British fashion retailer, Marks & Spencer has announced the launch of its first £850 million revolving credit facility, which is linked directly to the achievement of net-zero criteria. In September, the multinational retailer unveiled its net-zero roadmap, resetting its long-running Plan A program to focus solely on achieving this objective by 2040 throughout our entire supply chain and products.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the company will have to revolutionize how it creates, moves, and sells its products to customers, as well as fundamentally change the company's future shape, a decade ahead of the government's UK-wide agenda.
James Rudolph, M&S group treasurer and colleague carbon champion said that as they attempt to increase the carbon literacy of employees across M&S and promote change in their everyday methods of working, their champion roles cover buying and design to HR and central operations. Sustainability decisions are now business decisions, and they must be prepared to recognize the carbon risks and possibilities that lie ahead. In my carbon champion role, it means understanding how the treasury and the wider finance function can support the net-zero transition, as well as maximizing the benefits sustainable finance can bring to M&S.
Rudolph added that sustainable finance is gaining traction as it emphasizes the financial and societal benefits of net-zero adoption. It's a first for M&S, and it highlights the importance of finance in the transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon economy. Simply said, sustainability-linked loans, such as their new credit facility, are intended to reward borrowers who achieve measurable reductions in environmental impact. In their case, they collaborated with BNP Paribas' professional sustainability team to arrange their credit facility to assist their business's rapid decarbonization. M&S will benefit from a discounted interest rate for delivery against 4 metrics that deliberately focus on material emissions hotspots and areas of customer concern, namely zero deforestation, sustainable fiber sourcing, packaging reduction, and reducing their property emissions, under the terms of our new credit facility, which will run until June 2025.
Rudolph explained that this is only the first step toward a more sustainable financing structure, and as a function that has an impact on every aspect of the organization. He is excited to see how finance can contribute to making net-zero a reality. M&S was founded on the belief that doing the right thing for the environment is not only good citizenship, but also good business, and that by putting Plan A at the center of their financing and investment decisions, they can create a more resilient and efficient M&S as part of a sustainable future.
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