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Banking, Indigenous

Sustainability-linked loan to deliver benefits to Indigenous communities

La Trobe University 2 mins read


In an innovative application of sustainable finance, La Trobe University has committed to reinvesting savings earned by achieving targets set in the University’s inaugural $195m Sustainability-Linked Loan (SLL) into its Indigenous Accommodation Scholarship Fund and other Indigenous welfare matters.

La Trobe has become one of the first universities in Australia to establish a SLL*, with Bendigo Bank and National Australia Bank (NAB), as part of refinancing existing bank facilities.

La Trobe’s Chief Financial Officer, Jodie Banfield, said the inaugural SLL was an important step in La Trobe’s social and environmental journey, while also strengthening the University’s commitment to supporting its Indigenous communities. 

“La Trobe’s inaugural Sustainability-Linked Loan demonstrates our deep commitment to both social and environmental sustainability and to our Indigenous students, staff and communities,” Jodie Banfield said.

La Trobe’s Indigenous Accommodation Scholarship Fund helps provide for Indigenous students to meet living expenses while studying.

SLLs incentivise sustainability performance through tying financing costs to performance against pre-agreed social and environmental Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). La Trobe’s KPIs include:

  • Emissions reduction, renewable generation and carbon neutrality initiatives;
  • Sustainable transport initiatives involving the conversion of vehicle fleet to electric vehicles;
  • Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Communities certification including employment, water and waste initiatives; and
  • Gender equity initiatives involving improving gender equity, diversity and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) research and higher education. La Trobe is undertaking significant investment towards the Science in Australia Gender Equality (SAGE) Silver Accreditation, which is based on the internationally recognised Athena Swan charter and framework (an impact focussed accreditation program).

NAB acted as Sustainability Coordinator on both the La Trobe University inaugural Green Bond issuance (July 2023) and this SLL transaction, which aligns to the Asia-Pacific Loan Market Association’s updated 2023 Sustainability-Linked Loan Principles, as confirmed by a Second Party Opinion (SPO) from DNV (Green Bond and SLL).

Cathryn Carver, NAB Executive, Client Coverage, said, “NAB is delighted to strengthen our partnership with La Trobe and support the University's expanding sustainable finance facilities and ESG ambitions. It’s wonderful to see the University maximising the value of its 5-year $195m Sustainability-Linked Loan by rethinking how they can spend the earned savings to create an even greater social impact.”

Sam Miller, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s Head of Investor Relations and ESG said, “This Sustainability-Linked loan aligns to Bendigo Bank’s goal to drive action towards a resilient and sustainable future to grow the prosperity of our customers, communities, shareholders and our people.”

Read more about La Trobe University’s commitment to environmental sustainability. You can also read more about La Trobe’s commitment to sustainable finance in the University’s Sustainable Finance Framework.

Read more about La Trobe University’s Indigenous Strategy.

*Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) data available as at 30 September 2023



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