02 Mar 2015

Agribusiness support to drive solar investment

Farmers and agribusinesses are being supported to lower their energy costs and manage rising power bills. The initiative is the latest step by National Australia Bank (NAB) in incorporating ‘natural value’ into the bank’s products, policies and procedures

NAB’s General Manager of Agribusiness, Khan Horne, said a healthy environment and a healthy business go hand in hand.

“The low interest rate package is a part of NAB’s support of customers who want to effectively manage their natural capital assets, such as water, soil and energy resources,” Mr Horne said.

“Many agriculture businesses are transitioning to more sustainable business models and, particularly for intensive agriculture, a big part of this is lowering power bills with renewable energy.

“Through our ‘natural value’ platform we are committed to financing initiatives that are focussed on the long term strength and viability of the sector,” he said.

Solar finance solutions give customers the opportunity to purchase solar panels through lower rate hire purchase, a finance lease or an equipment loan arrangement.

“This is a simple way for the businesses to reduce energy costs and related greenhouse gas emissions, as well an earning income from the power generated in some cases,” Mr Horne said.

A recent survey of over 5,000 farming customers found that 74 per cent had made changes to their businesses as a result of natural resource sustainability in the past two to three years.

Mr Horne said that NAB is taking a leadership role in encouraging farmers to introduce best practice management.

“The solar product is a great example of how we’re engaging in conversations with our customers about the risks and opportunities that natural value considerations pose for them, which also allows us to better support them in taking advantage of opportunities as they arise.

“NAB was founded as an agricultural bank 155 years ago, and the reality is that we need sustainable agriculture to secure the future of Australian agriculture and ensure we can continue to work with farmers and lead the sector for another 155 years,” Mr Horne said.

Further information about NAB’s Natural Value strategy is available here.

NAB was one of two inaugural signatories to the Natural Capital Declaration, a global statement that recognises that natural capital poses significant potential risks and opportunities to the finance sector. To date, NAB is the only Australian bank to sign the declaration.

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