ASB and Hawke's Bay Airport partner on multi-million dollar sustainability-linked loan

01 November 2021

Hawke's Bay Airport has taken an important step in its goal to become New Zealand's most sustainable airport, this week securing tens of millions in sustainability linked funding from ASB.

The regional airport's $23 million sustainability linked loan uses ASB funds allocated under the Reserve Bank's Funding for Lending (FLP) programme which the bank has committed to using to support projects that meet sustainability or regional infrastructure criteria.

Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie says the business is working on numerous carbon and waste reduction initiatives, including a pledge to reach zero emissions by 2030, and progressing the next steps of a major solar farm next to the runway. 

He says partnering with ASB to access FLP funds will allow the airport to continue its ambitious programme of sustainability work, which is critical to its future success.

"It's vital that Hawke's Bay Airport continues on its drive towards sustainability leadership, a focus that is intrinsic to our businesses success moving forward," says Ainslie.

Sustainability Linked Loans (SLLs) require the borrower to commit to key environmental, social and/or governance (ESG) targets, with borrowing costs adjusted based on their performance against these targets. 

Hawke's Bay Airport Chief Financial Officer Rachel Orchard says, "being ASB's first Sustainable Linked Loan partner reflects confidence in our banking partner and our overall vision and strategic plan. The fact is that to get to this point indicates a high degree of rigour and verification as well as confidence in our commitment to sustainable outcomes."

ASB executive general manager for Corporate Banking Nigel Annett says sustainability will only become more critical for customers, and for ASB. 

"We are committed to working alongside our customers to help them transition to a low emissions economy. Hawkes Bay Airport is showing real leadership in holding themselves to account for ambitious targets. 

"Earlier this year ASB committed to using its FLP funding to support a more productive New Zealand through backing projects that meet sustainability or regional infrastructure criteria. The team at Hawke's Bay Airport is focused on both. 

"We're delighted to partner with Hawke's Bay Airport in our first Sustainability Linked Loan to support them as they work towards a more sustainable, resilient ‘low carbon' future while also focusing on regional growth," says Annett.

He said ASB was committed to playing its part in mobilising capital to help grow a greener economy - which aligns to the Climate Change Commission's view on the critical role of New Zealand's financial sector.  

ASB's own sustainability goals include maintaining Toitu carbon zero certification, with ambitious science-aligned targets to reduce operational emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. Recent sustainable finance initiatives include the Rural Sustainability Loan to support farmers' environmental goals, and Back My Build to incentivise new energy-efficient home construction. 

The airport is the first to partner with ASB on a Sustainability-Linked Loan, with KPMG and Simpson Grierson key advisors to the transaction.

"ASB has a range of initiatives to support its business customers' sustainability goals," Mr Annett says. 

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