Tuesday, 23 April 2024 12:55

Bank's desire to be part of the solution

Written by  Jessica Marshall
ASB general manager rural banking, Aidan Gent. ASB general manager rural banking, Aidan Gent.

ASB says the decision to sign on to the AgriZeroNZ joint venture came out of a wish to be a part of the solution.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the bank – along with ANZ and a2 Milk Company – signed on as shareholders in the public-private joint venture formed to help farmers reduce emissions while maintaining profitability and productivity.

AgriZeroNZ was established last year and focuses on emissions reduction tools that will work on New Zealand’s pasture-based farms and grass-fed animals.

ASB general manager rural banking, Aidan Gent, says the bank is “proud” of the role its farming and growing customers play and recognises how hard they work to become more sustainable.

“We want to be part of the solution that addresses all farmers’ need for accessible and effective tools that will help them futureproof their businesses, while maintaining productivity and profitability,” Gent told Rural News.

He says the bank was impressed by AgriZeroNZ’s mission and thinks it will inspire innovation within the food and fibre sector, adding that the bank is excited to be on board and part of change.

“Ultimately, we felt it was the right thing to do to back farmers across Aotearoa,” he says.

Gent says this investment is just one of several initiatives ASB is working on to “transition to a more sustainable future”.

Meanwhile, AgriZeroNZ director Fraser Whineray says the move strengthens the joint venture’s focus on supporting farmers and securing the sector’s future.

“I’m pleased more of the private sector is joining us to back farmers - reinforcing our ambition and demonstrating their commitment to ensuring farmers can reduce emissions and maintain their competitive edge on the world stage,” Whineray says.

“The addition of more banks reflects a growing emphasis on sustainable finance and sends a strong message that the finance industry is actively supporting farmers to achieve real progress,” he adds.

Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the AgriZeroNZ joint venture is accelerating the development, commercialisation and adoption of practical tools and solutions for farmers to meet international climate change obligations.

“I am pleased to welcome The a2 Milk Company, ANZ Bank New Zealand and ASB Bank as new shareholders of AgriZeroNZ,” he says.

He says the investment from the new shareholders shows the increasing commitment of New Zealand businesses to help get emission reduction tools into the hands of farmers sooner.

“With the backing of both government and private sector companies, New Zealand will be a global leader in developing the tools, technologies, and practices to drive down agricultural emissions while maintaining the productivity and profitability of our food and fibre sector,” he explains.

The two banks and milk processor join ANZCO, Fonterra, Rabobank, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms and Synlait as shareholders, with the government retaining its 50% stake in the venture via the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). The move takes AgriZeroNZ’s total funds to $183 million over its first four years.

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