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Source: Tesco

The new scheme will provide farmers with preferential rates on finance to help them switch to sustainable farming methods

Tesco has partnered with NatWest to launch a new discounted climate and sustainable finance scheme for 1,500 of the retailer’s farmers.

The new scheme will provide farmers with preferential rates on finance to help them switch to sustainable farming methods. These include installing renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, and fossil fuel-free heating or cooling systems, such as heat pumps.

The voluntary programme, which has been designed with farmers’ input, will see farmers who are part of Tesco’s Sustainable Farming Groups for beef, lamb and dairy able to take part in the scheme. They will gain access to Tesco’s preferred suppliers, with potential volume discounts offered on renewable energy assets.

The supermarket said research showed 50% of its farmers wanted to make changes but needed help accessing finance to support investment.

It added that moving to more sustainable farming practices often required up-front investments in equipment, which could create an obstacle.

“We have long-term, trusted relationships with our farmers and suppliers and are proud supporters of British agriculture,” said Ashwin Prasad, Tesco group chief commercial officer. “We know a lot of our farmers are looking at ways to reduce costs on farm and move to renewable sources of energy at the same time, which is why we’re delighted to be partnering with NatWest in offering our green finance initiative.”

Through Lombard, the UK’s largest asset funder, which is part of NatWest, Tesco farmers will have access to funding and will benefit from Lombard’s asset knowledge and sector expertise.

“The initiative will provide our farmers with the confidence to invest in sustainable farming methods and infrastructure, while also helping us meet our target of reaching net zero across our supply chain by 2050,” said Prasad.

Today’s announcement builds on previous work by NatWest in the agricultural sector, including an additional £1.25bn lending packaging for farmers, taking its total lending capacity for the sector to £6.7bn.

“This initiative further contributes to the UK’s climate goals and food security, as well as to NatWest’s pledge to provide £100bn of climate and sustainable funding and financing by the end of 2025,” said Peter Huish, NatWest group head of consumer industries. “We strongly believe that to deliver a more sustainable future, partnering with leading UK consumer companies such as Tesco, and their supply chains, will be critical.”