We know many farmers across the country are already adopting best practice sustainability and environmental stewardship, and we want to partner with agribusinesses to help them innovate and accelerate transition plans,” Mr Vacy-Lyle said.

Background

Australia’s beef industry accounts for almost a quarter of the country’s total agriculture production. Stockyard has been recognised through numerous awards for their branded beef and is already an industry leader in emissions reduction and animal welfare. Stockyard’s primary asset is its ~20,000 head feedlot located in the highly productive Darling Downs region of south-east Queensland.

Founded in 1958, Stockyard is recognised as an integrated pastoral, lot feeding and branded beef business, exporting a suite of premium grain-fed Wagyu and Angus beef product to over 20 international markets while supporting Australian markets.

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