Craigmore Sustainables, one of the largest diversified farm management companies in Aotearoa, has secured nearly $80 million in funding from ASB in an innovative sustainability-focused deal.

The sustainable transition loan provides a pathway to develop and embed Craigmore’s sustainability strategy and targets. The company’s portfolio includes a mix of dairy, grazing, forestry and horticultural properties covering almost 20,000 hectares throughout New Zealand.

Under the loan terms, Craigmore has committed to providing a robust sustainability strategy with targets and an action plan, within 12 months of drawdown.

Craigmore Chief Executive Che Charteris says partnering with ASB will help to achieve its bold aspiration to be a leader in land-based reduction of greenhouse gases.

“Farming, horticulture and forestry have an important role to play in helping to mitigate climate change. While we’re pleased with what we’ve achieved to date, we are constantly looking for innovative ways to reduce emissions and minimise the environmental impact of the farms we work with. We are equally focused on delivering more equitable social outcomes for our more vulnerable rural communities through development, training, job creation, and working with mana whenua.

“Sustainability isn’t something you arrive at; it’s a long-term journey, and at Craigmore we are committed to constantly aspiring to do and be better.”

He said while Craigmore had made strong progress in several key areas of sustainability, the loan terms would enable it to put greater technical rigour around its goals.

Under ASB’s sustainable transition loan, the quality of the client’s sustainability strategy must be verified by an independent third party.

The sustainable transition loan uses ASB funds allocated under the Reserve Bank’s Funding for Lending (FLP) programme which the bank has earmarked for projects that meet sustainability or regional infrastructure criteria.

ASB General Manager Rural Ben Speedy says a key part of ASB’s climate change strategy is to support New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions economy. Craigmore’s transition loan is consistent with the bank’s broader goal of supporting customers to progress environmental and social initiatives, he said.

“Increasingly, sustainable finance is an effective tool to help companies accelerate their objectives. We’re pleased to provide favourable loans to support customers in doing the right thing and committing to a more sustainable future.

“While already conscious custodians of the land it works across, Craigmore has ambitious sustainability objectives. At ASB, we’re inspired by Craigmore’s vision and are looking forward to continuing to work with them to realise their goals. Ultimately this benefits Craigmore, the communities it works in, and New Zealand’s rural sector more broadly.”

ASB’s own sustainability goals include maintaining Toitū carbon zero certification, with ambitious science-aligned targets to reduce operational emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. Recent sustainable finance initiatives include a sustainability-linked loan with Hawke’s Bay Airport, and the Rural Sustainability Loan to support individual farmers’ environmental goals.

Published: 18 November 2021