1,500 Tesco farmers set to benefit from eco discount scheme

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Tesco and NatWest announce a new financial scheme to help farmers decarbonise on a more affordable basis
Tesco and NatWest announce a new financial scheme to help farmers decarbonise on a more affordable basis

Related tags Agriculture Sustainability Supermarket Investment

The supermarket has teamed up with NatWest to provide financial assistance to those looking to switch to more sustainable farming methods.

Tesco and NatWest has launched a new discounted climate and sustainable finance scheme for 1,500 of the retailer’s farmers who are part of Tesco’s Sustainable Farming Groups for beef, lamb and dairy.

This will see them benefiting from preferential rates on finance in an effort to help them switch to sustainable farming methods. This includes support with installing renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, and fossil fuel-free heating or cooling systems, like heat pumps.

Through Lombard, the UK’s largest asset funder and part of NatWest, the voluntary programme will see farmers able to assess not only attractive funding solutions, but also expert support to help aid the move to decarbonisation.  

Moreover, the farmers will also gain access to Tesco preferred suppliers, with potential volume discounts given on renewable energy assets.

The news comes off the back of research which revealed that more than 50% of Tesco farmers want to make changes but need help accessing finance to support investment.

Commenting, farmer and chairman of Tesco’s Sustainable Dairy Group (TSDG), Dave Jones, said access to finance is the biggest barrier when trying to install green technology:

“As TSDG Chairman, it’s great to see so many fellow dairy farmers considering more sustainable production methods like installing renewable energy technology on farm. However, accessing financial support for significant projects like this remains a barrier for many farmers.

“That’s why it’s great to see Tesco and NatWest joining forces to offer financial assistance that could help us install the new technology we need, and reduce farm emissions in the process.” 

Tesco has set up a series of Sustainable Farming Groups, including one for milk, cheese, beef and lamb. The first was set up in 2007 to support dairy farmers during periods of economic uncertainty.

Led by its suppliers, farmers and Tesco colleagues, the groups drive improvements in efficiency, environmental performance and animal welfare. Should the scheme prove popular, Tesco said there is potential for it to be made available to more of its farmers in the future.

“We have long-term, trusted relationships with our farmers and suppliers and are proud supporters of British agriculture. We know a lot of our farmers are looking at ways to reduce costs on farm and move to renewable sources of energy at the same time, which is why we’re delighted to be partnering with NatWest in offering our green finance initiative,”​ stated Tesco CEO Ashwin Prasad.

Meanwhile, fellow UK supermarket Morrisons has seen its strongest quarterly rise in three years. 

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