Taking his company’s long-time approach to sustainability and attaching it into a financial instrument was a natural next step for Trevelyan’s Pack & Cool managing director James Trevelyan when he signed the family firm on to a sustainability-linked loan.
The Te Puke-based packhouse operator is the first post-harvest company in New Zealand to sign on for an ASB sustainability-linked loan, which requires its borrower to commit to key environmental, social and governance targets.
Borrowing costs are adjusted based on subsequent performance against those targets.
Trevelyan said it was a natural next step for the firm which has been focused on a sustainability pathway for almost a decade. The company has been publishing annual sustainability reports since 2014, covering the same key areas as the loan’s parameters.
“One of our goals is to reduce our waste to landfill by 10% a year based on a 2021 baseline, with a further intention of sending zero waste to landfill by 2030,” Trevelyan said.
There were some sound economic reasons for the landfill reduction focus. He said pursuing a “business as usual” approach would cost the company $200,000 a year in landfill fees. These have been reduced down to $15,000.
“This is where we have managed some of our biggest wins. We make a dollar out of it, so why would you not do it?”
The company has managed to find uses for most disposable products, down to hair nets worn by packing staff.
He said the push onwards with sustainability, particularly around packaging and materials, could often include having to have some frank and firm conversations with material suppliers.
“We would have supplies asking us why are we pushing back on a certain material, that they are not getting that from anyone, anywhere else.”
One example is the unwanted backing from fruit stickers that contributes 50t a year to landfill in NZ, just from kiwifruit.
He said the ASB loan has sharpened their focus on sustainability even further, putting some firm metrics around their targets across four key performance indicators.
“I was initially a little sceptical, but now we are in it, it has fine-tuned our decisions here.”
ASB head of sustainable finance James Paterson said ASB is progressing well on its mission to support industry transition with a cumulative sustainable lending target of $6.5 billion by 2030 for green, social, and sustainability-linked lending across commercial and rural sectors.