December 5, 2022

Lloyds Banking: Bank launches sustainability support for agriculture sector

UK farmers are set to benefit from a convenient sustainability service and discounted loans as Lloyds Bank increases its support for the farming sector.

The bank is working with the Soil Association to pilot a new service – called the Soil Association Exchange (“the Exchange”). The program is designed to help UK farmers accelerate their transition to net zero and identify financial and environmental benefits for their land.

Lloyds Bank will fund the service for up to 1,000 of its largest agricultural customers, helping them improve the environmental footprint and overall sustainability of their operations. The exchange covers soil health, carbon emissions, water quality, biodiversity, animal health, and social and community impacts of the farm.

The pilot also aims to learn lessons from farmers to help create advice, guidance and support that can be applied across the agriculture industry as it seeks to achieve its net zero emissions goal. greenhouse gases by 2040.

Lloyds Bank, together with AMC and Bank of Scotland, has provided around £1.6bn of financial support to the agricultural sector over the past two years through loans, credit facilities and other funding. In addition, the bank will now offer discounted financing for initiatives that make farms more sustainable, with one percentage point margin discount loans available starting this week on loans of up to 50,000 £. The sustainable agriculture finance program builds on the success of the bank’s comprehensive clean growth finance initiative.

As part of its wider support for agriculture, Lloyds Bank has also increased the size of its dedicated agriculture relations team to 65, an increase of 12%, adding to its team of around 1,100 professionals commercial bankers trained to advise businesses on a range of issues, including climate change and sustainability risks.

Lee Reeves, Head of UK Agriculture, Lloyds Bank, said: “These are challenging times for agriculture as farms face high and rising costs, and we help our customers deal with these issues every day. But the direct impact of our climate change has not gone away. We want to help farms deal with these issues. the root causes of these challenges, by accelerating their steps to achieve zero emissions ambitions and to become more economically and environmentally sustainable in the medium and long term.

“We have a world-class industry that has demonstrated its ability to adapt and innovate to deliver high quality food to domestic and international markets. We are proud to continue our support for the sector. The introduction of the Exchange, a new, practical sustainability service, will help farmers realize the benefits that greater environmental sustainability can bring.”

Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers Union, said: “It’s fantastic to see Lloyds Bank announce its support for agriculture’s net zero ambition at this extremely difficult time for the sector. It’s important that our investors support climate-smart agriculture with business resilience. , and Lloyds will help achieve this with on-the-ground, practical support to farms across the UK.

“Farmers are calling for specialized expertise to benchmark and prioritize their progress towards net zero. I hope the Exchange service and specialized funding for green initiatives will go a long way in helping businesses discover how being more sustainable can bring multiple benefits , and I’m excited to see how it develops.”

Roger Ashby, owner of Ashby Farms, said: “After my meeting with representatives of the Soil Association, I now have a better understanding of carbon sequestration and its role in climate change. The Soil Association carried out an extensive study of the whole farm to determine carbon levels. From there, we can see not only what we need to do, but also what potential there is for new revenue streams.”

For more information on Lloyds Bank’s support for the farming industry and helping to achieve net zero, please visit lloydsbank.com/business/industry-expertise/agriculture