Virgin Money support multi million sustainability measures

Virgin Money is pleased to announce that it has signed a new three year agreement with Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company Plc (“FSF” or “the Fund”) under which it will provide a £100m Committed Revolving Credit Facility (“RCF”) has £30m and an untied accordion facility of up to a further £30m.

FSF is an LSE listed company that invests in forestry (both existing and afforestation) and is committed to meeting the highest sustainability standards. It was awarded the Green Economy Mark by the London Stock Exchange when it went public and, like the bank, is based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The transaction directly and measurably supports key components of Virgin Money’s Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) strategy, which include working with customers and communities to create shared wealth, providing 10 percent of business loan balances to Sustainability Changemakers through FY27 and supporting the transition towards a low-carbon economy by reducing financed emissions.

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Keith Wilson, Head of Energy & Environment at Virgin Money, explained the background: “This transaction is an important milestone in the development of our business. With an established energy lending product offering and an ambitious ESG strategy, we are increasingly focused on growth through diversification.

“Sustainable forest management has the potential to make a significant contribution to Net Zero and I am delighted that we were bold and entered this market early.”

Richard Kelly and Rob Guest, Co-Heads of Sustainable Forestry Foresight, commented: “We are delighted that the RCF funding can be deployed towards our exciting pipeline of forest and reforestation assets, furthering the growing impact of the FSF and our contribution can be further strengthened in the twin battles against climate change and the loss of biodiversity.”

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Richard Davidson, Chairman of Foresight Sustainable Forestry Company, also commented: “The company is delighted to be working with Virgin Money and is proud that the Interest Margin is aligned with S and ESG objectives, which are a core part of Virgin Money’s investment strategy form FSF.”

The interest margin to be charged on the RCF is linked to sustainability and ESG (S&ESG) performance, with the FSF incurring a premium or discount on their margin based on their performance against defined targets.

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Performance against these targets is measured annually, with the interest cost of the RCF being adjusted accordingly in the following year.

This latest agreement with the FSF further demonstrates Virgin Money’s reputation and commitment to low-carbon lending. A number of targeted new loan projects are on the horizon and the broader portfolio includes assets in solar, onshore wind, biomass and hydro.

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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