On track for sustainable transport

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Reliance Rail is playing its part in decarbonising Australia’s mobility system through financial innovation that sets ambitious targets for reducing energy and water usage for its electric fleet and maintenance centre.

A train in motion in Sydney at dusk
A Reliance Rail train in motion.

The landmark $1.8 billion green sustainability-linked loan is set up as a 21-year refinancing package certified as “green” by the Climate Bonds Initiative under its Low Carbon Transport criteria, with funding margins linked to sustainability improvements.

“The targets are very ambitious but they are relevant and material and will have a real impact for our project,” Reliance Rail CFO Louise Iida said.

Reliance Rail formed in 2006 as a public private partnership (PPP) with the New South Wales Government, supplying and maintaining rolling stock that today makes up about a third of the Sydney Trains suburban passenger fleet and almost half of total passenger journeys.

The deal has the potential to make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the state.

“This green sustainability-linked loan provides an example of the sustainability opportunities out there for mature PPPs,” Louise said.

“It has shown what is possible if we proactively seek solutions and just as importantly, that our lenders, investors and partners are also eager for opportunities to collaborate on sustainability improvement.”

NAB acted as joint sustainability co-ordinator, lender and swap provider for the deal and assisted in developing the green and sustainability-linked framework and certification of the loan.

A photo of a train at a station platform at night.
A Reliance Rail train arrives at the station.

NAB Director, Sustainable Finance, James Waddell worked on the transaction. He said an essential part of working with customers was to identify KPIs that represent authentic risks to the business and ensure sustainability targets align to economy-wide decarbonisation ambitions.

“It means Reliance Rail is committed to reducing water and carbon intensity of its trains and maintenance facility which is fantastic,” James said.

You can read about Reliance Rail and other NAB customers reducing their carbon emissions in the All Systems Go research by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by NAB.

The report, released on 28 July 2022, finds around $20 trillion will be invested in Australia’s economy out to 2050, regardless of whether we transition to net zero.

However, to achieve the transition to a net-zero economy, this $20 trillion will need to be spent differently and the Australian economy must be structurally different to ensure we are best-placed to emerge as a standout economy in a low emissions world.

This includes $420 billion in additional new investment out to 2050, alongside $70 billion that must move from emissions intensive activity by 2030 into low emissions activity to make the structural changes necessary and avoid driving up the cost of the transition over the long run.

“Getting to net-zero will require whole-of-economy change. Every business in every industry will have to evolve. Every household will need to make changes,” Deloitte Access Economics found.

You can also find out more about what NAB is doing to tackle climate change here.

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