Westpac NZ is committed to helping customers move towards more sustainable business models, by funding assets and outcomes to build a better future for all of New Zealand.
In December 2019, Westpac New Zealand and Contact Energy entered into a $50 million, four-year sustainability-linked loan facility, which was the first such loan issued by Westpac NZ and one of the first of its kind in Aotearoa. Contact Energy will receive a discounted interest rate on the sustainability-linked loan if it meets ambitious targets linked to its environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating determined by the independent ratings agency RobecoSAM. Conversely, Contact Energy will pay higher interest costs if it doesn’t meet the rating targets agreed with Westpac. The incentive targets align with continual improvement in Contact Energy’s ESG performance, including assessment of its climate strategy, electricity generation mix, corporate governance and stakeholder engagement. Westpac NZ’s Head of Sustainable Finance, Joanna Silver, said the loan was a good example of businesses working together to drive better environmental and social outcomes, and enhanced corporate governance.
Westpac NZ also advised Meridian Energy on the implementation of its Green Financing Programme. The Programme recognises Meridian Energy’s commitment, leadership, and investment in renewable energy, and aligns with global sustainable finance standards for green bonds and loans. All of Meridian’s $1.8 billion of debt instruments are covered by the programme, including a dedicated pool of eligible wind and hydroelectricity projects and assets. Meridian’s retail bonds have been classified as Green Bonds on the NZX.
In October 2020, Westpac NZ was awarded the INFINZ Award for Excellence in Institutional Banking for Leading and Accelerating Sustainable Finance.